What’s the last thing you remember that you bought after simply watching an ad online? From a pop-up telling you that your computer is infected to miracle drugs that cure everything, digital marketing is getting wackier and more intrusive than ever.
Digital ads make sense from a marketing point of view. A cheap and effective method of conveying what your company offers to potential clientage all over the world, what could be better? An estimate puts the global spending on the online advertisement above $273 billion USD.
Where the internet has given marketers and companies a whole new avenue of clientage, it has empowered the consumers as well. They are connecting via messengers, forums, and other platforms, finding out what other people have experienced while using different products and services.
The disparity between what companies claim and how the products perform has made consumers skeptical. Online ads are swiftly becoming useless. In fact, the very nature of online ads irks the audience. Four out of five people in a survey said they used an ad blocker.
With such a large number of people who are wary of online advertisements, what are marketers to do? What is still capable of convincing consumers?
Smart Consumer: Reading up on Reviews
Online ads can make tall claims, many of which are unsubstantiated. This has led to people having low trust in advertising. Consumers have turned to search for authentic feedback from existing users. Online reviews are now everywhere, and unlike ads, which seem to obnoxiously intrude everywhere people are, these can be read or watched at their leisure.
Reviews are liked by people because they have an air of authenticity -- who can give a better factual situation and feedback of a company than an actual user? Secondly, the reviews provide much more information than an ad that lasts a few seconds to a minute. They’re detailed and cover various topics, including quality of the services, response to queries made by users, pros and cons, difficulties faced, and other issues.
The rising resistance to online marketing doesn’t mean ads are worthless. Ads still have some influence on consumer decisions. However, when people see an ad, they normally turn towards the internet and check out consumer reviews. If they find enough positive words written, they believe the product or service to be worth their time and money. The person can either go and buy the product or move on. Subsequent repetition of an ad can also help in reminding the person of the product, recalling the review from memory, and deciding to buy it.
In short, there are two scenarios that make people buy products or use services:
They are exposed to the advertisement, become interested, and read up on reviews.
They see the reviews and become interested. Ads serve only as reminders.
In both cases, it’s not the ad that determines the decision, but the consumer’s opinion.
Quality of Reviews
That being said, it doesn’t mean that reviews are the holy grail of company facts and standing. Reviews can be heavily influenced. A disgruntled user’s feedback will likely be full of negative facts, their anger being vented through harsh words. At the other end of the spectrum, a user who needs only a few services of the same company and finds them to his or her satisfaction will sing the company’s praise as if there wasn’t a better service provider in the world.
This creates another problem: information overload. A person who wants to read reviews will have to scour the internet, reading different sources, and trying to pluck out authentic information. A needle in a haystack.
Fortunately, many dedicated review websites aim towards providing feedback from users in a controlled manner, focusing more on quality and authenticity, rather than quantity. Websites like TrustPilot, Google My Business, and Yelp are a few websites that are dedicated to user feedback, while industry or sector-specific ones like Tripadvisor and Angie's List are also there.
However, these services aren’t without their own issues of fake reviews. According to Forbes, fake reviews of products and services on Amazon had become a real problem a few years ago, with products being given an all-star rating in a couple of hours of listing. Why are reviews becoming a hot action plan for firms and companies? A survey by Inc.com revealed that up to 84% of people trust online reviews, believing these to be authentic, with companies quickly jumping in to create fake reviews themselves.
Revain: Authentic Reviews
A pioneer in authentic reviews, Revain is a platform that uses different methods to ensure not only a high-quality of reviews, but their authenticity as well. Revain established a well-developed fair play system that enables consumers to tell the world about their experiences. The platform also provides the registered companies with an opportunity to reply and comment on the reviews and subsequent discussions. This two-sided play means that false and misleading feedback can be caught in time to prevent any negative consequences.
Revain, with its in-depth reviews, intends to change the landscape by delivering user-generated content that is stored on the blockchain to stop any tampering. The platform uses advanced AI and algorithms to detect specific markers in reviews, such as tone and grammar, that can significantly impact the quality of the work.
When the AI approves the text, the review is published.
To demonstrate its complete transparency, Revain stores reviews on the blockchain. This means each review gets a unique hashcode. Anyone can search the hash code in the ledger to check if the original review remained the same.
This unique use of blockchain makes Revain the most authentic and reliable source of consumer feedback. Readers can get up-to-date information on products and companies to make better decisions.