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Social Media elevates Customer Testimonials and User Reviews to New Levels of Prominence

There’s no question that most people value hearing the opinions of others when deciding whether to purchase a new product.

But in the world of social media with its exponential increase of testimonials, ratings and recommendations about various products and services, what types of recommendations resonate the most?

Answers come in a survey sponsored by marketing firm Social Media Link, which was issued in October 2013 to all members within the company’s Smiley360 community brand activation program.

The “Social Recommendation Index” online survey was answered by more than 10,300 respondents.  Here’s what this survey found?

  • Three-fourths of the respondents stated that fewer than 10 reviews are all that they need to make a purchase decision.
  • The most valuable reviews tend to be the ones that include personal stories, rather than a laundry list of product benefits.

  • By contrast, “star” ratings are the least influential type of review:  Only ~15% of respondents report that those ratings are the most important way to influencing their purchase decisions.

The degree of impact also depends on who’s doing the reviewing:

  • 86% cite reviews by friends and family members as having the  biggest impact
  • 39% are influenced by blogger reviews
  • 11% report that celebrity reviews have the most impact

The paltry figure for celebrities is not at all surprising; other studies pertaining to celebrity endorsements in advertising have showed the same thing.  

Considering that “friends and family” are the most influential reviewers, it’s no surprise that survey respondents view Facebook as the most trusted of all the major social platforms:

  • Facebook:  ~68% consider highly trustworthy
  • Pinterest:  ~56%
  • YouTube:  ~51%
  • Twitter:  ~41%


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