There’s a reason why star ratings and customer reviews are increasingly visible in advertising campaigns. This kind of social proof continues to help build trust and increase propensity to purchase, according to pioneering consumer research by Digital Doughnut sister company London Research.
The Value of Customer Ratings and Reviews in Advertising 2023 report, produced in partnership with Trustpilot, explores their impact on US consumers, and breaks down the effectiveness of different Trustpilot content components.
The research has found that US consumers looking for car insurance are 10 times more likely to click a Trustpilot co-branded ad with a five-star customer rating, a high number of reviews, and a customer testimonial, than an ad with no Trustpilot content.
A similar online advertisement with only the Trustpilot logo and stars is nearly two-and-a-half times more persuasive than the same ad without them.
Our research shows that customer reviews remain the touchpoint most frequently referenced by shoppers as they become increasingly reliant on credible and authoritative information.
Two-thirds of US consumers (66%, up from 62% a year ago) now say they’re ‘often’ or ‘very often’ influenced by customer reviews during the journey to purchase, while 62% say the same for star ratings.
Ratings and reviews continue to play an important role in influencing buying decisions across a wide range of categories. For every sector covered in the research (from financial services and insurance to fashion and health & beauty), at least half of consumers surveyed regard ratings and reviews as ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’.
The research involved a survey-based research technique called conjoint analysis which was used to quantify consumer preferences when respondents were shown different combinations from a series of 20 advertisements for a fictitious company called AutoInsure.
Impact on Higher Price
The research also found that Trustpilot content can improve an ad’s performance so significantly that it can offset a higher price or weaker promotional discount.
Consumers are two-and-a-half times more likely to click a Trustpilot co-branded ad showing a five-star customer rating, high number of reviews, and a customer testimonial, than the ad with no Trustpilot branding, even with a lower discount.
How Trustpilot Stars Shine More Brightly
As part of this research, London research also compared the level of consumer engagement with similar car insurance advertisements co-branded with Yotpo and Google.
US consumers are almost three-and-a-half times more likely to click a Trustpilot co-branded ad with a five-star customer rating, 3,000+ reviews, and a customer testimonial than a Yotpo co-branded ad showing exactly the same information.
The study also found that shoppers are 38% more likely to click a Trustpilot co-branded ad with a five-star customer rating, 3,000+ reviews, and a customer testimonial than an equivalent Google co-branded ad.
Josh Stomel, Founder and CEO of TurboDebt, and one of the brands quoted in the report, spoke about the value of harnessing Trustpilot content: “The current perceptions of the debt relief industry can breed skepticism about companies like ours, which is why we’ve made obtaining legitimate business reviews a top priority. We know Trustpilot is a reliable channel among our clients, and we’ve seen up to a 14% increase in conversion rate since adding their review widget to our landing page.”