As part of a larger study, we surveyed 545 people across the U.S. to better understand consumer preferences about which online review sites were most important to their purchase decisions, in addition to overall how important online reviews were to them.
We sliced the survey data by gender and age to gain more insights.
Summary Of The Findings
For both men and women, Google was the leading review site by a significant margin
30% more women than men rated reviews online as important to their purchase decision
Women were 50% more likely than men to rate Yelp as an important review site
Men were 50% more likely to state that they don’t read online reviews compared to women (and it was the 2nd most common option for men)
The percentage of the population that don’t read reviews increased consistently with age
Yelp as a review site is clearly more popular with younger age demographics
Facebook is not a popular review site among consumers
Interpretation Of The Findings
I was somewhat surprised that consumers rated Google so much more important as a review site influencing their purchase decision as compared to Yelp and Facebook. I believe this could be attributed to the fact that many consumers begin their research for a product or service, or their investigation of a particular brand or company, with a Google search. Google publishes review ratings right in its SERPs (search engine results page) when consumers search so they can clearly scan review ratings right there.
Women as a group were also more involved with online reviews versus men. But I believe this can be partially explained because women as a group are responsible for more of the day-to-day purchase decisions compared to men. Especially when it comes to decisions that impact their family, children, or health issues, women will do more research to ensure the best decision is made.
Not too surprising, Yelp is primarily more popular with younger demographics because of mobile devices – you have to have the app and be a little more technically savvy to search for the app, download it, install it on your phone, login, and then leave a review.
And no surprise that the older you get, the more likely consumers were to state that they did not read online reviews.
The Survey Questions
We limited the options for which review sites were most important to the following 5 choices:
I Don’t Read Online Reviews
Other (which people could leave their own response)
We used a 5 point scale when asking how important online reviews were to the purchase decision.
Google was chosen as the most important review site for purchase decisions.
After Google, the second most common option was “I don’t read reviews,” followed then by Yelp, and finally as a distant fourth place was Facebook reviews.
Although both females and males rated Google the most important review site, females chose Yelp much more often than men did as an important review site option.
Percentage of People That Don’t Read Online Reviews Increased With Age
Not surprisingly, but as age increased so did the number of people that did not read online reviews.
Percentage of Males versus Females That Don’t Read Online Reviews
A far greater percentage of males versus females do not read online reviews.
Yelp A Much More Popular Choice Among Females
We pulled Yelp alone to look at gender and age differences among consumers.
Yelp More Popular With Younger Age Groups
Females rated online reviews as Very Important to Somewhat Important at a much higher percentage than males did.
So I hope this was helpful information for you. Reviews are very important – consumers read them and a negative review corpus will definitely hurt lead generation efforts.
If you found this helpful or interesting, could you tweet it too?
[Tweet “New consumer survey: Google reviews more influential than #Yelp. Facebook not a factor.”]
Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.
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Thank you for sharing this. I was surprise that Google was more important than Yelp and that Facebook had so little importance. Very useful.