Three out of four consumers are worried about fake online reviews, according to research on behalf of online-review management company Feefo.
A Feefo survey of 2,000 UK adults found 75% concerned about fake content and only 7% who “completely” trust reviews. Yet 74% confirmed online reviews “usually influence them to some extent”.
In a report published this week, Feefo noted “a huge disparity between the number of consumers that read reviews and those that leave them.
“While most online shoppers leave reviews from time to time, only a quarter (24%) leave them regularly.”
The report, Online Reviews: the Consumer Perspective, found a reward was most likely to encourage people to leave a review, with two-thirds (66%) agreeing “an incentive such as loyalty points or a discount would encourage them”.
A “desire to inform others” ranked lower, but was identified as a motivation by 58%.
Almost half (49%) said they might leave a review if invited to do so, although a similar proportion (47%) said “being pestered for feedback” would put them off.
Holidays (identified by 45%) ranked only just behind restaurants (48%) and electronic goods (46%) as the product or service consumers were most likely to review.
Young adults showed an increasing preference for video reviews, with 44% of 16-24-year-olds saying they preferred watching to reading reviews.
But 57% of all respondents preferred written reviews and the same proportion had “no interest” in leaving audio reviews.
Older consumers were more likely to trust reviews if they had been independently verified and dated – 45% of over-55s said they did so against 36% of 16-24-year-olds.
More than half (54%) of respondents said they were suspicious if they saw no negative reviews.
Feefo chief marketing officer Matt West said: “There are risks when you incentivise people to leave a review. There needs to be honesty and transparency.”