In my stack of old newspaper clippings, I ran across a 2006 Forrester Research survey that further demonstrates the power of online community to boost customer interaction and purchasing.
Customer created reviews are becoming significant tools in a marketer’s arsenal. Among North American adults and youth (ages 13-21), Forrester found dramatic customer participation among the following sources of online content for adults and youths:
- Customer product ratings and reviews (71% adult/81% youth)
- For sale listings with seller ratings (69%/77%)
- Online classified ads (57%/66%)
- Message board posts (57%/71%)
- Weblogs (55%/67%)
- Peer-generated and peer-edited reference information (49%/68%)
- Peer-posted event listings (46%/71%)
Such activities not only enhanced sales by sites that offered them but also boosted their search rankings since the search engines can pick up the content of the reviews. Comparing results from other types of reviews from print or direct mail, online product reviews by customers were trusted more by consumers. TV reviews were only slightly more trusted.
A Jupiter Research study found that consumers are referring to online reviews twice as much as in their previous study.