Survey Finds Reviews More Important to Local Search Than Ever

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News

Skepticism Continues to Grow As Users Become More Reliant On Local Reviews

While business reviews are becoming much more valuable to users when it comes to local search, these users are also getting smarter and displaying a increasing amount of skepticism when it comes to their authenticity. This according to a recent consumer reviews survey conducted by BrightLocal. The survey, which polled over 1,000 U.S. adults this past November, found that 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 52% of 18-54-year-olds indicating that they always read reviews. In fact, reviews have become so important that users are spending more and more time reading reviews before giving a company their business. The survey found that the average consumer spends 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading at least 10 reviews before they can trust a business. BrightLocal Survey results chart Source: BrightLocal

What Are Consumers Looking for In a Review?

The number of stars left for a business is one of the most important factors users consider, with only about half of the survey respondents stating that they would consider a business that had fewer than 4 stars. Consumers are also on the lookout for recent reviews and are less likely to place value in a review that has been up for longer than one month. So, how recent should your reviews be? The sweet spot according to the survey is anywhere between two weeks to one month.

The Importance of Keeping It Real

In the past year alone, consumers have demonstrated a higher awareness when it comes to fake reviews, with 46% of respondents believing that they have read multiple fake reviews in 2019. This is a 13% jump compared to the 2018 survey results. BrightLocal Survey results graph  Source: BrightLocal

Why Is This Important?

Over the last decade, online reviews for local businesses have played an increasingly significant role in consumers’ purchasing decisions. In fact, a large chunk of survey respondents agreed that both positive and negative reviews had a huge influence on where they decided to spend their money. This means that even a single poor star rating or piece of negative feedback can easily derail a consumer’s ability to trust your business. Consistently positive reviews, on the other hand, have been shown to drive almost immediate conversions, with the most common next steps being visiting the business’s website, searching for more reviews to make sure they are making the right decision, and finally, visiting the business in person. So, the takeaway here is to focus on building your organic reviews by asking customers to leave them (in an ethical way, of course) and responding to any negative reviews in a positive way.

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

Google Updated Performance Max Campaigns


Performance Max campaigns in Google Ads have been updated with three new features, Google announced earlier this week. Among the additions are New customer acquisition goals, new Performance Max insights reports, and a one-click upgrade tool for Smart Shopping. Let’s dig right in and see how these features can help drive your business!

New Customer Acquisition Goals

You can now use your data to help Google identify (and target) new customers with PMax campaigns. This feature should help you identify who’s a new sure, who’s an old one, which will definitely help with the strategy. There are a few options available:

  • Customer Match Lists – When first-party data is uploaded (name, email, phone, country, postal code), Google gives a match rate that shows how many of your customers have a matching Google account that can be used for targeting. Much cooler than third-party cookies, eh?
  • Conversion Tags – using them might help the new feature cut out people that aren’t new
  • Google’s Autodetection Method – Besides the previously seen Google detected purchase conversion tracking in Smart Shopping, Performance Max also has new machine learning models that predict whether a user is a new customer or an existing customer.

Performance Max Insights Reports

Photo source: support.google.com

If you’re looking for more information on campaign performance, you will be pleased with this new feature. There are two new additions to the insights page:

  • Asset Audience Insights – this will tell you how text, images and videos ‘resonate with specific customer segments’. That means you will be able to see what your customers engage more with, with what content.  Using those insights, you can customize your marketing strategy!
  • Diagnostic Insights – these insights will show you all the issues that might prevent your ads from showing. It will also give you some suggestions on how to fix it.

One-click Upgrade Tool For Smart Shopping

This will begin rolling out soon, Google said, and Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will no longer exist. You’ll get notified when the tool becomes available and after you upgrade it, a new Performance Max campaign will be generated and keep the information from previous campaigns.

Here’s how to upgrade:


Why Is This Important?

You already know that tracking everything is the key to success. Well, one of the keys. These additional insights will not only help you keep track of your customers’ engagement and preferences, but will help you develop and customize your marketing strategy. Like it or not, Performance Max is alive and kicking and adapting to it sounds like the smartest choice.

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TikTok More Popular Than Google In 2021


For the first time in the last 20 years, Google wasn’t the most popular web address in a year – the title now belongs to TikTok.

The social video app owned by ByteDance has been a key digital platform for a while now. Gaining popularity during the pandemic, TikTok is now an opinion-maker of its kind and a go-to solution for targeting the younger generation, Gen Z.

According to Cloudfare, TikTok gained (and remained) number one in the global ranking on August 10, 2021. Before that, it was a back and forth battle with Google, but since then, the video app has mostly taken the lead.

Even though Google managed to come first again a few times, it didn’t win for the holidays. On Black Friday, TikTok rose again – a key fact for e-commerce businesses that rely on Google during the holidays shopping spree.

In comparison, TikTok was number seven in ranking after Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Netflix and Amazon in 2020.

The app now has more than 1 billion monthly active users and doubled down on privacy, ad measurement and commerce, so it isn’t surprising that brands and marketers are getting more comfortable with advertising on it. The fact that the number of consumers exposed to ads nearly doubled, going to 37% this year, also helps.

After managing to surpass the potential ban in the U.S last year, TikTok continued attracting users and gaining more downloads. It became the first non-Facebook mobile app to surpass 3 billion downloads.

While staying in touch with its users and adapting to changes such as the return of longer videos, TikTok might have the potential to become a leader in the advertisement in the future.

The Year’s Winners By Cloudfare

Top 10 — Most popular domains (late) 2021

  1.  TikTok.com
  2. Google.com
  3. Facebook.com
  4. Microsoft.com
  5. Apple.com
  6. Amazon.com
  7. Netflix.com
  8. YouTube.com
  9. Twitter.com
  10. WhatsApp.com

Top 10 — Most popular social media domains (late) 2021

  1. TikTok.com
  2. Facebook.com
  3. YouTube.com
  4. Twitter.com
  5. Instagram.com
  6. Snapchat.com
  7. Reddit.com
  8. Pinterest.com
  9. LinkedIn.com
  10. Quora.com



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