Table of contents
  1. 1. Definition
  2. 2. History and future projections
  3. 3. Advantages
  4. 4. Disadvantages
  5. 5. Relevance to influencer marketing
  6. 6. Best practices

Definition

A product review is a written or verbal expression of a customer's thoughts on a product or service. Online you will find product reviews on blogs, social networks, and video platforms like YouTube, consumer complaint websites, and websites that encourage reviews in the comments. Arguably, the most powerful medium for online reviews is social networks

The format and style of a product review vary based on the social media network platform it's on as well as how in depth the customer wants to go. Influencers and website owners usually go more in-depth than the average customer who is just sharing their opinion on a website or social network. Some websites like Amazon and Google enable a star rating system to go alongside customer reviews. Brands don't want their rating to fall below three stars because it decreases a potential buyer's trust. 

It's a good idea to work with an influencer management platform or an agency early on to start off a brand's reviews on the right foot. An influencer management agency connects brands to relevant influencers and assists with both sides in reaching their goals through the partnership. 

 

History and future projections

Product review websites have been around since 1999 and gained traction over the years. Today, many customers check a brand's social media pages to read reviews and determine how legitimate the business is. Customers don't easily trust businesses that lack a social presence. 

Twitter is often used as a customer service base, so potential buyers will check how quickly businesses respond to their mentions. Lack of interaction is like a negative review, especially if unhappy customers are being ignored. Instagram takes on a more visual approach to reviews. Customer reviews on Instagram feature quality photos and detailed text. Seeing real people posting pictures of a product helps increase trust among interested buyers. Online product reviews will continue to be popular unless a new technology replaces social media and the internet. 

 

Advantages

  • Most Customers Check Social Networks for Reviews: Because most customers check social networks for reviews about a business they're considering buying from, it's advantageous to work with influencers to get product reviews. Their reviews help direct targeted traffic to the brand's website, and naturally, some of those individuals will try out the product and leave their own review. 
  • Reaching the Target Audience: When brands ask influencers to review their product, they reach their target audience easier. This can lead to an increase in sales as well as more positive reviews. 
  • Helps Customers Trust the Brand: Of course, no brand wants to see negative reviews about its products, but the benefit of negative reviews is they show a business is legitimate. Clever companies use negative reviews further to their advantage by acknowledging and showing sympathy to the customer's complaints. This can help improve the opinions potential customers have on the brand.

 

Disadvantages

A downside to compensating influencers for product reviews is consumers tend to trust those reviews less. They will take into consideration that the reviewer may have their opinion influenced due to the compensation.

 

Relevance to influencer marketing

Reviews are a form of social proof just as influencer marketing is. Paying influencers for honest product reviews is also a common tactic in influencer marketing. Most customers are influenced by product reviews during the research phase. A bad review can instill doubt in them for a product they were originally excited about, but a good review gives them more assurance that they're making a good purchase decision. 

When an influencer posts a product review, the effect is amplified due to the fact that their followers respect and trust their opinions. Customers won't spend a lot of time on reading reviews, so businesses want the first 10 reviews they come across to be largely positive. Approximately 77% of people read reviews before buying an item, and 88% of people trust reviews online the same as personal recommendations. 

 

Best practices

Strategies for getting influencers to review a product include sending them a free sample or a free item in exchange. Paying is also an option but typically sending free products is better because consumers will be less skeptical of that form of compensation. Most importantly, businesses must ensure that influencers disclose the fact they were compensated for the review in a clear manner at the start of the review to avoid legal troubles.