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The Wisdom of the Crowd

While at a seminar the other day, a fellow participant was whispering to his neighbor. The neighbor sure looked interested, so I also started paying closer attention. I couldn’t catch much, but what I did hear over and over again was the saying, “The Wisdom of the Crowd.” After the seminar had ended, I hunted down this “Wisdom Guy” to see if he could clarify the statement for me. He did – and I was impressed!

The saying “The Wisdom of the Crowd” refers to (at least in the mind of this gentleman) the power of online reviews. He was relentless in telling me, along with the others who were starting to gather around, that there are very few more powerful advertising venues – positive or negative – than online reviews.
Here are some statistics that he gave me, as I wrote them down as fast as I could:

- 88% of online users read reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and an overwhelming majority those users – 93% – said they have checked reviews before dining or shopping.

- 85% of online users read up to 10 different reviews while researching their purchase.

- 88% of online users said they trusted online reviews as much as they’d trust a personal recommendation, with the caveat being that the reviews have to be authentic and enough of them to make a judgment call.

Assuming that this data is true (a number of online checks more or less validate it), the impact of online reviews to businesses has become staggering! Businesses can begin seriously considering the impact that online research is having on their advertising and marketing strategy.

This game changing statistical data gives us lots to consider! But in the short term, and aside from all that business planning and discussion, we can all be certain of one thing: the reputation of our businesses are being generated, changed, updated, interpreted and classified by the “Wisdom of the Crowd.”