We have published a number of glowing articles on the benefits of big data in the world of marketing. However, many of these tutorials focus on the general benefits of big data, rather than specific, data-driven marketing strategies.
One of the ways that big data is transforming local marketing is by optimizing Google Reviews. We were pleased to hear from Michael Del Gigante, the CEO of MDG Advertising. Michael has been kind enough to write a guest post on the benefits of using big data to create higher quality Google Reviews.
Big Data is the Key to Using Google Reviews for Optimal Impact
Most marketers know that positive Google reviews and ratings are essential for local companies. This crowdsourced information is displayed prominently across mobile and desktop search results, and they’re even featured on Google Maps. A glowing Google review boosts a firm’s credibility, driving traffic to both its website and physical location.
Google is one of the leading big data pioneers of the 21st Century. Forrester gave them an award for their big data and NoSQL contributions this year. They use big data to deliver great results for their Google Review customers. A paper on big data analytics by T. N. Helwage discusses the applications of big data at Google, Amazon and other Silicon Valley leaders.
However, marketers can also leverage big data. They can find different approaches with the Google Reviews platform.
5 Ways Big Data Helps with Google Review Solutions
Positive rankings and reviews are important, but you may be wondering how significant they really are. Do people look to Google for reviews and ratings over those from other platforms? Which market segments rely the most on reviews and ratings? How will your search rankings be affected by great reviews?
The social team at MDG Advertising examined multiple surveys and reports to find the answers. Here are five important things they discovered they can use big data to help solve challenges:
1. The Majority of Consumers Rely on Google Reviews
There’s no doubt about it—Google reviews and ratings are popular among consumers. Google remains the dominant search engine, largely due to its innovation in the field of big data, so it seems fitting that users would also look to the platform for business reviews.
Recently, Uberall surveyed 1,000 consumers and found that just over half—51 percent—said they look to Google ratings and reviews when searching for a physical store. Thirty-six percent of consumers check reviews on Yelp, followed by 35 percent for Facebook. Finally, the Better Business Bureau and TripAdvisor got 22 percent and 15 percent of reviews, respectively.
As the results of the survey showed, Google remains the top source of business ratings and reviews.
2. Young Consumers Especially Look to Online Reviews
If your local business is hoping to attract younger customers, online reviews should be a big part of your marketing strategy. Most consumers use data mining tools that rely on Hadoop technology to find online reviews before deciding on a business, but young demographics, in particular, rely on this information.
Older consumers, however, don’t check ratings and reviews as often as their younger counterparts. Fifty-four percent of consumers 55 and over claim they only view Google ratings and reviews occasionally. Conversely, half of those between the ages of 18 to 34 state that they always consult them.
The takeaway? It’s likely that younger consumers will immediately use data driven research to turn to Google to research local businesses, while an older shopper might skip that step.
3. Google Reviews Are Essential for SEO
As mentioned previously, Google is the dominant search engine, so it’s not surprising that there’s a link between ratings and reviews. Stellar online reviews give your business trustworthiness and authority—two traits that appeal to search engine crawlers.
According to BrightLocal research, the search engine giant favors local businesses that have a large number of reviews and a high star rating on Google. These businesses usually rank high—the study revealed that the companies ranking in the top three in a Google search typically have an average of a 4.47-star rating and 47 reviews. Many local businesses with lower star ratings try hard to reach the front page of reviews.
Ultimately, it’s not the number that matters, it’s the quality of the reviews that counts. Google scans all the text, searching for particular keywords that make the content more relevant to the user.
What does this mean for your local business? A well-planned, data-driven strategy that prompts positive Google reviews and ratings offers two key benefits: it helps consumers find what they’re searching for while boosting your firm’s SEO.
4. Google Ratings and Reviews Strategies Must Be Customized
Every business is unique, so the best Google strategies won’t be the same for every firm. BrightLocal explored this topic in a recent report, revealing significant disparities in the number of average reviews for different types of companies.
For example, it’s not uncommon for hotels to have hundreds of reviews as guests reveal the details of their stay. However, smaller businesses might only have a couple of dozen reviews. A provider of specialized serves, such as a photographer, might see higher star ratings—the report showed an average rating of 4.84—while car dealerships average around 4.11.
So, how can local businesses develop a strategy that works? The answer lies in analyzing the type of business and its target market. For instance, a hotel located in a metro area might require hundreds of reviews to achieve a high ranking. But, a business in a smaller community may need a lot fewer to achieve a great rating.
5. Google Reviews Aren’t Static
Lastly, it’s essential for local companies to know that Google reviews and ratings are always in flux. The search engine is evolving quickly, and Google continues to add and subtract different functionalities. This means that local businesses will need to adjust their reviews and rating strategies accordingly.
How are Google reviews and rankings evolving? One example is Google’s Maps platform, which recently introduced a feature that allows hashtags to be added to reviews. This means that someone writing a review could use #datenight or #happyhour to let others know that the restaurant is ideal for a date or a post-work hangout. These hashtags boost visibility among those who are searching for a specific type of business.
The future of Google’s reviews and ratings isn’t entirely clear—marketers will continue to play a guessing game when it comes to determining what features will appear next. With the number of products available—from search and Maps to Android devices and YouTube—Google has ample opportunity to explore different approaches. Plus, they can include ratings and reviews across multiple areas, giving consumers multiple ways to search for the right business.
What marketers can be sure of, however, is that reviews and ratings will be around for the long run. They’re increasingly popular and useful to consumers that rely on big data to conduct research, which means that they’ll continue to become more and more crucial for local businesses.
Use Big Data to Optimize Your Google Reviews Strategy
Big data is ideal for marketing. Companies that rely on Google Reviews can utilize big data for the best possible results.