Introduction

With each passing year, online reviews for local businesses are becoming more and more critical to consumers. Online reviews help businesses increase visibility through improved local search ranking, influence purchase decisions, and provide valuable feedback that helps improve day-to-day operations. To help businesses better understand how today’s consumer is interacting with online reviews, we are launching the first ever Podium State of Online Reviews.

For the report, we surveyed 2,005 US consumers who use online reviews to document consumer behavior as it relates to online reviews. See our online review stats below.

Reviews Matter

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Key Findings:

  • 93% of consumers say online reviews impact purchase decisions.
  • 3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would engage with.


When it comes down to it, consumers want to hear about your experience from people like them. That’s why online reviews can be your business’ best marketing tool. They influence everything from whether consumers will engage with your business to whether they will ultimately make a purchase.

Quality Over Price

Key Findings:

  • 68% of consumers are willing to pay up to 15% more for a better experience.


Consumers don’t just care about price. They also value a good experience, and many of them would be willing to pay more to ensure they are getting one.

A Consistent Touchpoint

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Key Findings:

  • 58% of consumers look at local reviews at least once a week.

  • Online reviews are an integral part of the shopping experience. More and more consumers are turning to strangers on the internet for purchase advice instead of asking family or friends. Building a presence on the sites that matter most to your business will help drive consumers from awareness to purchase.

Content is King

Key Findings:

  • Review content has the most influence on whether a consumer engages with a business.
  • 82% of consumers said the content of a review has convinced them to make a purchase.


Review content ranked as the most influential online review factor that determines whether or not a consumer would engage with a business. This was followed by star rating, total number of reviews, and finally recency of reviews. Building a solid online reputation that includes a quality star rating and a large number of reviews is a good way to attract attention and get your business into a consumer’s consideration set.

However, the content of a review can do more than just move businesses into the consideration phase. It can also push them to make a purchase. A vast majority of those surveyed (82%) indicated that the content of a review has convinced them to make a purchase.

Reviews Are a Two-Way Street

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Key Findings:

  • 77% of consumers would be willing to leave an online review if asked.
  • 23% of consumers would not be willing to leave an online review if asked.


Many businesses struggle to find ways to build up their presence on online review sites, but the solution to their problem may be much easier than they realize. The survey found that 77% of consumers indicated they would be willing to leave an online review if asked by a local business. Just because consumers say they are willing to leave a review, it doesn’t mean they will follow through. Because of this, businesses need to look for ways to make it as easy as possible for customers to leave a review.

People Leave Reviews for Altruistic Reasons

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Key Findings:

  • 85% of consumers leave online reviews to help consumers or businesses.


When figuring out how to ask their customers to leave a review, businesses should consider the motivations behind why consumers leave reviews in the first place. Consumers leave online reviews as a way to help out others with 35% saying they leave reviews to inform others about the customer experience, 26% leave them to help other people make decisions, while 24% said they did it to let the business know about their experience, and 15% indicated they didn’t leave reviews, only read reviews.

Familiarity Leads to Trust

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Key Findings:

  • 66% of consumers would not trust online review sites they are not familiar with.


A customer’s familiarity with a site impacts whether they will trust the content that is presented in the online review. Try and focus on sites or apps your customers use on a regular basis and collect reviews there.

Which Online Review Sites Matter Most?

Key Findings:

  • 81% of consumers have used Google to research a local business in the past year.
  • 59% of consumers have used Yelp to research a local business in the past year.
  • 49% of consumers have used Facebook to research a local business in the past year.


Because the familiarity of online review sites results in trust, many businesses might be wondering which sites they should focus on. Google was by far the most popular online review site in the survey with 81% of consumers having used it in the past year to research local businesses. Google was followed by Yelp (59%), Facebook (49%), industry specific sites related to purchase (36%), Consumer Affairs (21%), and YP.com (12%) with 5% selecting none of the above.

Your Customers Hold the Answers

Key Findings:

  • 59% of consumers use a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) to look up online reviews.


Today’s consumer relies on their mobile device (smartphone or tablet) to research local businesses. Having your business optimized for mobile searches is key to standing out in the crowd. The survey found that nearly 60% of consumers surveyed would most likely use a smartphone or tablet to research local businesses.

Access to Review Sites

Key Findings:

  • 77% of consumers have access to Google on their smartphone.
  • 67% of consumers have access to Facebook on their smartphone.
  • 24% of consumers have access to Yelp on their smartphone.
  • 13% of consumers don’t have access to Facebook, Google, or Yelp on their smartphone.


A vast majority of consumers surveyed had access to at least one of “The Big 3” review apps (Google, Facebook, or Yelp) on their phone. When broken down individually, 77% of respondents have a Google account on their phone. This was followed by Facebook (67%) and Yelp (24%), while 13% indicated they were not logged in/didn’t have access to those apps on their phone.

Get Found

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Key Findings:

  • 54% of consumers look up a business by typing the business name into a search engine.
  • 30% of consumers look a business up in Google or Apple Maps.
  • 13% of consumers look a business up by going directly to the business’ URL.


The way that consumers look up local business has changed significantly over the years. In the past, they might have looked up a business in the Yellow Pages or some other business directory. Now they look online. When looking up a business, 84% of consumers surveyed said they typically look up a business by typing the business name into a search engine (54%) or look the business up in Google or Apple Maps (30%). Only 13% indicated they go directly to the business’ website by typing in the URL.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted by Survata, an independent research firm in San Francisco. Survata interviewed 2005 online respondents between January 09, 2017 and January 13, 2017. Respondents were reached across the Survata publisher network, where they take a survey to unlock premium content, like articles and ebooks. Respondents received no cash compensation for their participation. More information on Survata’s methodology can be found at survata.com/methodology.