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Billions and Billions - When your 3,000 5-star reviews aren't effective....Lets Discuss

John__S

Boss
Sep 4, 2019
32
23
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John
I was looking through our GMB pages for the entire auto group that I work for the other day and started to wonder. Remember when McDonald's would change the sign out front to mark how many BILLIONS of burgers were sold? Today, most of the signs have been changed to say "99 Billion Sold" (due to lack of space for 3rd number) or simply "Billions and Billions Sold".

The company stopped counting back in the mid 90's and I was wondering why. Clearly, selling burgers has not slowed due to lack of keeping public count. But did/does it play a role in the customer's buying habits? Then my mind switched to the auto industry to see if it was a similar situation.

Do you think:
Those 3,000 4.7 to 5 star reviews on your GMB page are effective in behavioral marketing?

My thoughts: Maybe enough is enough. We are not going to stop asking for reviews, replying to each one, especially the low ones, but I don't think it's something to hang a hat on like it was just a short time ago.

Also:
When does the NUMBER of total reviews become ineffective to the customer as they glance around looking for a place to make a vehicle purchase?

My thoughts: Low price wins all the time. I have not heard an instance where a customer called/stopped in and said, or implied, they did so because our reviews were better than the Honda dealer 10 miles away. In reality, the 4-5 star reviews outnumber the lower ones by so much that it would take a month of 1-star reviews for the overall rating to come down to the point that a customer MIGHT notice.

Right or no? What say you?
Happy Friday!
 
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ChrisR

Boss
Oct 12, 2015
354
331
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Christian
Low price does not always win.

Had some people on the lot recently, wanted a vehicle that we had in stock. They waited too long, car sold. They found another one, cheaper than we were selling ours for, and asked if we could acquire it. We could, we did, and sold it to them for our price, not the other store's.

If price is the go-to selling technique, it may work for a bit, eventually, customer service will trump a bad experience that saves you some money.
 

John__S

Boss
Sep 4, 2019
32
23
Awards
1
First Name
John
Low price does not always win.

Had some people on the lot recently, wanted a vehicle that we had in stock. They waited too long, car sold. They found another one, cheaper than we were selling ours for, and asked if we could acquire it. We could, we did, and sold it to them for our price, not the other store's.

If price is the go-to selling technique, it may work for a bit, eventually, customer service will trump a bad experience that saves you some money.
I love this scenario. As long as it gets communicated this way within a review or word of mouth, then the customer service is top. Excellent work going the extra bits to get that sale.
 

jakehughes

Green Pea
Feb 17, 2021
14
13
First Name
Jake
I was looking through our GMB pages for the entire auto group that I work for the other day and started to wonder. Remember when McDonald's would change the sign out front to mark how many BILLIONS of burgers were sold? Today, most of the signs have been changed to say "99 Billion Sold" (due to lack of space for 3rd number) or simply "Billions and Billions Sold".

The company stopped counting back in the mid 90's and I was wondering why. Clearly, selling burgers has not slowed due to lack of keeping public count. But did/does it play a role in the customer's buying habits? Then my mind switched to the auto industry to see if it was a similar situation.

Do you think:
Those 3,000 4.7 to 5 star reviews on your GMB page are effective in behavioral marketing?

My thoughts: Maybe enough is enough. We are not going to stop asking for reviews, replying to each one, especially the low ones, but I don't think it's something to hang a hat on like it was just a short time ago.

Also:
When does the NUMBER of total reviews become ineffective to the customer as they glance around looking for a place to make a vehicle purchase?

My thoughts: Low price wins all the time. I have not heard an instance where a customer called/stopped in and said, or implied, they did so because our reviews were better than the Honda dealer 10 miles away. In reality, the 4-5 star reviews outnumber the lower ones by so much that it would take a month of 1-star reviews for the overall rating to come down to the point that a customer MIGHT notice.

Right or no? What say you?
Happy Friday!
John -

I generally agree with your ideas. I'm chiming in here to expand on a couple of your statements with ideas I've come across along the way.

Are 3k positive reviews effective behavioral marketing?

Yes, to a point. On this topic, I found "The Love of Large Numbers: A Popularity Bias in Consumer Choice" to be interesting. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797617711291

They found that the number of reviews is a general indication of "popularity" that consumers use as a reference point when making buying decisions. They found it to be surprisingly influential, more so than rating. Consumers are more willing to be flexible on rating (4.3 vs 4.7) because of this general recognition that rating is subjective and based on a wide range of things. In contrast, volume or review activity (ie popularity) is more cut and dry.

To the point I think you were getting at, is 3,000 effective? Yes. Is it more effective than 2,500? Not necessarily. It depends upon how you stack up against the local competition. Having more reviews than your competitors will give you a slight edge in perception and likely a slight edge in local search rank. The specific number is not necessarily all that important.

When does the NUMBER of total reviews become ineffective to the customer as they glance around looking for a place to make a vehicle purchase?

I'm not sure this number exists. The purpose behind getting "more" is to show up higher in search and "check the popularity box" when a prospect is flipping through options quickly.

The more logical objective is to have fresh, up-to-date review content for shoppers to review at any point in time. Brightlocal has a study that states consumers prefer to read 10 reviews before they "trust" a business and 73% of consumers discount content that is older than a month. Point being, shoppers want to verify the business is healthy and popular now, not 2 months ago, so a steady stream of content takes care of that preference (sounds like your business has no trouble with this). And then the lifetime volume of reviews grows as a byproduct.

Low price wins all the time. I have not heard an instance where a customer called/stopped in and said, or implied, they did so because our reviews were better than the Honda dealer 10 miles away.

Makes sense!

Since we are talking about reviews, I'll just throw in that Moz published last year that review signals are more important than proximity in local search rankings for the first time. Meaning that it's possible that your business could rank higher than the closer dealership if your reviews are significantly better. So in theory you could pick off a prospect that may have otherwise selected the closer dealership due to better search visibility, without the prospect knowing it is your reviews informing the search placement.

Here is the report: https://hsinfo.moz.com/hubfs/Whitep...e State of Local SEO Industry Report 2020.pdf

Jake
 

Jim K

Full Sticker
May 5, 2019
19
29
First Name
Jim
Great topic and thread that taps into a psychological principle called "Social Proof".

There is a renewed focus and interest in behavioral science and behavioral economics across all verticals lately. A Google search will net plenty of results if anyone is interested. Here's some quick stats from https://choicehacking.com/2020/06/20/social-proof/
  • 83% of consumers in 60 countries say they trust social proof over any other form of advertising (Nielsen)
  • 70% of Americans ask others for their opinions before making a purchase. (Mintel)
  • The younger the consumer, the more they seek out opinions.
  • 81% percent of 18–34 year-olds look for reviews and testimonials before buying a product. (Mintel)
And a very good video here: https://choicehacking.com/2021/05/24/youtube-video-101/

Choicehacking.com is a pretty interesting site itself.

Does anyone have any additional resources related to automotive and behavioral marketing?
 
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loris

Boss
Mar 5, 2021
3
0
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Lori
I know when I am shopping around, whether it be a company or a product, I look at the amount of reviews and then specifically the reviews of the last few months. If there are a lot of reviews that shows that a lot of people have gone there and most had a good experience. I know that things can change over time, so I look at the most recent reviews to help make my decision. In our industry, employees come and go or management changes the way they do things, so looking at the latest reviews will show the true colors of the business of current. Maybe they were good last year but something happened and this year they are no longer focusing on things they should.