Because reviewers want to help others…that's the short answer.

We just announced the results of a study we executed with Keller Fay Research to understand the intentions and motivations behind reviewers. Overwhelmingly, the survey found, reviewers are motivated by goodwill and positive sentiment. The summary of the findings:

  • Fully 90 percent write reviews in order to help others make better buying decisions
  • More than 70 percent want to help companies improve the products they build and carry.
  • 79 percent write reviews in order to reward a company
  • 87 percent of the reviews are generally positive in tone (self reported, but matches our actual findings of the J-Curve where 80% reviews are positive)

Why is this important?

  • To understand the motivations behind customers’ taking the time to post user generated content is to understand how to reward them and encourage others to participate.
  • It confirms why reviews are so positive – customers believe they help others more by sharing products they loved.
  • It tells us that these reviewers have positive feelings towards the companies that created products they love. And it says that companies can benefit far more than just a review from these influential, participatory customers.
  • There are great opportunities for CRM / segmentation strategies and loyalty programs for both retailers and manufacturers.

And a surprising finding:

Prior to writing the review preceding taking this survey, only 19 percent of reviewers had posted on independent product review sites such as ePinions or CNET, while 66 percent had posted to a retailers’ site after an OFFLINE purchase, compared to 34% who had previously posted due to an online purchase. This underscores that customers are more apt to post reviews from the retailers from which they buy. Further, customers are likely to return to the retailer's site to write a review from an offline purchase. Evidence of these results: from some of our clients we've found as much as 30% of all reviews are from in-store customers.

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  • http://onthebigblackbus.com/ andrew

    Aaah – but people do gain something from it – There is validation in posting a review – almost like writing a comment – it demonstrates that you have value – or at least – you think you do – it’s an extrapolation of the 2.0 concept – user-generated content exists ‘cos people feel good about doing it – it’s their 5 mins of fame, in cyberspace – and as we know – it’s addictive. Great information – I’m developing an Artist’s site to make the whole commenting concept easier and more immediate and this data backs up my intuition – see – I have worth! ;-p

  • http://onthebigblackbus.com/ andrew

    Aaah – but people do gain something from it – There is validation in posting a review – almost like writing a comment – it demonstrates that you have value – or at least – you think you do – it’s an extrapolation of the 2.0 concept – user-generated content exists ‘cos people feel good about doing it – it’s their 5 mins of fame, in cyberspace – and as we know – it’s addictive. Great information – I’m developing an Artist’s site to make the whole commenting concept easier and more immediate and this data backs up my intuition – see – I have worth! ;-p

  • http://www.reviews.gobbledegoop.net/archives/9 Dougal kay

    Id guess the 10% are either involved in the product in some way or they are just of malicious intent.
    I find it overwhelming that people are wiling to give their time up to write reviews on products that they don’t stand to gain anything from. It kind of makes you think that maybe the general public aren’t as selfish as the media has us believe.

  • http://www.reviews.gobbledegoop.net/archives/9 Dougal kay

    Id guess the 10% are either involved in the product in some way or they are just of malicious intent.
    I find it overwhelming that people are wiling to give their time up to write reviews on products that they don’t stand to gain anything from. It kind of makes you think that maybe the general public aren’t as selfish as the media has us believe.

  • http://blog.seagul.co.uk Chris Roos

    Hey folks,

    Do you have any plans to release the raw data from the survey? I’m interested in why the 10% (that don’t want to help other people) write reviews. Similarly, in the 30% that don’t want to help companies improve their products and the 21% that aren’t doing it to reward a company. It’s feels as though it’d be useful to know why people don’t write reviews, although I also imagine that this would be hard data to get hold of: if they aren’t writing reviews then I assume that they’d be unlikely to fill in a survey about writing reviews…

    Disclosure: I work at reevoo.com but am personally interested in your findings.

    Chris

  • http://blog.seagul.co.uk Chris Roos

    Hey folks,

    Do you have any plans to release the raw data from the survey? I’m interested in why the 10% (that don’t want to help other people) write reviews. Similarly, in the 30% that don’t want to help companies improve their products and the 21% that aren’t doing it to reward a company. It’s feels as though it’d be useful to know why people don’t write reviews, although I also imagine that this would be hard data to get hold of: if they aren’t writing reviews then I assume that they’d be unlikely to fill in a survey about writing reviews…

    Disclosure: I work at reevoo.com but am personally interested in your findings.

    Chris