Online Reviews Influence Purchasing Behavior

Online reviews are gaining more credibility and are influencing more and more online buyers. According to Opinion Research Corp., 84% of Americans say online reviews influence their purchasing decision. In a similar survey conducted by Rubicon Consulting, online reviews are more influential and come just only next to word-of-mouth publicity.

A majority of the respondents said that online reviews of a product or service given by the earlier users have an influence on their purchasing decision. 84% of the Americans say online reviews have influence on their purchasing behavior. But interestingly, only 24% of the respondents said that they posted a review on a product or a service. This means, a small portion of people are influencing a majority of the people’s buying behavior. Therefore, the people who write reviews are more vital in online publicity and ultimately in the process of online purchasing.

People are finding online forums helpful in learning about a product or a service. According to the report, 66% of the respondents said that they have visited some type of online forum while they are looking to purchase a specific brand of product or service. Company websites are popular among the forums with 71% of the respondents’ visit and is followed by online rating systems and government/consumer advocacy systems with 57% and 54% respectively.

In a similar survey done by Rubicon Consulting, it is revealed that online reviews are only next to word-of-mouth publicity in influencing the purchasing decision. Around 20% of the respondents said that online reviews influence strongly, where as, it is 35% for word-of-mouth. Article published in a magazine/newspaper comes next with just more than 10%.

It is also found that 80% of the user generated content on the Web is produced by only 9% of the online population, who are termed as ‘most frequent contributors’. This point vindicates that small portion of the active participants dominate the user generated content. They are actively followed by the majority of the people who read the content and get influenced rather than contributing it.

User generated content is getting more and more important, as people trust on the feedback given by their fellow users. User generated content which is a result of social networking will gain more importance in the marketing and promotion strategies of the companies online as well as offline.