For positive reviews, stars are not enough: customers need long texts
Recent posts on our blog clearly suggest that the more reviews you have, the better for your business. You may have been pleased to discover that your products are actually running in the high numbers in terms of reviews. Well done. But there's another factor to consider. And that's review length. We recommend to our clients that each review should be at least 250 characters long. And how do the customers themselves feel about this? Take inspiration from the results of an extensive survey that revealed how buyers prefer texts to be long.
Review length is the second most important factor after content
68 %1 of customers specifically look for long reviews while shopping. The vast majority do so at least occasionally. Long reviews are the only way to find out everything they need to know. It's not enough to just say "great", "I recommend" or the very common and unremarkable "it was a gift". They need to go into all the details and find confirmation in the reviews that they will not go wrong with their purchase.
It should therefore come as no surprise that only 12% of people2 are satisfied with abstracts and summaries, which most sellers use to shorten their work and the vast majority always prefer to click through to the full text. And it is these honest readers who subsequently spend the most because they know they can rely on the product.
How long exactly should the reviews be?
A new analysis3 shows that it is unnecessary to limit oneself to a specific number. For example, reviews of 250 characters or more will already satisfy most buyers and create the impression of a stable brand with proven products. But this figure is best taken as a lower minimum. The effect only increases as the length increases, and with 500 characters or more, you are up to 200% more likely to find what the customer needs in the text and make a purchase.
And how does the length of reviews affect SEO?
Definitely positively. The longer the text is, the more likely it will contain all relevant keywords, both in short tail and long tail form. In simpler terms, when a customer is more descriptive, they're more likely to mention all the relevant keywords that they and others use in search, which can directly impact the visibility of texts to Google bots.
4 tips to get the longest reviews from customers
Customers love to read reviews, but they're worse at writing them. Luckily, there are a few proven strategies that will get them to write more:
- Add a character counter to the review submission form. The customer will receive feedback as they type and it will hit them that just a few characters is not enough. You can also add interactive elements such as information about how long the last review was written by the customer, or what the average length is in general. In short, anything that makes the tester think and add a few extra sentences.
- Help the testers by structuring the form appropriately. A blank window looks scary, and not everyone can write spontaneously. So rather structure the form with a few specific questions (What did you like? What didn't you like? Did you find X useful?) that are easy to answer. This will make the evaluation a more mechanical matter. You can then just put the answers to the individual questions together and get one compact and information-packed long text.
- Feel free to reward long reviews. All you need is loyalty points, a discount, a tester or even the opportunity to have early access to new products.
- Remind testers that reviews help everyone. For most people, the opportunity to help someone is motivating, even if it's just a small improvement to your product. If you explain to them that this is exactly what they'll achieve if they write more in their review, reviews will just come rushing in.
- Do the testing. If you're craving a bunch of good, juicy reviews, let's take a look together at how we can help you do just that.