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Social commerce company Reevoo has released research that suggests bad reviews are good for business.

The company found that 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see anything negative at all.

Not only this, but shoppers who go out of their way to read bad reviews convert 67% more than the average consumer.

Reevoo CEO and founder Richard Anson said that though this may seem counter-intuitive, negative user-generated content is actually one of the most effective conversion tools. 

This is because shoppers who seek out bad reviews are highly engaged with their pre-purchase research, viewing almost four times as many products as the average visitor to a site, and staying considerably longer.

The company discovered that three times as many consumers actively seek out and read negative user-generated content as look for positive content: negative reviews are even more popular than 'most recent reviews', or 'reviews from people like me'.  

Figures quoted are from data collected across Reevoo’s network of 150 UK and international partners and from Reevoo.com, the company’s consumer website, as well as from independent consumer surveys.

The results contrast with a study last year, which found that reading between one and three negative reviews would deter the majority of customers, though much depends on whether there are any good reviews to outweight the bad.

Vikki Chowney

Published 10 January, 2012 by Vikki Chowney

Vikki is head of community at TMW. You can follow her on Twitter or Google+

249 more posts from this author

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dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

is there a link to the research?

thank you!

dan

over 4 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

Sadly no Dan, I looked for that myself.

Revoo contacts to follow up with though: mireiafontbernat@reevoo.com

over 4 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

;)

over 4 years ago

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Adi Gaskell

Dan, there has been academic research into this topic by the University of Utah and Carnegie Mellon. You can access it from the authors blog here http://rohitaggarwal.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/blog-blogger-and-the-firm-can-negative-posts-by-employees-lead-to-positive-outcomes/

over 4 years ago

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Depesh Mandalia, Head of Digital Marketing at Lost My Name

I'd agree that having a good representation of bad reviews will aid conversion, however 67% is a very large number and I imagine there's a breaking point of the ratio of bad to good reviews required to maximise conversion - its something that could be A/B tested against to show/hide certain reviews to measure impact on conversion

over 4 years ago

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, MARKETING at Reevoo

Kat from Reevoo here - you can find the results of our data-crunching are in an ebook on the subject, which you can find here:
http://b2b.reevoo.com/bad-reviews

Thanks to Adi for the link to the academic research - will have a read.

@Depesh: I'm sure there's absolutely a breaking point where too many bad reviews do damage conversion. We've found, however, that across all the products/services we cover, an extremely small proportion have lots of bad reviews. The difference we're looking at is when people do or don't display the handful of bad reviews alongside all the dozens of positive ones. In that situation, the impact on conversion really is that powerful!

over 4 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

hi, Kat,

might the takeaway be "where customers click a 'show me the bad reviews' button, they are more likely to be in buying mode"?

ie. If you simply had the 'show me the bad reviews' button & none were present, the increase in conversion may remain.

dan

over 4 years ago

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Tim Smith

If I see too many positive reviews then I usually think something is up as I also like to know the limitations of a product when I buy it. I know nothing is perfect but even if I read negative comments then I will weigh up the pros and cons and usually buy it.

over 4 years ago

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Peter Young

One can't help thinking that figure needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as well - as the degree as both volume and tone of the negative review may affect to what degree the review impacts a potential customers propensity to buy.

Certainly a handful of baddish reviews within a reasonably positive blend is likely to add a degree of 'realism' to the review process imo

over 4 years ago

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Jillian Ney

I've found similar results in my own academic research. The positive is generally found in how the company handle the negative review - It's almost like service recovery. With positive reviews too many increase secpticism - so some negative do help.

over 4 years ago

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Kris Larson

Missing in this is a measure of review quality. As somebody who actively seeks out negative reviews on products I first look for specific complaints and then commonalities between complaints before deciding whether or not I can accept the chance that I will encounter that specific problem. Reviews without specifics are completely discounted. Balanced reviews are typically given greater weight as well.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Taken in isolation, it's a great stat, but much depends on the context of the bad reviews. If there are two out of 10 negative reviews of a product, it makes the other eight more believable.

I think Dan Barker has made an excellent point - those people who seek out bad reviews are clearly demonstrating purchase intent as they attempt to find any flaws in the product they are considering.

For retailers, the key is to place reviews in context and help shoppers to make sense of reviews, especially when there are lots of them. Amazon is great at this, with it's 'top rated good and bad reviews' and comparison charts, while Kiddicare lists pros and cons of products from customer reviews.

http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/3774-how-to-organise-product-reviews

over 4 years ago

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fitness boot camp pasadena

I'd agree that having a good representation of bad reviews will aid conversion, however 67% is a very large number and I imagine there's a breaking point of the ratio of bad to good reviews required to maximise conversion.

about 4 years ago

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Yanev PC

I do agree that reviews (positive or negative) are affecting conversion rates, but I haven't seen 67 or any number like that with negative reviews.

Maybe 10 to 25% is something more natural?

almost 4 years ago

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