By now it’s common knowledge that reviews are great for conversion.
But how you display them has a huge impact on whether those reviews you spend time and effort collecting really make a difference to your bottom line.
We think of ‘display’ as two main things:
- Your badge, or CTA (call to action);
- And the presentation of the reviews themselves.
Let’s look at both.
Your CTA – the gateway to your reviews
There are three key components of our CTA. Each is optimised for ultimate conversion performance.
Number of reviews
The total number of reviews is a driver for conversion – the more reviews, the greater the conversion.
Rating (stars or number)
The rating or stars give your customers an immediate idea of what people think of the product/service. Which should you pick? More on that later.
It’s not there for advertising – it’s good for our clients. 80% of online shoppers put more trust in reviews if they’re displayed by a neutral, credible third party.
So – what happens once someone clicks the CTA?
Your reviews presentation – where the deal is sealed
There are two main reviews solutions: embedded and lightbox. Both have different technical requirements and different consequences for UX and SEO.
A good solution will reduce friction along the customer journey and build on the brand integrity you’ve built with the CTA.
Which should you pick? Again, more on that later.
Here are our golden rules of review display. Follow these and you can be sure that you’re getting maximum conversion impact from your user-generated content (UGC).
1. Separate reviews from your brand
You need to make it clear to your customers that the UGC they see on your site is impartial and independent.
This facilitates customer trust in the content – and, critically, enhances customer perception of your brand.
45% of consumers state that they don’t trust what companies say about their own products. Reevoo/FlyResearch, 2018
Providing access to genuine, independently collected, verified and unedited UGC highlights your transparency and honesty.
2. Show the right information
Understand what you need to display in the CTA and what can wait until the customer is reading the reviews.
The overall score and number of reviews are vital, as is something to show that the reviews have been collected independently. Anything beyond that is probably better after the CTA.
3. Introduce reviews at the right point in the journey
You deliver the most value by offering UGC at the right point in the customer journey.
Put the CTA where:
- It can reduce consumer doubt about a product.
- A consumer can convert.
- It can inform and inspire confidence in the purchase decision.
There are probably several spots you could put your CTAs. We explore our clients’ website thoroughly to identify the key ones.
You need to make it clear to your customers that the UGC on your site is impartial and independent. - Highlight to share -
4. Put your CTA in the right position on the page
The effectiveness of a CTA is largely determined by its position on the page. There are some key rules we follow with regards to its placement.
A big one: don’t put the CTA after the CTA.
Confused? We’ll explain.
Once consumers see your own CTA (like, say, an ‘add to cart’ button), they don’t pay as much attention to what’s below. The ‘read reviews’ button needs to go before that so people have all the information they need before they’re willing to buy.
The other rules are more design-focused. Ensure the button has a bit of clear space all around, but it’s close enough to the product or service being presented on the page.
Remember, a CTA should be at least one of the below:
- Close to a conversion CTA – ideally before or above in the natural reading order.
- Close to the product name.
- Close to the product image if there is one available.
5. Design your CTA in context
You can put a varying amount of detail on a CTA badge. How much you try to fit in there depends on a few things.
On a regular ecommerce website, products are listed in a list or grid. In this case, you probably only need a bare-bones reviews badge displaying rating and number of reviews, as the user will be seeing a lot of different CTAs.
But if you’re showing the CTA as part of a hero image on your homepage, you can add a little more detail.
6. Pick stars or numbers (if you have to)
You can present CTAs with either a number rating out of 10 or a star rating out of 5.
One approach may be more appropriate for your brand than the other.
Only one rating system should be used on your site – never a combination. It’s too confusing.
So which to choose?
Numbers provide greater granularity. Where lots of products perform well, it can be hard to differentiate them with stars. Numbers giving a rating to one decimal place clearly separate the Excellent from the just Very Good.
Stars can be confusing in some industries, like travel, where stars already have a job (like hotel luxuriousness ratings). In other industries, stars are the accepted rating format, so stick with them.
7. Pick the right reviews presentation
You’ve got two choices on how to actually display the reviews once the user clicks on the CTA: embedded or lightbox.
Which one you pick depends on where the customer is in the journey and the nature of the page.
The solutions are not mutually exclusive – a combination may often deliver the greatest value.
You might also want to think about adding a link to your reviews in your navigation bar, like this:
If you have a long product page with a menu of anchor links, it makes sense to introduce a ‘Reviews’ link in the navigation bar, taking the user directly to the embedded reviews section.
However, if you have several pages showcasing the product within a microsite, you might want to link to a separate, dedicated reviews page.
No two companies are the same, no two websites are the same – so don’t feel like you need to slap some cookie-cutter reviews solution on the page. Follow these rules (and use your own creativity) and you’ll be rewarded by your customers.