Report: Google beats Amazon for product-search reach, but rival sees greater loyalty

Another survey has highlighted Amazon’s outsized role in shopping and product discovery. This one comes from performance marketing platform Kenshoo.

The company commissioned a survey of 3,100 consumers in the US, the UK, Germany and France. The survey findings echo others before it that show Amazon is either the starting point for product research or plays a prominent role in the customer purchase process.

According to the survey, more people across these markets actually use Google in shopping and product discovery, however, Amazon is consulted by 56 percent as their starting point. That’s the highest percentage I’ve seen to date.

The numbers were fairly consistent across markets. However, in the US, Facebook played a larger role than in the other countries, with 36 percent saying they use it before making a purchase. Bing, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs and Twitter were also consulted by shoppers in smaller numbers.

The survey found that 26 percent check Amazon in retail stores. This “showrooming” behavior is not a new finding, but it’s a significant figure. Perhaps more striking than any of the above were the following, however:

22 percent “won’t look anywhere else if they see a product that looks suitable on Amazon.”51 percent say that “even if they find something that seems right on another site, they will usually look on Amazon to find alternative ideas, compare prices or gather more information before making a purchase.”

These numbers show consumer loyalty and the gravitational pull that Amazon has during the purchase process. And while the data show there are multiple consumer touch points and shopping tools, for a growing number of people, Amazon has become the Alpha and Omega of product search.

Google Shopping gets top spot impression share & product diagnostics reporting

Each year, Google rolls out several new features ahead of the holidays for retail advertisers. This year’s updates have started coming out.

The company introduced a new metric and new reporting for Shopping campaign advertisers — only in the new AdWords interface.

The new metric, called absolute top impression share, reports how often Shopping ads and Local Inventory ads appear in the first spot on mobile and desktop. Google says that during Q4 last year, the first Shopping ad on mobile saw up to three times more engagement than the other spots.

On the Products page, a new diagnostics report lets advertisers dig deeper into product status issues in AdWords.

These features can be added to the list of features exclusive to the new AdWords interface — what Google calls the new AdWords experience — that’s rolling out to advertisers through this year.

Google says it will offer antitrust remedy to EU to avoid further penalties

Google parent Alphabet is preparing to comply with EU regulators’ demand that it no longer “favor its own content” in shopping search results. Google must propose a solution that will offer “equal treatment” to Google’s shopping rivals by Tuesday at midnight.

In June, Google received a long-anticipated antitrust fine of EUR 2.4 billion (now $2.9 billion). The European Commission gave the company until September 28 to discontinue its alleged anti-competitive practices. Google’s indication that it will comply suggests it has declined to challenge the Commission’s decision in court.

Failing to meet the Tuesday deadline would expose Alphabet to additional fines, which could amount to millions of dollars per day. The question is: what will Google’s proposal look like? Will it affect shopping-related ad placement in search results? It’s not clear to me whether ads will be impacted.

Before current European Commission head Margrethe Vestager took office in late 2014 and adopted a more aggressive approach toward antitrust, Google was on the cusp of settlement with former European Commission competition chief Joaquín Almunia.

However, Almunia was unable to sell any of several Google proposals to colleagues and European politicians. Those proposals included modification of search results to make competitive offerings more prominent. A formal Statement of Objections was filed in April 2015 which stated the following:

Google systematically positions and prominently displays its comparison shopping service in its general search results pages, irrespective of its merits.Google does not apply to its own comparison shopping service the system of penalties which it applies to other comparison shopping services on the basis of defined parameters, and which can lead to the lowering of the rank in which they appear in Google’s general search results pages.As a result of Google’s systematic favouring of its subsequent comparison shopping services, Google Product Search and Google Shopping, both experienced higher rates of growth, to the detriment of rival comparison shopping services.

Any proposed remedy will need to address these considerations, among others. Accordingly, Google may need to remove any results at the top of search results that points to Google Shopping or other Google-hosted content. Addressing this in a mobile context could bring the unwelcome return of “10 blue links.”

On the desktop, Google could use the right column for display of Google Shopping ads or content. It could also take a native advertising approach and put third-party content at the top of the page, moving Google Shopping results and ads down the page, which could also be done in mobile.

Shopping search is the first of multiple antitrust cases that Google faces, including potentially other “vertical search” categories (e.g., Travel, Maps/Local). Other active cases involve exclusivity provisions in Google AdWords agreements and Android-OEM contracts.

Google debuts giant new look for Local Inventory Ad product search in Knowledge Panels

Last May, Google introduced the ability to find out if a local retailer had specific products in stock right from the knowledge panel listing for the retailer. Now, it’s dedicating a whole lot more real estate to the feature.

Glenn Gabe, digital marketing consultant at G-Squared Interactive, tweeted a look at the update. Below are a couple of examples. It’s available on both mobile and desktop and goes well beyond the simple “Search items at this store link” that Google originally showed. A large section includes a search box, product category links and large product listings. On mobile, users can swipe through a carousel of product listings.

The feature is part of the Local Inventory Ads product, which enables retailers to promote products available in their locations via inventory feeds submitted to Google. The links and search results lead to Google Shopping pages.

Google is also running a test to show relevant text ads in knowledge panel listings for local businesses.

Nailing down ads for the holiday season

Believe it or not, it’s that time again for us to start gearing up for the holidays. Not every brand sufficiently prepares their paid media campaigns for this fast-paced season — and for e-commerce brands, this is especially crucial.

Getting ahead of the competitive holiday season is a recurring obstacle. To start off on the right foot, you need to centralize your merchant feed, plan on making foundational optimizations, analyze your historical and competitor promotions, but most importantly, diversify your paid media shopping mix.

By creating diversification within your paid media shopping campaigns, you will positively impact your holiday ROI and set up a framework for future e-commerce growth.

Consider the following paid media tactics to be more effective and successful as an online retailer.

Capturing demand through PLAs and Google Shopping

Google Shopping or product listing ads (PLAs) are sizzling hot, especially while we prepare for the holiday season. Ever since PLAs gained popularity in 2011, they’ve evolved to be prominent within search results and have taken a larger chunk of traffic away from the traditional text search ads.

For our e-commerce clients, we adjust their budget and focus at the product level. Focus at the product level typically means aligning to long-tail queries, making inclusion and optimization of all product attributes important for visibility. This allows us to display the most relevant product to the searcher across an array of search modifiers. For instance, we can reach users searching for a kitchen knife set, a paring knife or a black Wusthof 7-inch Santoku Hollow-Edge.

As discussed in my most recent Search Engine Land post, PLAs put product imagery, titles, pricing and other in-depth details directly in front of eager shoppers. Looking for a black leather jacket? With just a couple of keystrokes, Google will present a full range of product listing ads to aid your decision-making.

Rather than just bidding at the keyword level, Google Shopping enables marketers to focus on the products instead. They can rely on Google’s algorithm to display their products to the correct users. It’s up to you to ensure your merchant feed is up to date with product descriptions and pricing to ensure your PLA campaign has an increased ROAS (return on ad spend).

Whether an ad is in the overarching “All” search tab or Google’s specific “Shopping” tab, PLAs are effective because they connect buyers to sellers directly. We recently implemented a quick-paced shopping campaign for just under two months and saw a direct impact on online conversions and revenue. The campaign resulted in over 535 online transactions with over $11K shopping revenue — increasing the year-over-year direct revenue by 89 percent.

Google Shopping is one of the best ways to reach new buyers. In 2015, Think With Google released a report that stated 50 percent of shoppers are interested in buying from new retailers. Now is the time to start pulling together your merchant feed, develop your PLA strategy and see an increase in your conversions.

Testing Amazon search and sponsored product capabilities

With over 50 percent of product searches beginning on Amazon, they’ve recently pursued other revenue streams with impressive growth. However, many brands have yet to take full advantage of Amazon’s core strength: their product listings and online conversions.

Since launching in 1994, Amazon improved its e-commerce platform and ad programs with reporting and sponsored products. This allows brands to access relevant data and optimize ROAS for ad campaigns.

Online shoppers try to get the most information in the shortest amount of time. That’s why Amazon built its system with reviews, search results pages and paid media capabilities for brands. At ZOG Digital, we took to Amazon and executed many sponsored product campaigns that saw a direct influence on return on Amazon PPC budget and total conversions. The various sponsored product campaigns resulted in a ROAS of nearly 800 percent.

The latter capability is the most important — Amazon has become a very competitive atmosphere for online retailers, and as marketers optimize their product listings, Amazon PPC can surely help to increase brand’s visibility and sales online.

Incrementality with dynamic display

Google, Amazon and social media steal the e-commerce spotlight. With such a large percentage of product-related searches happening on specific retailers sites, it’s imperative to use third parties to get more specific.

[Read the full article on Marketing Land.]

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

It's time to embrace new strategies for apparel: Broadening tactics through user intent

With more data on purchase intent, consumers, advertising methods and the shift from big-box retailers to online stores, the apparel industry has seen a massive shift in its advertising structure over the past few years. More powerful marketing technology and a more competitive market have forced the industry through its most profound transformation since the industrial revolution.

Google regularly changes their search result types based upon user intent, allowing them to home in on what people need in certain verticals. A search engine results page (SERP) may display videos, related articles or answer boxes based on the user’s presumed intent. That means apparel retailers need to expand and optimize their content offerings based on SERP displays for their target keywords.

Furthermore, advertising and marketing are no longer solely about conversions — apparel brands are also setting goals and measuring success in terms of how well they appeal to, interact with and engage returning and new consumers. To stay relevant in today’s apparel industry, it’s essential for brands to embrace new marketing methods and measurements.

The apparel vertical’s competitive landscape continues to increase with new brands, shifting search trends, and of course, the increase of online conversions versus in-store sales. By leveraging the reach of new digital methods and different devices, apparel brands can improve user engagement in ways that go beyond the simple click to purchase.

Have a relatable voice

Brands must engage their core audience members by relating to them through personalized content. By understanding their users, brands can create a content strategy that aligns with their SEO and social media goals.

While conveying their relatable tone of voice and personality through content, brands must also use key insights from purchase data, audience data, and even seasonality to appeal to people. For instance, Nordstrom has mastered tailoring content around important events and seasonality. This includes events like prom, wedding season, seasonal work attire and swimwear for different occasions.

When searching for the query of “wedding guest,” Google understands my user intent: finding something to wear for a friend’s wedding. Nordstrom ranks highly in the SERP, as they have formatted their online content and optimized it with the user intent in mind.

On Facebook, Nordstrom leads the discussion for work attire and the newest wedding looks. They’re simple and sleek throughout imagery, post copy and the links provided that clearly result in engagement, visibility, word-of-mouth, and even conversions. It’s no wonder the brand’s millennial mindset has paved the way for their future.

Content that’s written for the purchase intent prevails with this strategy. The key is to focus on what the consumers want to interact with.

For another example, take the online male apparel brand, Chubbies. This brand is extremely niche, selling mostly shorts and swim trunks for men. The brand has developed a distinct voice and culture for all its digital channels with a unified brand image.

Find your influence

Marketers know that people trust people more than they trust brands. Developing and implementing an influencer campaign exposes your brand to new audiences that are more likely to enjoy your products. It’s also a chance to harness relationships that may have not derived from more traditional methods of digital marketing.

For example, this BlackMilk Clothing influencer taps into her own social circles and followers to share her favorite items. She answers user questions and spreads word of the brand to new audiences.

At ZOG Digital, we’ve seen a targeted increase in followers when employing this strategy. By working closely with niche fashion influencers for blogging and social media efforts, we directly saw over 300 percent increase in average engagement rate on Facebook only and over 520 percent increase in new followers on Instagram.

And influencers are not just for social media; many influencers run their own blogs on top of social media platforms. When influencers develop new blog content featuring or linking to your brand, it can have a direct impact on the visibility of your brand in SERPs.

Brands should vary how they communicate with (potential) customers, pushing content across their own web properties and those of influencers. With their now expanded media metrics, the outcomes can all be connected and work toward a specific brand goal, like visibility, increase of engagement or followers and simple brand awareness.

Take online shopping to specific products

While many brands recognize the power behind traditional search ads and Facebook ads, they still have not expanded into or experimented with Shopping ads.

Shopping ads, also known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs), appear at the top of Google mobile search results and in the right rail on Google desktop search results. They’re more than a simple text ad — there’s a visual aspect as well. These ads show users a photo of your product, a title, price, store name, color and size. And if that’s not enough, ad extensions can help you add more detail to your Shopping ads.

Brands that use Shopping ads to promote their inventory have often seen improved website and in-store traffic. These ads can also nurture leads who may be thinking about purchasing a product. We’ve seen significant success within apparel brands utilizing Shopping ads with tailored strategies encompassing different product categories.

When implementing a shopping campaign as a part of our client’s paid strategy, we saw a direct impact on the total site conversions and traffic. During the first month of the new Shopping campaign, the client saw nearly 5,000 conversions, with the Shopping ads playing an essential role in 40 percent of those conversions. Since the campaign’s implementation, the client has seen year-over-year growth in direct traffic revenue of 90 percent, with Shopping ads assisting overall site revenue by over 50 percent.

Final thoughts

It’s time for apparel brands to evolve their strategies and measurement beyond just conversions. Rather than rest on your laurels, take these digital marketing tactics for a test drive and see if they work for your audience.

It’s imperative to test content strategies, influencer marketing, shopping ads and other approaches. Otherwise, you’ll be left behind in the heat of competition — optimizing and hoping for conversions, rather than embracing and accepting the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing.

[This article first appeared on Marketing Land.]

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Amazon's Echo Show is a '1.0' device, both exciting and frustrating

I’ve now been living with the Echo Show for several weeks. It has supplanted my original Amazon Echo in the kitchen. I find it both more exciting and more frustrating than the original.

The screen adds a compelling new element but creates expectations that are not fully realized — as though Amazon is ambivalent or uncertain how far to take the screen as a parallel way of controlling and navigating content.

The screen makes things more complicated, even as it makes the device more interesting and useful. It opens a door to a much larger set of use cases, including a much more obvious commerce opportunity. (It’s not clear whether Amazon’s rivals will follow and add screens to their devices. If the Show is a runaway hit, I suspect they will.)

Creates tablet-like expectations

Immediately for me, the Echo Show’s screen created UX expectations associated with a tablet. I wanted to touch it and get menus and navigation. I wanted to browse and search for things using the screen. I wanted to see lists of available Skills.

With a couple of exceptions, you can’t do any of these things. Some consider this design restraint, but I wanted the screen to do more and operate more intuitively. Ultimately, Amazon will have to determine how far it wants to enable screen-first (as opposed to voice-first) experiences for the Show.

For example, you can say, “Show me what you can do.” The device then produces a list on screen: set an alarm, show Prime TV shows, find songs by Lisa Loeb and so on. But none of the items on this list are touchable or clickable. You can’t touch “Prime TV” and access a menu of available shows. You have to query the device by voice: “Alexa, show me Transparent from Amazon Prime Video.”

I think the Show should be more agnostic about how users get to content. I suspect that as Amazon sees how people engage with it, over time the screen’s capabilities and functionality will grow.

Design is basic, sound is better than Echo

Some have found the “trapezoidal” design of the Show uninspired. I’m not bothered by it, although it is utilitarian (and eerily evocative of Orwellian “Telescreens” from “1984”). The sound quality on the Echo Show is better than the original Echo. Thus, if you were to buy only one Alexa device, the Show would be my recommendation.

But the Show costs $230, while the Echo is $179 and the Dot is $49. As recent survey data from NPR and Edison research revealed, many people who’ve declined to purchase a “smart speaker” are holding back because of cost. Amazon has wisely diversified its lineup to offer a range of price points and capabilities accordingly.

The Echo Show screen also enables Amazon to more effectively prompt and educate users about its capabilities and what’s new. This is a huge advantage over the conventional Echo, which relies on weekly email updates, which I don’t read, to inform users of new Skills or capabilities.

Yet there appears to be no way to turn off the home screen messages. It’s pretty clear that Amazon is laying the groundwork for “offers” or ads, should the company go down that path. Indeed, it may eventually offer a subsidized Show “with special offers” and a more expensive one without, as it does with other devices it sells.

Right now there are almost no Skills adapted for the screen. That will probably change quickly; in fact, Brightcove just launched a program to help developers bring video to their Skills for the new device. It’s hard to overstate the nature of the visual opportunity for developers and brands on the Show.

A big new commerce opportunity

Travel and commerce apps, for example, will benefit from the ability to visually present multiple options to end users, which will soon drive transactions. You can scroll, for example, through multiple Amazon products or nearby businesses featuring Yelp ratings. Even in their embryonic form, these changes represent a dramatic upgrade vs. the voice-only Alexa devices. And should Amazon eventually allow it, developers could insert ads into their Skills.

The video-calling feature works well, provided the other party has the Alexa app on a device or another Show. Hopefully video calling will integrate with third-party apps and services. Amazon would be wise to allow that to happen.

As an illustration of how different the Echo and Show are, here’s a non-exhaustive list of things you can do with Echo Show because of the screen:

Watch movie trailers.Watch full-length TV shows and movies from Amazon Prime Video.Watch YouTube videos.Make video calls.Scroll through a list of Amazon products with images and details.See song lyrics as music plays.See timers countdown.See a list of nearby restaurants or businesses and their Yelp ratings.

The Show is a compelling, albeit imperfect, addition to the Alexa device lineup. I would just like to see Amazon more fully embrace the screen — perhaps not turn it into a full-blown tablet, but something more touch-friendly than it is today.

Report: 43% of millennials have made a voice-device purchase in past year

Alexander Supertramp / Shutterstock.com

According to a new “Future of Retail” report from Walker Sands, 19 percent of consumers have made a purchase using a voice-controlled device in the past 12 months. The numbers go way up, however, for millennials, with 37 percent reporting “they ‘always’ or ‘often’ shop online via voice-controlled devices.” Among this group, 43 percent made a purchase using voice in the past year.

The data are based on a recent US consumer survey of just over 1,600 adults and can be interpreted in bullish or bearish ways for voice. More than 80 percent of the overall survey population said they had not made a voice-driven purchase and nearly half (48 percent) said they were “not at all likely” to do so.

Source: Walker Sands Future of Retail report (July 2017)

Security, privacy, “lack of visuals” and uncertainty about price/payment were the top four reasons that people were hesitant to buy on voice-first devices or devices without a screen. Of course, the Amazon Echo Show (with a screen) potentially addresses all those issues; however, the survey was conducted before the Show had shipped.

The survey asked about voice-device ownership. According to the findings, 16 percent said they owned an Echo, 6 percent owned a Google Home, and 2 percent had “more than one” (though not necessarily both). Perhaps most interesting is the finding that 20 percent said they planned to purchase one of these devices in the coming year.

Source: Walker Sands Future of Retail report (July 2017)

The numbers above should probably not be extrapolated to the entire US population. If we were to do so, it would suggest that there are more than 50 million owners of these smart speaker/virtual assistants in the US today. However, the numbers are closer to 20 million (or so), according to various third-party estimates.

Kayak adds hotel reservations by voice

Separately today, Kayak announced the ability to book a room through Alexa, which points to the future of shopping and purchasing through voice assistants.

Once users invoke the Kayak skill on Alexa devices (“Alexa ask Kayak . . .”), it walks you through a dialog wizard about location, dates, ratings and pricing. It can only discuss one hotel at a time and is best right now for booking specific hotels, rather than choosing a hotel from among many. Users must also link their Kayak accounts with a credit card to finalize the transaction.

Nonetheless, it points to a rapidly approaching future where transactions are a routine part of using voice assistants.

Why one e-commerce company is going all-in on AMP (Hint: conversions)

Initially the domain of publishers, Google is steadily nudging commercial site owners and advertisers to embrace AMP. A new AdWords beta lets advertisers point their mobile search ads to AMP-enabled pages. Ebay was the first major non-news site to deploy AMP widely in a production setting, and other early adopters are getting on board despite the fact that there are still holes in AMP-supported capabilities. Here’s a look at how one company’s head start quickly convinced them to go all-in on AMP.

Early adopters

Event Tickets Center sells concert and sporting event tickets online. Three-quarters of its traffic and a majority of sales come from mobile. Several years ago, the team, headed by brothers Adam and Jesse Young, had been ahead of the curve in moving to a responsive mobile site. They quickly jumped at building out AMP landing pages last year despite the lack of support for e-commerce functionality — no support for forms, tracking and on-page elements like search.

Shortly after the team had some AMP landing pages up, they started testing it for PPC. The analytics weren’t good enough to give them solid insights, but they felt they were on to something. The company developed a kind of hack to keep users unified as they go from AMP to non-AMP pages, which gave them much better visibility into AMP performance. (Google is actively working on a fix to unify user IDs for visits to publisher domains in Analytics.)

Encouraged by the initial performance of AMP landing pages, a couple of months ago, Event Tickets Center decided to focus on building an immersive AMP experience to keep users in the AMP environment until they were deep in the funnel on the site, where AMP capabilities fell short.

“Trying just an AMP landing page alone wasn’t good enough because users don’t convert on the landing page,” said Adam Young.

They now are able to keep users in the AMP experience through navigation, search and their events pages. It’s a full AMP experience until users reach the interactive seating chart and checkout.

Early results

In A/B testing the AMP experience versus the responsive experience with AdWords traffic, the team saw a 20 to 30 percent conversion lift on AMP pages across all mobile campaigns.

By mid-May, more than 70 percent of the 100,000 ad groups in their mobile AdWords campaigns pointed only to AMP pages. That’s now at 100 percent.

All Event Tickets Center mobile ads now point to AMP pages.

AMP pages from organic traffic are converting at a 100 percent lift over responsive, says Adam Young, and the bounce rate is 10 points lower.

Event Tickets Center caught the attention of Google’s AMP team, who reached out and offered support. Event Tickets Center was featured in the AMP beta announcement at Google Marketing Next last month.

The team is currently working on “AMPifying” the ticket listing and venue seating page — the site’s slowest and most complex page. They are also working on building AMP for the checkout experience, but those pages are further complicated with having to handle personally identifiable information (PII).

Future predictions

After their experiences over the past year, to say CEO Adam Young is bullish on AMP would be an understatement. “That AMP is a prerequisite for the future is verifiable. It’s going to be the standard delivery method. There are also no security holes that come from putting JavaScript on someone else’s site, for example.”

The team had once made a big investment in building native apps but is backing off those efforts because of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). Young advises others considering PWAs to start with AMP and then “wrap with PWAs” (more on how PWAs and AMP can work together is available in the AMP documentation here).

“Keep it simple, stupid: this is the paradigm shift in our way of thinking,” said Young. “We’re going fully immersed in AMP. It’s difficult because everything needs to simplify.”

Young predicts it’s soon going to be very easy for e-commerce companies to implement AMP. Of Google and the AMP team, Young says, “Their focus is now e-commerce and how they’re going to make money via mobile search ads.” That should mean an acceleration of AMP support for commercial requirements.

Reviews & other UGC more influential for consumers than search engines & ads [Study]

It’s well-established that ratings and reviews are widely consulted and have a significant impact on consumer purchase decisions. A new study from TurnTo affirms this and provides some additional color and nuance for the discussion.

Called “Hearing the Voice of the Consumer” and conducted by Ipsos, the study involved 1,070 US consumers who had bought something online in the past 12 months. User-generated content (UGC) is defined here to include ratings, reviews, photos, videos, social posts and Q&A participation. The most common forms were reviews and ratings, however, with 71 percent and 69 percent of survey respondents saying they’ve submitted those types of UGC.

Online ratings and reviews are a form of word of mouth, which is the most trusted source consumers consult before buying. Indeed, 90 percent of survey respondents said UGC had at least some influence over their online purchases. Roughly 53 percent rated it “extremely influential” or “very influential,” a higher percentage than for any other category. After UGC, search engines had the greatest influence over purchases.

UGC helps increase consumer confidence to buy online. “Increases my purchasing confidence” was cited as the greatest influence of UGC. Close behind was “improves customer feedback.” But survey respondents also said that UGC helped create “more authentic shopping experiences” and was more interesting than content generated by brands themselves.

In one of the more interesting findings, consumers said they were inclined to spend more on a product with UGC vs. a comparable lower-priced product without. This directly argues that consumers will buy more and at higher price levels if products are wrapped in UGC.

A subset of consumers generate most of the UGC, though it is consumed by the larger online audience. In this case, 32 percent of survey participants said they had not contributed any UGC — because there was “no incentive to contribute.”

Yelp in particular has a very public policy against incentivized reviews. Others prohibit explicitly paying for reviews but often allow those that are incentivized through contests or sweepstakes.

The second most commonly cited reason for not submitting UGC was that it was “too time-consuming.” Survey respondents likely had reviews in mind in that response.

A separate survey from GetFiveStars found that since 2014, “the willingness of consumers to leave reviews has dramatically increased … across all age groups.”

Another surprise from the TurnTo survey was the degree to which UGC was still largely coming from the PC, which showed a substantial lead compared with mobile devices. The gap between PCs and mobile devices was less pronounced for photos and social.

Each of these responses, and many others that I don’t address here, are discussed in more detail and broken out by gender and age in the report.

TurnTo sells a platform that helps retailers and brands generate UGC. Despite this, I believe the primary conclusion of the study — that ratings, reviews and other UGC are more influential than advertising — is valid. That argues for greater investment in the customer experience.