Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Research proves the power of reviews and ratings to drive conversions

By Paul O’Donoghue, VP solution engineering, Uberall

Star rating increase of just 0.1 can increase conversion rates by 25%.

That was one of the headline findings from our global benchmark report, The Reputation Management Revolution, analysing the Google My Business profiles of 64,000 business locations across the UK, the US, Germany, and France to determine how review ratings and responsiveness to reviews impact consumer engagement.  

Consumers have access to more choices than ever, with smartphones at their fingertips to find the brands, products, and services they’re looking for, and crucially, the online reviews for these businesses.

Brands know that star ratings matter, but our research reveals that even small differences can make a significant impact on conversion rates.

4.9 stars beats 5 stars – sometimes

As expected, higher customer star ratings generally mean higher conversion rates, but there is an exception. While large global brands with five-star ratings enjoy the highest conversion rates, this is not true for those operating ten or more locations.

For these mid-sized brands, a 4.9-star rating achieves the highest conversion rate, with a rapid decline in conversion rate for locations with perfect five star reviews, suggesting that consumers may be sceptical of perfect scores.  

Brands with ratings in the mid-four stars have the most to gain by engaging with online reviewers in order to boost their scores. By increasing their star-rating from 4.3 to 4.4, businesses of all sizes can increase their conversion rate by 25%.

Better still, larger global brands can almost double their conversion rates when their locations improve their ratings from 4.3 stars to 4.5 stars.  

Companies that previously relied heavily on brand awareness to win customers are now competing for consumer attention in a much broader commercial landscape.

Businesses need to convince consumers that their nearby store, restaurant or location is the one worth visiting, and review ratings are vital to convincing them — especially when even a 0.1 variation in star rating can be the difference between being a business of choice or being dismissed outright.

More responsiveness means more customer engagement

86% of consumers are more likely to shop at a store that responds to reviews, per an earlier Uberall survey, yet large global brands — with more than 740 reviews per location — respond to just 9% of reviews left online by their customers, which could negatively impact their ability to attract new visitors to their door. 

We found that consumer conversion rates — measured by the number of clicks on phone number, driving directions, and website — climb sharply when brands engage with and reply to online reviews left by customers.

For example, a brand with ten plus locations, that responds to 32% of customer reviews, will enjoy 80% higher conversion rates than a similar sized company replying to just 10% of reviews.  

When it comes to responding to online reviews, many businesses that operate and manage multiple branches are currently missing out on the opportunity to win over customers.

By responding to one in three, rather than just one in ten reviews, these multi-location businesses can almost double the number of people seeking further information about their stores and services.

Knowledge is power, and consumers today have access to brand information anytime and anywhere, not just on brand websites but on search engines, social media, review sites, and online directories.

Businesses need to make the most of the opportunity that online reviews present to build their reputation and connect with customers on a local level.

Study Methodology

Data was analysed from the Google My Business profiles of 64,000 locations across the UK, the U.S.A., Germany and France. The data collected is grouped by SMB (less than 10 locations), Enterprise (more than 10 locations) and Global brands (more than 740 reviews per location). Conversion rate is a combination of phone number, driving directions and website clicks.