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BizReport : Social Marketing : September 02, 2011

Cone survey reveals power of negative reviews

Negative reviews are just as persuasive as positive reviews and their power is growing, according to a new study from PR and marketing comms agency Cone Inc. that found more people today would change their mind about a purchase after reading negative feedback than ever before.

by Helen Leggatt

cone.pngLast year's Online Influence Trend Tracker survey from Cone found just over two-thirds (67%) of consumers had their mind changed about a purchase after coming across negative reviews. This year that figure has risen to 80%.

According to the survey summary of results "negative information is gaining traction and is now just as powerful in tipping the scales against a recommended purchase".

The good news is that just as the power of negative reviews is increasing so too is the power of positive reviews; 87% of shoppers surveyed said a positive review had persuaded them to go ahead with a purchase. Not surprisingly, expensive purchases were researched in far more depth and respondents said they were 25% more likely to do their homework on pricey items now than they were last year (89% vs. 72%).

"Today's consumers want reassurance before opening their purse strings, and personal recommendations alone are just not enough to guarantee a purchase," explained Mike Hollywood, director of New Media, Cone.

"The explosion of online word-of-mouth channels and the adoption of online verification have forever changed the marketing landscape. Targeting the right people is a marketer's first step toward influencing the conversation."

Earlier this year PowerReviews and e-tailing group revealed the findings of their 2011 Social Shopping Study. Their data also demonstrated the power of online reviews. Ninety percent of the 1,000 people they surveyed said reviews have an impact on their purchasing decisions of which 60% say they wield the most influence.

Tags: consumer feedback, consumer insight, consumer reviews, online reviews, online shopping, word-of-mouth

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