Reports: Online ads seen on the rise, but so too is review fraud – Search Marketing
There is a 102% overall increase for local searches and a 30% increase in clicks for directions. Much of the increase is in the travel industries, with hotel websites seeing an average 99% increase in views, a 50% increase in clicks, and a 20% increase in searches.
“Search behaviors are powerful predictors of consumer buying habits, and as the number of coronaviruses declines, we are seeing macro trends emerging in travel and hospitality,” said Mick Wilson, vice president of customer success, Rio SEO.
While this is a good sign for local businesses, another report may dampen some businesses’ hopes for a return to normal – that’s because while consumers search for local businesses, many don’t. Maybe find the reviews fraudulent – and bad – which could hamper their ability to find local stores.
New data from Uberall and The Transparency Company shows that most consumers (90%) now research product or business reviews online before going to a store. Positive reviews on sites like Google and Yelp can help a shopper find the right store, but fake reviews are on the rise. Uberall discovered that 130 million fake reviews were deleted from Google in 2019 and 2020.
According to researchers, Google is the number one review site, visited by around 70% of buyers; Google also has the highest percentage of fake reviews, at just under 11%. The percentage of fake Yelp is around 7%, TripAdvisor at 5% and Facebook at 4.9%.
“Media coverage of review fraud has increased, but no one has quantified the problem,” said Greg Sterling, vice president of Market Insights, Uberall. “Unfortunately, a lot of consumers take reviews at face value and are cheated… it’s a multibillion dollar problem.”
This is especially important because, in the midst of a global pandemic, more and more consumers are looking for small businesses and local businesses rather than typical chain stores. Uberall data reveals that most American consumers (82%) say they will give more business to local brands due to the pandemic. If these buyers can’t find a business or only find fraudulent reviews, that business will run out of revenue.
According to Sterling, fake reviews contribute to consumer mistrust of brands and / or products and believes more businesses should be doing their part to tackle the problem. Here are some ways to combat review fraud:
• Use AI to find fraudulent reviews and force their removal
• Simplify the way consumers and businesses report fake reviews
• Use verification that ensures reviews that leave are from real customers, such as “verified buyer”
More data from Uberall’s Online Exam Fraud Status Report can be found here.
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