Highlights from the Kelsey Group/comScore Survey on User Reviews

Are user reviews important in local search? Data from the latest Kelsey Group/comScore survey presented today by Brian Jurutka from comScore seems to indicate it is critical from a user point of view as 24% of online consumers have used an online review site prior to buying an offline service in the last 3 months.  In addition, more than 75% of those review-informed purchasers cited online reviews as influential in their purchase decision process.

Kelsey ILM 07 Brian Jurutka 

Why are consumer reviews influential?

  • They are seen as unbiased 3rd party feedback
  • They are efficient
  • They provide an opportunity for feedback

Who writes reviews?

  • Broadband users, young professionals, 25-49. 46% of review users have contributed a review as well.

Why do consumers write reviews?

  • Helps other consumers (62%)
  • Gives me “consumer power” (44%)
  • It’s a fun activity (33%)
  • It helps me “get back” at a provider after experiencing poor service (24%)
  • I was compensated to do it. (19%)

Other highlights:

  • Better reviews drive higher revenues. Consumers were willing to pay 20% more for services that were rated 5 stars vs. 4 stars.
  • In addition, a significant portion of people were not willing to purchase from a 1-star place.
  • 97% believed the review was accurate post-sale.

Update: the official press release.

Highlights from the Kelsey Group/comScore Survey on User Reviews

Are user reviews important in local search? Data from the latest Kelsey Group/comScore survey presented today by Brian Jurutka from comScore seems to indicate it is critical from a user point of view as 24% of online consumers have used an online review site prior to buying an offline service in the last 3 months.  In addition, more than 75% of those review-informed purchasers cited online reviews as influential in their purchase decision process.

Kelsey ILM 07 Brian Jurutka 

Why are consumer reviews influential?

  • They are seen as unbiased 3rd party feedback
  • They are efficient
  • They provide an opportunity for feedback

Who writes reviews?

  • Broadband users, young professionals, 25-49. 46% of review users have contributed a review as well.

Why do consumers write reviews?

  • Helps other consumers (62%)
  • Gives me “consumer power” (44%)
  • It’s a fun activity (33%)
  • It helps me “get back” at a provider after experiencing poor service (24%)
  • I was compensated to do it. (19%)

Other highlights:

  • Better reviews drive higher revenues. Consumers were willing to pay 20% more for services that were rated 5 stars vs. 4 stars.
  • In addition, a significant portion of people were not willing to purchase from a 1-star place.
  • 97% believed the review was accurate post-sale.

Update: the official press release.

Local Online Conversations Outnumber IYP Searches 7-to-1

According to Keller Fay Group (via the Center for Media Research), there are 3.5 billion brand-related conversations per day in the U.S. 8% (280MM) of those are happening online. Let’s speculate for an instant. If 25% of those online conversations are local in nature, that means an impressive 70 million local conversations are happening online every day in the US in e-mails, instant messenging, blogs, forums, social networks and other online communities.

Let’s equate these conversations to local searches and compare them with ComScore “IYP” searches. According to this article from SearchEngineLand, these totaled 808MM in the US in Q1 2007. In a three-month period, 6.3 billion local conversations are potentially happening online. That’s 7 times the total “IYP” searches universe! And a whopping 35 times the total of the current leader, Yahoo!

Comscore IYP Searches

What it means: for anyone who doubted that local search was very fragmented online, I think these numbers speak for themselves. In addition, the ability to deploy a social media strategy for anyone operating in that space is key.

ComScore Tracking Effects of Marketing in Conversational Media Sites

(via Online Media Daily)

Apparel, food and beverage and low-cost product categories are better received by consumers visiting blogs than other types of marketers, according to Chicago-based comScore’s new product that measures consumer consumption of marketing through blog and social network conversations. “More serious categories such as insurance, financial services and pharmaceuticals do not engage blog visitors as well,” says Andrew Lipsman, senior analyst at comScore.

“The intensity of usage with conversational media sites is unique to the Internet,” Lipsman adds, with heavy visitors to conversational media sites in particular exhibiting certain niche online behaviors that can be underrepresented in a general consumer panel.

That fact inspired creation of the new tool to measure the intensity and predict the velocity and magnitude of its growth. Federated Media Publishing, the Sausalito, Calif.-based advertising platform for blogs, lent comScore its expertise on the consumer population that visits blogs, contributes commentary to blogs and social networks, and offers advertisers a stickier relationship.

What it means: more and more people are interested in conversational media as a way to market products/services but are not sure about the effectiveness of branded advertising alongside conversations. It’s therefore very appropriate that Comscore starts providing some data to support ad buys around this new media environment.

SES San Jose: Stuart McKelvey on Local Search

Found on WebProNews, a video interview with Stuart McKelvey, President and CEO of TMP Directional Marketing. He’s at SES San Jose to present the results of a recent local search study done with ComScore.

SES San Jose

Highlights of the interview:

  • Offline local searches are mostly centered on service-based companies
  • Online local searches have a more product-centric purpose
  • Consumers are searching for businesses located within 1 to 20 miles of their home
  • Close to the transaction, 40% of consumers are still shopping around and can be influenced
  • 30% of consumers want to transact offline
  • 20% wanted to talk to someone before closing the transaction

How to Build a Great Facebook App (Highlights from FacebookCamp Toronto)

As I mentioned yesterday, I attended FacebookCamp in Toronto on Tuesday night. It was well attended (over 400 people) and the room was about 50% tech-oriented and 50% business-oriented. Roy Pereira, one of the organizers seen below on the right (the other host is Andrew Cherwenka), told the crowd the objective was to encourage more Toronto-based developers and companies to use the Facebook application platform and further Toronto’s global presence in technology.

roy and andrew at FacebookCamp in Toronto

We then jumped straight into action with a very informative presentation by Meagan Marks from Facebook. Called “Best Practices around Product Design and Viral Marketing”, it offered multiple data points about the size of Facebook in Canada and some tips & tricks on how to leverage the site. The Facebook team asked that we do not videotape the presentation which made me thing their live presentations are walled gardens as well… 🙂

Meagan Marks at FacebookCamp in Toronto

Data highlights:

  • Worldwide: 33M active users (people coming to the site at least once a month), 150,000 new users are added each day.
  • 90,000 application developers, 1700 applications with more 100 users.
  • #6 network in Canada with 11.3M unique visitors in June 2007 according to Comscore (close to 50% reach). Facebook claims they also have 8.5 billion page views per month.
  • They have 3.3M active users. 68% are daily users and 61% are out of college,
  • 75% of active users have an application installed.
  • 10% of all application developers are based in Canada and Toronto is one of the top 10 largest developer communities

Marketing highlights:

  • Facebook is all about identity, information and social context. It’s about connections between people, it’s powered by valuable social connections, and enhanced by network effects.
  • How do you get high growth, high users applications? By having deep integration in all channels: the newsfeed, the product directory, the profile page but there are other places where you can hook your app.
  • Profile integration: there are many places where you can embed your app including in the left navigation, under the user picture, in the upper right or in the middle of the page.
  • The best way to leverage the profile box is to show recent interactions, recently added content, social relevancy (who), the temporal aspect (what happened today and yesterday). The content is all about expression, not consumption.
  • News feed optimization (NFO): increase the relevancy of what’s pushed through the newsfeed ( for example, what the user did and the relationship with their friends) and utilize call-to-action buttons.
  • Additional integration points: the message, the profile actions, the wall, and the share button
  • An interesting marketing idea was to find other developers who have built complimentary apps to cross-promote your own app.

She also mentioned that Facebook was already seeing new business opportunities emerging from developers. Among them, she mentioned virtual currencies (ex: munny in Fluff friends), Ad networks, APIs on top API (for example, the Super Wall API).

She suggested app developers use the following metrics to measure success:

  1. Vitality metrics: installed base, outgoing impressions, conversion rate
  2. Engagement metrics: repeat sessions, canvas page views. She showed the following formula: installed users x impressions/installed users x acquisitions/impressions = new users acquired (see the following picture here from the Global Nerdy site)

Joey deVilla has an amazing summary of that session as well on GlobalNerdy.com, with even more details.

How to Build a Great Facebook App (Highlights from FacebookCamp Toronto)

As I mentioned yesterday, I attended FacebookCamp in Toronto on Tuesday night. It was well attended (over 400 people) and the room was about 50% tech-oriented and 50% business-oriented. Roy Pereira, one of the organizers seen below on the right (the other host is Andrew Cherwenka), told the crowd the objective was to encourage more Toronto-based developers and companies to use the Facebook application platform and further Toronto’s global presence in technology.

roy and andrew at FacebookCamp in Toronto

We then jumped straight into action with a very informative presentation by Meagan Marks from Facebook. Called “Best Practices around Product Design and Viral Marketing”, it offered multiple data points about the size of Facebook in Canada and some tips & tricks on how to leverage the site. The Facebook team asked that we do not videotape the presentation which made me thing their live presentations are walled gardens as well… 🙂

Meagan Marks at FacebookCamp in Toronto

Data highlights:

  • Worldwide: 33M active users (people coming to the site at least once a month), 150,000 new users are added each day.
  • 90,000 application developers, 1700 applications with more 100 users.
  • #6 network in Canada with 11.3M unique visitors in June 2007 according to Comscore (close to 50% reach). Facebook claims they also have 8.5 billion page views per month.
  • They have 3.3M active users. 68% are daily users and 61% are out of college,
  • 75% of active users have an application installed.
  • 10% of all application developers are based in Canada and Toronto is one of the top 10 largest developer communities

Marketing highlights:

  • Facebook is all about identity, information and social context. It’s about connections between people, it’s powered by valuable social connections, and enhanced by network effects.
  • How do you get high growth, high users applications? By having deep integration in all channels: the newsfeed, the product directory, the profile page but there are other places where you can hook your app.
  • Profile integration: there are many places where you can embed your app including in the left navigation, under the user picture, in the upper right or in the middle of the page.
  • The best way to leverage the profile box is to show recent interactions, recently added content, social relevancy (who), the temporal aspect (what happened today and yesterday). The content is all about expression, not consumption.
  • News feed optimization (NFO): increase the relevancy of what’s pushed through the newsfeed ( for example, what the user did and the relationship with their friends) and utilize call-to-action buttons.
  • Additional integration points: the message, the profile actions, the wall, and the share button
  • An interesting marketing idea was to find other developers who have built complimentary apps to cross-promote your own app.

She also mentioned that Facebook was already seeing new business opportunities emerging from developers. Among them, she mentioned virtual currencies (ex: munny in Fluff friends), Ad networks, APIs on top API (for example, the Super Wall API).

She suggested app developers use the following metrics to measure success:

  1. Vitality metrics: installed base, outgoing impressions, conversion rate
  2. Engagement metrics: repeat sessions, canvas page views. She showed the following formula: installed users x impressions/installed users x acquisitions/impressions = new users acquired (see the following picture here from the Global Nerdy site)

Joey deVilla has an amazing summary of that session as well on GlobalNerdy.com, with even more details.