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The value of customer ratings and reviews in advertising in the US

tisdag 15 november 2022
The Value of Customer Ratings and Reviews in Advertising in the US

The impact of Trustpilot content on consumers.

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This research explores the value of showcasing customer ratings and reviews in advertising, and in particular the impact of Trustpilot content in digital campaigns. Based on a survey of 1,000 US consumers, this London Research study reports on the benefits of using Trustpilot ratings and reviews to build trust and increase propensity to purchase, and the efficacy of Trustpilot compared to some of its competitors.

The research also looks at the extent to which specific types of Trustpilot content in online advertisements influence US consumers, including the Trustpilot logo and stars, TrustScore, the volume of reviews, and the impact of an authentic customer testimonial.

Looking at the impact of customer ratings and reviews at the broader level within the customer journey, 66% of consumers say they’re ‘often’ or ‘very often’ influenced by customer reviews during the journey to purchase, and 62% say the same of customer star ratings.

Specifically in terms of the impact of Trustpilot, almost three-quarters (71%) of US consumers agree that a good Trustpilot score makes them more likely to buy from a brand, compared to only 3% who disagree.

An even higher proportion (73%) agree that a good Trustpilot score makes them more likely to trust a brand (including consumers who hadn’t previously heard of Trustpilot).

To test the value of Trustpilot ratings and reviews in ads, survey respondents were shown a series of digital advertisements for a fictitious car insurance brand, and asked which ads they would be most likely to click through and potentially purchase.

Summary of the research

anatomy of a co branded ad
  • Almost three-quarters (71%) of US consumers agree that a good Trustpilot score makes them more likely to buy from a brand, compared to only 3% who disagree.

  • Almost three-quarters (73%) agree that a good Trustpilot score makes them more likely to trust a brand, compared to only 2% who disagree.

  • An online advertisement for car insurance with the Trustpilot logo and stars is nearly two-and-a-half times more persuasive than the same ad without them.

  • US consumers shopping for car insurance are 10 times more likely to click a Trustpilot co-branded ad with a five-star customer rating, 3,000+ reviews, and a customer testimonial than an ad with no Trustpilot content.

  • Trustpilot content in an ad can offset a lower discount: an ad with a five-star Trustpilot rating, 3,000+ reviews, a customer testimonial, and a 20% discount performs two-and-a-half times as well as the same ad with a 25% discount, but no Trustpilot content.

  • US consumers are almost three-and-a-half times more likely to click a Trustpilot co-branded ad with a five-star customer rating, 3,000+ reviews, and a customer testimonial than a Yotpo co-branded ad showing exactly the same information.

  • An online advertisement for car insurance with just the Trustpilot logo and stars is 61% more effective than the same ad with the Yotpo logo and stars.

  • US consumers are 38% more likely to click a Trustpilot cobranded ad with a five-star customer rating, 3,000+ reviews, and a customer testimonial than a Google co-branded ad showing exactly the same information.

Importance of ratings and reviews in the buyer journey

In a world where consumers need to be continually on their guard against disreputable businesses and even fraudsters, credible ratings and reviews play an increasingly important role in the customer journey.

Data released by the Federal Trade Commission in early 2022 shows that more than $5.8 billion was lost by individuals to fraud in 2021, an increase of more than 70% over the previous year. Consumers understandably want to spend their money wisely during a period of economic uncertainty, and are also becoming more savvy about suspect reviews used by less-known brands to bolster their credibility.

Our research shows that customer reviews remain the touchpoint most frequently referenced by shoppers as they become increasingly reliant on
credible and authoritative information (Figure 1). Twothirds of US consumers (66%) now say they’re ‘often’ or ‘very often’ influenced by customer reviews during the journey to purchase, while 62% say the same for star ratings.

This does not surprise Kyle Rao, President and CEO of Secure Medical. As the company behind eDrugStore.com, they are fully aware that consumers need to see that people like them have used a service before, and rate it highly.

"Det finns många konsumenter som har blivit lurade och därför är det viktigt med en omdömestjänst. Genom att visa upp små gröna stjärnor i annonser kan företag visa att de är pålitliga. Vi använder även våra stjärnor längst ner i alla våra e-postmeddelanden för att påminna våra kunder om att de kan känna sig trygga med oss. Detta hjälper oss att locka nya kunder och behålla dem."
Kyle Rao quote
Kyle Rao
VD, Secure Medical

It is also clear from Figure 1 that consumers are influenced by a greater number of online and offline touchpoints before they make a decision to purchase something. In addition to customer reviews and ratings, search engines, ecommerce sites, social media, company websites, and both online and TV advertising are all frequently influencing the purchasing decisions of at least half of US consumers.

Figure 1

52 % av europeiska konsumenter säger att de "ofta" eller "väldigt ofta" påverkas av kundomdömen när de ska handla.

Ratings and reviews continue to play an important role in influencing buying decisions across a wide range of categories, from electronics to travel, and property to auto rental. For every sector shown in Figure 2, at least half of consumers surveyed regard ratings and reviews as ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’.

As the customer journey has become increasingly complex and non-linear, with consumers using multiple devices across multiple touchpoints, it is clear that advertisers need to respond accordingly.

Brands need to understand how different touchpoints and channels work together to build trust and positively impact the decision-making process. Given the popularity and usefulness of ratings and reviews, it makes sense for marketers to understand how they can be harnessed across other channels, including both online and offline advertising, as well as across their own digital properties and email campaigns.

Figure 2

De flesta konsumenter anser att omdömen är användbara inom flera olika områden och branscher.

Benefits of Trustpilot content through the buyer journey

The trust engendered by adding Trustpilot stars and scores to digital advertising is not just good for brand image, it is also a core component in driving sales.

Seventy-one percent of US consumers agree a good Trustpilot score makes them more likely to buy from a brand, a significant jump from 61% in 2021 when London Research posed the same question (Figure 3).

Figure 3

62 % av konsumenterna säger att ett högt Trustpilot-betyg får de att vilja handla från ett företag.

“Trustpilot reviews and ratings provide endless content for our social media team to use as part of their content calendar. A daily supply of positive reviews allow us to keep our social marketing fresh and we believe sharing the experience of our customers helps us reinforce our messaging.”
Screenshot 2022-11-14 at 10.36.42
Theodore Mello
Data Scientist, NHCash.com, LLC

The propensity to buy something from a company is very closely linked to the level of trust in that brand. A very similar percentage of consumers (73%) agree that a good Trustpilot score makes them more likely to trust a brand, up from 63% in 2021 (Figure 4).

Figure 4

61 % av konsumenterna säger att ett högt Trustpilot-betyg får de att känna mer förtroende för ett varumärke.

“Människor känner till Trustpilot och därför är det ett bra sätt för oss att visa att vi är kundcentrerade. Det gör att vi kan visa upp bevis på hur bra vår service är.”
Quote Josh
Josh Stomel
Head of Brand Communication, Octopus Energy Germany

Building trust as quickly as possible has been a priority for online loan marketplace LendingTree. The company recognized the need to instill confidence in their brand through the use of Trustpilot reviews.

Professional tax software company TaxSlayer Pro is another brand that has seen a significant uplift since deploying Trustpilot reviews as social proof. A focus on customer satisfaction has resulted in a spike in the volume of positive reviews which are being used across the digital journey to improve marketing performance.

“Trustpilot är en plattform som människor litar på och där de kan berätta om sina upplevelser. Detta kan vi använda oss av i vår marknadsföring i sociala medier och i våra nyhetsbrev. Vi bygger vidare på detta nu när vi lägger till Trustpilot-innehåll på alla våra produktsidor så att folk kan få det stöd de behöver på slutet av köpresan."
Quote Sabrina Fulmer
Sabrina Fulmer
Director of Product Marketing, TaxSlayer Pro

Our research also shows that recognition of Trustpilot within the US market is increasing dramatically, up from a third (33%) in 2021 to almost half of consumers (47%) in 2022.

figure 5

Figure 5 – Almost half (47%) of US consumers now recognize Trustpilot customer ratings and reviews.

Impact of Trustpilot

1. Logo with star rating

We have seen that consumers say they’re more likely to trust and buy from a brand with a high Trustpilot rating.

A key objective of our research was to understand the impact of different Trustpilot content elements, namely the logo and stars, TrustScore (out of five), number of reviews, and an actual quote from a customer.

As part of our proprietary research, consumers were shown a series of digital advertisements for car insurance, and asked which ads they would be most likely to click through with a view to purchasing.

The research found that an online advertisement for car insurance with the Trustpilot logo is nearly two-and-a-half times more persuasive than the same ad without it.

An even more emphatic finding from the research was that US shoppers are ten times more likely to click a Trustpilot co-branded ad with a five-star customer rating, high TrustScore, 3,000+ reviews, and a customer testimonial (compared with a baseline ad with no Trustpilot content).

As well as seeking to understand the overall impact of the full suite of Trustpilot content and the logo and stars on their own, we also wanted to explore the relative impact of different content components, namely the customer review, the TrustScore at different levels, and the volume of reviews. We also compared the performance of Trustpilot ads with similar ads featuring Google and Yotpo branding.

"Folk känner till de gröna stjärnorna och känner sig försäkrade av dem. När vi använder oss av stjärnorna i våra annonser ökar inte bara klickfrekvensen, utan även konverteringsgraden och när vi använder stjärnor på betalsidan minskar kundbortfallet. Stjärnorna gör enorm skillnad."
Quote 2 Kyle Rao
Kyle Rao
VD, Secure Medical
Trustpilot star rating ads

2. Customer review

The power of an authentic testimonial to build trust and sway a prospective customer into a purchase should not be underestimated. US consumers are 65% more likely to click through on a Trustpilot cobranded ad when it contains a customer review.

TaxSlayer Pro has enjoyed success by highlighting customer testimonials in their visual assets for paid Facebook ad campaigns. The ads featuring a Trustpilot testimonial saw 240% more net conversions and 14% lower cost per acquisition.

TurboDebt has also benefited from the use of customer quotes in its social media advertising (see example below), according to the company’s Founder and CEO Josh Stomel.

Example reviews
"Vi använder oss av citat från omdömen i vår reklam i sociala medier och på alla våra kampanjsidor. I våra remarketing-kampanjer använder vi alltid citat eftersom det uppmuntrar konsumenterna att köpa. Närvaron av ett Trustpilot-omdöme i annonser förbättrar vanligtvis klickfrekvensen med 10 % till 20 %."
Quote Josh
Josh Stomel
VD och medgrundare, Tate
impact of reviews

3. TrustScore

US consumers are 16% more likely to click a like-for-like Trustpilot co-branded ad when it specifies the high TrustScore behind the five-star rating. The ad with a 4.8 score performs 34% better than the ad with a 4.2 score.

Impact TrustScore

4. Number of reviews

A Trustpilot five-star ad with a 4.8 TrustScore showing 500+ reviews is three-and-a-half times as compelling as an ad with no Trustpilot branding, according to our research.

Our consumer research also shows that a Trustpilot five-star ad with 500+ reviews performs 28% better than an almost identical ad including the Trustpilot logo and stars, but without the number of reviews. The same ad with 3,000+ reviews performs 33% better.

According to Dan Cristo, Vice President of SEO at performance marketing agency Catalyst: “One of our clients in the hospitality space has an average of 2,000 reviews on each property. These are real experiences customers volunteered to share with others simply because they wanted to tell their story. This desire to share experiences with others as a way to ‘pay it forward’ and help others in the community is a core part of how humans socialize.”

example ads with number of reviews
"Vi har alltid visat våra stjärnor och antalet omdömen vi har på våra digitala annonser och på slutet av videor som vi publicerar. Det är viktigt att visa för folk att det höga betyget är baserat på omdömen från många människor. När det finns plats inkluderar vi också citat från våra kundomdömen, men ser till att alltid ha med både stjärnbetyg och antal omdömen i varje annons."
Screenshot 2022-11-14 at 11.09.57
Dan Cristo
Vice President of SEO Catalyst

5. Impact on higher price

Our research found that Trustpilot content can improve an ad’s performance so significantly that it can offset a higher price or weaker promotional discount. An ad with a five-star Trustpilot rating, 3,000+ reviews, a customer testimonial, and a 20% discount performs two-and-a-half times as well as the same ad with a 25% discount, but no Trustpilot content.

Example ads with higher price

Adding all the possible elements of a Trustpilot rating — including logo, stars, score, number of reviews, and a customer quote — is certainly paying dividends at fintech business PensionBee. Its Chief Marketing Officer, Jasper Martens, reveals the company puts all elements on its digital advertising, which it credits with delivering a 15% rise in clickthrough rate.

“For us, the Trustpilot logo and our score are a nudge to check us out,” he says. “The number of reviews is crucial in convincing people you’re providing a good service because if you have more than 5,000 people know it’s real, it’s very powerful. Ultimately, the customer voice is the main convincer, we believe, so customer reviews are essential.”

“When we add all the Trustpilot elements to our digital advertising, we see a 15% rise in clickthrough rate.”
Quote Jasper Martens
Jasper Martens
CMO, PensionBee

6. Performance against competitors

As part of this research, London research also compared the level of consumer engagement with similar car insurance advertisements cobranded with Trustpilot, Yotpo, and Google. An online advertisement for car insurance with just the Trustpilot logo and stars is 61% more effective than the same ad with the Yotpo logo and stars.

US consumers are almost three-and-a-half times more likely to click a Trustpilot co-branded ad with a five-star customer rating, 3,000+ reviews, and a customer testimonial than a Yotpo co-branded ad showing exactly the same information.

The study also found that shoppers are 38% more likely to click a Trustpilot co-branded ad with a fivestar customer rating, 3,000+ reviews, and a customer testimonial than a Google co-branded ad showing exactly the same information.

performance against competitors

About London Research

London Research, set up by former eConsultancy research director Linus Gregoriadis, is focused on producing research-based content for B2B audiences. We are based in London, but our approach and outlook are very much international. We work predominantly, but not exclusively, with marketing technology (martech) vendors and agencies seeking
to tell a compelling story based on robust research and insightful data points.

As part of Communitize Ltd, we work closely with our sister companies Digital Doughnut (a global community of more than 1.5 million marketers) and Demand Exchange (a lead generation platform), both to syndicate our research and generate high-quality leads.

Find out more about London Research.

Methodology

London Research was commissioned by Trustpilot to carry out a survey of 1,000 US consumers in July 2022. The nationally representative survey included questions about sources of information and touchpoints used during the buying process, and also questions specifically about Trustpilot. Almost half (47%) of respondents said they recognize Trustpilot customer ratings and reviews. Comparisons with 2021 data are based on a similar survey fielded in September 2021.

A survey-based research technique called conjoint analysis was used to quantify consumer preferences when respondents were shown different combinations from a series of 20 advertisements for a fictitious company called AutoInsure. The ads included star ratings and customer reviews co-branded with Trustpilot, Google, and Yotpo, and also ads without any co-branding.

Survey respondents were asked which of the car insurance ads would most make them want to click through and potentially purchase. They were also asked whether they would actually click on the ad they selected with an intent to purchase, if they were shopping for car insurance. The Appendix shows the 20 different ads shown to consumers, and the full results for the conjoint analysis (with relative levels of engagement expressed as percentages).

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