Report: Consumers Seek New Channels to Access Online Reviews

Report: Consumers Seek New Channels to Access Online Reviews

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At this time last year, ChatGPT didn’t exist. The metaverse was just reaching mainstream audiences, and TikTok was an app most millennials were struggling to understand.

How quickly things have changed.

Since its debut in November, ChatGPT has taken the digital marketing industry by storm. Not only has it upended the way brands generate content and handle search engine optimization, but it’s also changing reputation management and customer reviews.

According to a new consumer survey conducted by the reputation management company Chatmeter, 39% of people say they like the idea of using technology like ChatGPT for review information, and more than 30% like the idea of reading customer reviews in the metaverse. 

More than one-in-10 consumers are already using gaming platforms like Roblox and games like Fortnite for business reviews. Among Gen Xers and millennials, in particular, more than 30% have used gaming platforms for reviews.

While Amazon, Google, and online review sites are still the most likely places for consumers to use and post reviews, the willingness among consumers to use newer channels to learn about businesses and share their experiences marks a major shift from the days when reviews were limited to just a few popular local marketing sites.

“Consumers see online reviews as a two-way dialogue. This study reinforces that reviews are a golden opportunity for brands to strengthen their customer relationships,” explained Chatmeter President Cynthia Sener, in an announcement about the report.

Chatmeter’s survey results show that many of the consumers most likely to post reviews online also consider themselves to be “early adopters” of new technologies. Nearly twice as many Gen Xers said they “liked very much” the concept of ChatGPT being used for reviews, compared to Gen Zers. More than 2x as many Gen Xers “liked very much” the concept of using the metaverse for reviews, compared to Gen Zers. 

While just 11% of people who post reviews online say they’ve posted a video review of something they bought on TikTok, more than 18% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 have done so. Almost one-quarter of consumers have tweeted a compliment or a complaint about a company on Twitter.

Social media recommendations play a big role in how consumers choose which businesses to visit, regardless of age cohort or demographic. Chatmeter found that 68% of consumers say they check recommendations on social media when deciding which restaurants to visit.

The growth in social media as an avenue for customer reviews is something brand marketers should watch closely. Research shows online reviews and customer commentary are rapidly expanding to newer channels outside of the traditional local marketing sphere, and that people are most likely to post a review if it is easy or convenient to do. Chatmeter found that nearly 50% of “non-posters,” or people who say they don’t post online reviews, don’t post because of “perceived relevance” and inconvenience, and 15% said they don’t post because they don’t want to download another app.

“Consumers want to engage and want to do so across a multitude of platforms. It’s critical for marketers to arm themselves with technology that can optimize both solicited and unsolicited customer feedback,” writes Sener. “Consumer preferences and habits are evolving, but the right tools can help translate the data into a direct competitive advantage.”

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.
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