3 min. reading

Global Survey: How Do Consumers Perceive Fake Reviews?

Getting feedback from customers is important. Receiving (ideally positive) reviews is essential for successful business. However, it's not a given.

Global Survey: How Do Consumers Perceive Fake Reviews?
Source: Depositphotos

The authenticity of reviews cannot be 100% relied upon. Some companies have already experienced accusations of fake reviews. American company Bazaarvoice, which focuses on user-generated content (UGC), published a global study on the importance of reviews.

The survey was commissioned by Bazaarvoice and conducted by Savanta in September 2023 among more than 8,000 consumers and over 400 brands in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, and Canada.

The results revealed that fake reviews bother people when shopping. Customers want brands to take measures to ensure the authenticity of online content.

“Based on the survey results, we found that reviews are very good. Fake reviews undermine trust in online content, deter shoppers, and negatively impact online sales of brands and retailers. Verifying the authenticity of product reviews improves the customer experience and provides buyers peace of mind when making purchase decisions,” said Andy Chakravarty, Vice President of Research at IDC Retail Insights.

Think Twice About Inauthentic Content

The global survey results showed that inauthentic content is concerning for respondents. Up to 75% of consumers worry about fake reviews, 69% about fake images, 68% about fake videos, 66% about fake questions and answers, and 69% about fake social media content.

Who Should Address This?

Respondents, on the other hand, expressed a desire for brands to take care of it. The majority of respondents (63%) think that issues with fake online content should be addressed by the brand’s website they visit, followed by government bodies (49%) or third-party experts (36%).

Consumers want the situation to be addressed. Meanwhile, 94% of brands and retailers stated that they consider maintaining the authenticity of online content in e-commerce as very important. 76% of surveyed brands are confident in their current strategies and tools for detecting and preventing fraudulent or fake content within their online channels.

When asked if they would trust a third party to verify the credibility of content on all visited sites, 70% of consumers responded positively. Less than half of people (47%) would trust a website that verifies its own content.

Source: Depositphotos

The “Hearsay” Principle Is No Longer Enough

Consumers are careful not to be fooled. How do they verify the legitimacy of online stores? Most often, they use trusted platforms for online shopping (63%), research the brand online (58%), or check the secure website indicator (e.g., padlock symbol) (51%). Less than half of the respondents read customer reviews (47%), and 46% rely on recommendations from friends or family members.

Up to 73% of respondents would be satisfied with a trustworthiness symbol, such as a locked padlock, checkmark, or other symbol indicating that each rating and review has been verified by an independent third party. The majority (66%) of respondents expressed trust in a credibility symbol for social media content, and 60% expressed the same attitude towards a symbol for influencer content.

The surveyed brands are also interested in incorporating trustworthiness signals: 78% of respondents said they would consider adding a signal to verify ratings and reviews, 73% said the same about shopper photos, and 71% about shopper videos.

“Brands and retailers must ensure that their customers trust the content they consume online. If shoppers can’t trust UGC, it loses all its value, and companies will lose revenue,” concludes Zarina Lam Stanford, CMO of Bazaarvoice.

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