The proliferation of ratings and reviews content has transformed how consumers make decisions. While 55% of all online product searches begin on Amazon (more than Google and other big box e-commerce sites combined), most consumers still fall into the “research online, buy offline” category: 92% of all purchase are still made in-store.

For marketers, this means that you must have a robust content strategy that includes product ratings, text reviews, UGC, and video to offer consumers a variety of perspectives from customers just like them at every touch point. With these evolving content needs required to implement a successful ratings and reviews strategy, here are four common challenges that you’ll need to address:

Quantity: only 10% of consumers report almost or always posting online ratings & reviews of products.

At a time where you can’t go to a brand website, social feed, or app without seeing a review, very few consumers actually create or share them. Quantity is particularly difficult when it comes to low-involvement, every day purchase decisions, where review volume is positively correlated with increases in sales lift.

Quality: 4+ negative articles about your company or product appearing in Google search results is likely to cause you to lose 70% of potential customers.

While a couple of negative reviews can add credibility and allow consumers the autonomy to compare/contrast reviews to form their own opinion, consumers hesitate to purchase from a business with negative online reviews. When it comes to sales intent, review quality matters most for high involvement, high risk purchase decisions such as luxury goods and autos.

Relevance & Consistency: 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant.

Ratings & reviews are not a “one-and-done” initiative, especially where one product could be purchased in as many as 5-10+ online destinations and outdated reviews are only slightly more effective than no reviews at all. You need to have an always-on strategy and process for generating and distributing online reviews for each product and retail partner.

Authenticity & Credibility: 15% of nearly all online ratings & reviews are fake.

Online reviews are easily manipulated and seldom verified (with the exception of brands like Amazon, Apple, and Sephora). This is troubling, when you consider that 88% of consumers trust online reviews from strangers as much as personal recommendations – both of which are more trusted than advertising.

Micro-influencers are the only influencer persona that can make a direct impact in the post-purchase stage. As customers of your brand, when micro-influencers create organic ratings & reviews, visual branded content, and share product feedback, they do so with more authenticity and credibility than mega- or macro-influencers.

A defining characteristic of micro-influencers is that when they share content on behalf of a brand, their following of friends and family take action as a result. Our recent study found that micro-influencers’ earned engagement rate is 3.5x higher than average Facebook users, and for every 1% increase in Influence Percentile, social engagement increase 36%.

When it comes to ratings & reviews, nothing is more important than communicating trust and authenticity. Credible, organic reviews begin with your own customers. Download the How to Activate Micro-Influencers to Generate Ratings & Reviews guide to start identifying and recruiting micro-influencers among your own customer base.

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