According to Brightlocal’s 2016 survey: 43% of consumers search for a business by reviews at least one time per month (vs. 38% in 2014). That’s a fair old percentage, and one that should make you stand up and take note.
Now that i’ve got your attention, there are two types of online reviews that will be potentially shown when you search for a business. First Party Reviews and Third Party Reviews. In this article i’m going to break down each, then make comparisons, along with providing some suggestions/examples of where it works. Finally answering the question “which is better?”
First Party Reviews
These are reviews posted onto your own site. These reviews are great, and have pretty much been a staple of eCommerce sites since they began.
The reason they’ve been really well utilised by eCommerce companies is that first party reviews on products rank really well on Google, like when you search for rucksacks . . .
There are other benefits too. The more reviews there are on a product the more information there is on those products from people who are using the products/services. This means customers spend more time on your site, looking at your goods and services, which not only means they are potentially more likely to purchase, but Google likes it too, as content on your website is interesting!
Third Party Reviews
These are reviews not based on your website. These are reviews that are collected and curated upon external websites. Examples include Tripadvisor, Yelp, Glassdoor, Trustpilot and Consumer Affairs.
Again, like first party reviews these show up really well on google searches, for things like local cafe’s . . .
and restaurants around the city . . .
As you can see, these ratings and reviews are pretty prominent, right at the top of google as soon as you type your query or question. These reviews are really important to potential customers. Why? They provide insight on companies that is free from interference. Content and reviews which are free from company interference have more validity and therefore build more trust in the company that’s being reviewed. After all 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (brightlocal, 2016).
Which is better?
They are different. Both most definitely have their uses. eCommerce sites continue and will always rely on reviews for their products as a source of information, and as a marketing tool. However, SAAS companies, and any generally any business that displays its products/services online (even if their are only there as a point of reference) should incorporate first party reviews.
Third party reviews should be used as a business differentiator. They act as a reference point to whether a business is trustworthy or not. Their external location makes them a great source of unfiltered, un-edited content. This is a trust builder, and trust is important.
The type of reviews you and your business will want to focus upon will be based upon your business goals, and the type of businesses in question. They are both really useful, but their usefulness will be dependent upon the business. Either way make sure you encourage reviews from your customers!