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The vast majority of consumers who post online reviewers are overwhelmingly motivated by goodwill and positive sentiment, according to a Bazaarvoice survey conducted by the Keller Fay Group, which surveyed some 1,300 online reviewers.

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Fully 90% of respondents say they write reviews to help others make better buying decisions, and more than 70% want to help companies improve the products they build and carry.

The study also found that 79% write reviews in order to reward a company, and 87% of the reviews are generally positive in tone.

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The new survey data provides additional insight into previous analysis from Bazaarvoice, which revealed that positive reviews outweighed negative reviews 8 to 1.

“Bazaarvoice trend analysis has shown that product and service reviews are very positive, with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5,” said Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice.

“This study helps us understand why we see such high levels of positive feedback. The customer’s motivation for posting reviews is primarily that they want to help others make better purchase decisions. These customers provide a vital source of authentic content to help others find the best products for their individual needs.”

Among other findings of the new survey:

  • Reviewers are active online participants who post reviews as a way of giving back to the review community (79%).
  • Reviewers purchase products online (85%), send more than 10 emails a day (77%), and engage in social networks (25%).
  • 20% of reviewers post messages on other people’s blogs or chat rooms; 19% post on independent product-review sites such as ePinions or CNET; and significantly more post directly on a retailer’s own website.

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  • Highlighting the prevalence of multichannel shopping, the survey also found that over 65% of reviewers have returned to the retailer’s site to leave an online review about an offline purchase.
  • Nearly 60% of reviewers have told friends and family about their product experience.

“These results indicate that reviewers are motivated to help others and give back to the online community, not to knock down brands,” said Brad Fay, chief operating officer of the Keller Fay Group.

“In fact, online reviewers tell us they want to reward brands that perform well. This debunks a major myth about word-of-mouth and should encourage companies – and CMOs – to be more comfortable with ‘letting go’ and inviting consumers to talk about their experiences.”

About the study: Survey data on over 1,300 reviewers who posted one or more reviews to Bazaarvoice client websites was collected online using the Inquisite Survey System. The online survey ran from August to October 2007.

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