78% More People Trust Reviews Than Ads. Here’s Why.

My wife and I were watching television (the old fashioned cable kind) the other night. Each 3-minute commercial break was our cue to get up and do other things. Time is precious, so it’s no wonder we’d rather use the bathroom, let the dogs out, or do a few dishes than listen to some storyline perfected by an agency in a high-rise somewhere.
Full disclosure, it’s my job to sell the power of product reviews to brands, manufacturers and retailers. There is gold in these consumer opinions that these entities can’t get elsewhere.
But I’m not the only one who “gets” the value of product reviews. Consumers have known their power for quite some time. In fact, 82% of them trust product reviews.
They have also known that ads just don’t make the cut when it comes to trust. A 2019 survey from the American Association of Advertising Agencies shows just 4% of people trust ads.
Quick math: 78% more people trust reviews than ads.

Why? Authenticity.

unstructured review mistakesThis trust of other customers’ opinions is steadfast. People can easily see beyond unstructured sentences, misspellings, poor grammar and slang to find the authentic storylines of customers who have purchased a product. There is connection here. That neatly edited ad provided by the brand and its marketing agency? That just comes off as propaganda.
Here are three statements about reviews as they relate to consumers:

  • Reviews = unstructured data. They’re messy, noisy, come from many sources and require a little leg work to get what you need.
  • Reviews = real. They have high consumer trust because they’re unvarnished. Not slick. Filled with emotion.
  • Reviews = a vehicle for consumers to connect with one another. They tell the stories of other customers, good and bad.

And guess what? These same three statements apply to brands, manufacturers and retailers. The consumers are the kings and queens. Reviews are your way into the kingdom.