Earlier this week, Respage CEO Jackie Koehler received an email from Myles Anderson, the CEO of UK-based BrightLocal. Myles and his team previously provided us with incredibly informative statistics regarding the role that review sites play in customer acquisition, so we were extremely excited to learn that BrightLocal had recently published the results of their 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey. While the following facts are sourced from a survey that didn’t focus on the multifamily market, it’s reasonable to assume that the same statistics hold true across all industries.
Here’s a quick look at the findings:
92 Percent of Consumers Read Online Reviews
This number is up 4 percentage points since the 2014 survey, which suggested that 88 percent of consumers read online reviews. The 2015 statistic also represents a climb of 13 percentage points since 2013, when 79 percent of those surveyed claimed to read online reviews. As these numbers continue to rise, it’s only a matter of time before nearly every consumer places his or her trust in review sites.
40 Percent of Consumers Formed an Opinion after Reading Just 1 – 3 Reviews
Consumers don’t have time to read every review your property has received. Quite the opposite, they build an opinion after reading between one and three reviews. It’s for this reason that we cannot emphasize the importance of multifamily online reputation management enough. If an opinion is formed about your company in just one or two reviews, don’t you want your property’s response to factor into the equation?
Star Ratings Matter
BrightLocal’s survey discovered that star ratings were the most influential component of an online review. Although it’s up to search engines like Google to decide whether or not a star rating should be displayed in search results, you can increase your chances of displaying a star rating by following best practices and initiating high quality standards for your apartment’s SEO strategies.
44 Percent of Surveyors Said the Age of a Review is Important
Consumers pay attention to how long ago a review was posted. In fact, 44 percent said they wouldn’t consider a review that’s more than a month old. It’s for this reason that we encourage property managers to ask their renters to request reviews frequently, especially if you’ve recently done something that warrants a positive review. Check out our article on the best times to ask for an online review for more information.
Only 13 Percent of Consumers Consider Using a Company with a One or Two Star Rating
This one is a bit of a kick in the chest for apartment communities with less-than-stellar online reputations. If your property doesn’t have at least three stars, you could be missing out on nearly 87 percent of qualified leads. That’s a lot of vacant units.
68 Percent of Consumers Trust Local Businesses More When They Have Positive Reviews
Although it may seem obvious that positive reviews would create more trust among consumers, what’s interesting is that this number has actually gone down since last year. In 2014, 72 percent of consumers said that positive reviews made them trust businesses more. The drop can likely be traced in consumer concern over the authenticity of online reviews, which brings us to the final fact…
Consumers are Becoming More and More Concerned about Fake Reviews
With recent headlines about the fraudulent, and outright extortionist, practices of major review sites, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that consumers are more and more wary of fake reviews. Because of this, Respage advises property managers to never create flattering reviews for their communities via an online alias. If you need to make a comment about your property, be extremely transparent about your identity.
To get a full look at how the survey was conducted, check out the official BrightLocal study. And if you need help responding to reviews and creating a positive image for your community, contact one of our representatives to discuss our online reputation management services today!