Updated 5/24/2022

How Business Review Importance Surged Because of COVID and Where it Stands Today

The past two years have dramatically changed consumer behavior, and though that may not seem shocking to some, the numbers that back this up are very interesting.  If you read through this article, which has been updated periodically for years now (almost 4), you’ll see how there have been steep changes to:

  • How important people find reviews
  • The minimum review rating that people are looking for
  • The average number of reviews people want to see
  • How much time people spend reading reviews, before contacting a professional service

In May of 2022, the answer to these questions were as follows, after conducting a survey with 300 participants:

Importance of Reviews (1-10): 7.83
Minimum Review Rating (1-5): 3.96
Average Number of Reviews (Rounded Up): 32
How Much Time Do You Spend Researching? 32 minutes

These numbers don’t have too much weight independently, but when compared with a trendline over the past few years, we can see how this relates to other points in time, along with what type of trend we are seeing, and what we can expect.

We can see these graphs from two years ago, and not much has changed since then, besides the expectations for the number of reviews coming back down to Earth a bit.

Back in 2020, we had the following sentiment:

“But nothing is nearly as significant as the overwhelming increase in the amount of reviews a potential customer is expecting to see now, more than doubling from the last average of 21 to 45. That means that the average person looking at your Google My Business (in this case) would want to see around 45 reviews to consider you legitimate. The craziest part about this number to me is that this is after I deleted the respondents that answered 500 or more reviews were appropriate, since I found the responses to be somewhat unrealistic and these numbers were skewing the results (it is extremely rare for brick and mortar professional services to have 500+ reviews. That number is normally reserved for restaurants and businesses that can render their services potentially dozens of times a day). There were many respondents that said 500 and more, though.  I’m thinking the person that said a business should have 10,000 reviews wasn’t being totally honest on the other hand.”

What is great (in my opinion, and likely the opinion of many others) is that for every respondent that said that Yelp was a reliable source for checking reviews, 4 people said Google was their go-to.  That is a big difference from a couple years ago, where that ratio was 2:1, Google to Yelp.

The rest of this article sums up findings from May of 2020 and before, but there are still plenty of resources and links for additional information that remain relevant, as the importance of reviews and review rating have appeared to remain consistent for the past two years:

I sat on this blog a day after getting these numbers and I drew the conclusion that comes from much of the research we’ve done in the past few months – consumers have more time on their hands to do research and become thorough in their vetting process. In doing so, there’s a bar that seems to be set higher naturally. To again confirm people are performing due diligence when researching a professional service, we asked how much time they would spend. The most common answer in this survey was 30 minutes – plenty of time to read many reviews and peruse the negatives and the positives.

146 respondents mentioned Google is the most reliable place to find their reviews, with Yelp coming in second at 78. You can keep focusing on Google My Business for reviews through its auxiliary benefits, but it makes you think for a minute about Yelp.  Though many people have struggled with Yelp because of their inconsiderate review policies with publishing negative reviews and pushing down positive reviews which still seems to be the same MO for practically the past decade, having more reviews than your competition at the very least would prove to be very helpful on that particular platform.

We normally do our “Importance of Reviews” analysis every 6 months (with the last one in March 2020), but in light of COVID-19 and consumer behavior changing so rapidly, we figured we’d do this earlier. I’m glad we did, since changes have happened so drastically since our March 2nd analysis (https://www.marketmymarket.com/maintaining-a-strategy-for-reviews-remains-a-consistent-priority/). Having a sound plan for review generation for your business has been a steady trend for the past few years. COVID-19 just sent the trend to the stratosphere.

As always, we performed the task on Mechanical Turk and surveyed 300 people with a positive track record for responding with high accuracy and attention.

To start, it was a steady level of perceived importance of reviews from consumers. That number made its way back up fairly significantly, matching almost all the all-time high.

I’ve always been very big on setting up a process for getting reviews from former clients and customers – it is typically not a lot of effort for something crucial to your business reputation online. We’ve written dozens of articles on Review Generation up to this point, but if I had to sum up three major ways people have trouble getting reviews, and why they are so important, it would be as follows:

Why We Have Trouble Getting Reviews

  • Ask for a review one/two times and no follow up process
  • Email formatting and copy not appealing
  • Comes from first party and is unappealing, instead of third party for seemingly unbiased feedback

Why They Are So Important Now More Than Ever

  • People are extensively researching now with uncertain finances and additional time.
  • Positive reviews are crucial for businesses that get much of their business from word of mouth and referrals
  • A high volume of reviews enhances a business’s visibility and SEO dramatically.

I mentioned our dozens of Reviews resources, and you can navigate the website to find more, but here are a few standout articles on learning more about them and how you can create a process yourself:

Want us to help generate reviews on your behalf?  We’ve successfully gotten thousands of 5-star reviews for our clients, and it’s a lot more affordable than you may realize.  Contact us today to learn more.