By now it’s widely accepted that many of us write reviews on products. With clients across more than 17 industries, we’re able to see trends and set benchmarks to compare these industries to one another. We see how UGC is impacting many industries, including the travel, entertainment, and financial services industries. I’ve looked at trends in each of these industries and compared them against tried-and-true online retailers, who have long seen the value in customer reviews.
In the travel industry, we’ve witnessed a higher average number of reviews a day – understandable, since so many travelers book online, and want to share their travel experience with others. Edreams sees an average of 323 reviews a day, compared to the typical 65 reviews a day for retailers. The higher price point of travel creates more critical decision-makers and contributors, leading to more critical feedback. The travel industry stands to gain from these reviews in the same way restaurants benefit from negative customer feedback, as Derrek J. Hull, voice of the National Restaurant Association, writes in his blog post. Hull emphasizes that every business can expect a negative review at some point; smart business owners will take that review as an opportunity to start a conversation with the customer. The ball is now in their court.
Like travel, the entertainment industry has a higher price point than most online products. But there’s also larger price range – tickets to Taylor Swift’s upcoming Austin concert range from $91 to $682 on Razorgator. This leads to highly inquisitive and engaged shoppers viewing user-generated content. I know from personal experience; I check out what people say about the act, whether it’s worth the price, and any recommendations on seats. Who wouldn’t want to research a bit, especially with the choice between paying a few bucks, a few hundred, or not even going at all?
Another interesting and fairly new industry in the UGC game is the financial services industry. Our financial services clients like Geico are quickly gathering review volume from customers wanting to share their opinions, and are actually seeing many more of their reviews being served up on their websites than on typical retail sites. In other words, visitors to financial services sites click to “Read Reviews” more often, curious to see what customers are saying. This is expected, as much more research goes into choosing a financial services provider than the typical product; UGC helps meet the higher shopper demand for information.
Charlene Li (author of Groundswell) and Jeremiah Owyang, both leading experts in emerging social technologies, explained in their socialgraphics webinar that most consumers just “watch” social media – meaning, they read reviews, consume Q&A, etc., and fewer actually contribute. If travel, entertainment and financial services trend the same way that retail has, there will be a gradual but definite build in customers contributing content as user-generated content becomes more prevalent in all of these industries.