Customer reviews are more powerful and influential over buying decisions than ever before. In fact, up to 97% of consumers now say they regularly read online reviews when they encounter a new business. But it’s not just the quality and overall star ratings that matter these days to customers. The majority read at least ten reviews before they feel comfortable enough to make a purchase.
This means that gathering positive online customer reviews is super important for brands to stay competitive and convert customers. Using an online review system can help you collect more feedback from your customers and use it strategically throughout your online touchpoints. Plus, these tools help to protect your brand from fake reviews and build a more authentic brand reputation.
Today, we are going to discuss two popular review platforms on the market today: Trustpilot and Reviews.io. Both of these online tools allow businesses to collect reviews, and both are regarded as effective brand management platforms.
If you have been considering using one of these tools for your business, there are some features that you need to be aware of.
First of all, let’s discuss the non-negotiables.
Absolutely Necessary Features:
Google Review Partners
Customer reviews can be an integral part of a strong SEO strategy – as Google uses this feedback as a signal for your business’s trustworthiness. According to a study conducted by Moz, reviews make up over 15% of a site’s ranking factor. Google also weighs in the quantity, velocity, and diversity of these reviews; not just the fact that they exist on a website.
Therefore, you will want to make sure that the review management tool you use is a verified Google Review Partner. This means that Google acknowledges that the feedback is credible and genuine. It also means that your reviews are automatically optimized for Google Seller Ratings, Rich Snippets, and Product Reviews for better paid and organic search results.
Trustpilot: One of the hallmarks of this platform is its commitment to transparency and authenticity. Trustpilot does not allow businesses to change, edit, or delete negative feedback if it is proven to be genuine, though safeguards for business are in place if they suspect a review to be fraudulent, spam, or otherwise non-compliant with Trustpilot’s terms. Trustpilot offers verified reviews through its AFS – or Automated Feedback Service. It also allows customers to leave reviews organically, even if they are not invited by the business to do so. This ensures everyone gets a say, as Trustpilot prides itself on being a platform that’s free and open to all. Trustpilot also enforces a compliance procedure to make sure that businesses are following the proper protocols. Due to these high standards, Trustpilot is regarded as a reliable source for authentic reviews by Google and is a verified review partner.
Reviews.io: This platform is also a certified Google Review Partner. Reviews.io only allows verified customers to leave feedback through an e-mail invitation.
While both of these platforms are verified Google Review Partners, truly authentic feedback occurs when everyone is allowed to leave a review – something that Trustpilot allows and Reviews.io does not. Though feedback gathered from either of these platforms will technically be considered credible in Google’s eyes, an open platform will allow you to gather more reviews, and the unbiased nature will fare well on the search engines as well as how users perceive your business.
Social Media Integrations
Social media has become an incredibly important part of the purchasing process for customers these days – especially younger ones. 38% of consumers use social media as their primary channel for researching businesses and learning about new products, but over half of Millennials report using social platforms for brand discovery.
This means that your social pages are a perfect place for integrating customer reviews. Some sites, like Facebook, allow you to include your overall star rating, but you can also use reviews to create user-generated marketing content to share with your followers.
Trustpilot: This platform makes it incredibly easy to transfer real reviews onto your social profiles. It even offers an image generator for unique visual effects that can be personalized with product photos or UGC content. Businesses can also share their TrustScore on social media to give customers a quick summary of the reviews and overall rating.
Reviews.io: Although it doesn’t offer an image generator like Trustpilot, you can create more basic images to share customer reviews on your business’s Facebook or Twitter page. One bonus feature is that this can be set up for automatic sharing every time your business receives a 4 or 5-star rating.
Trustpilot wins out in this round simply because it is more focused on image-based social reviews, which typically receive higher engagement and better ranking in social media algorithms. Therefore, each post is more likely to be seen by a higher number of customers if it’s showing up in their newsfeeds. Since social media is heavily based on visual appeal, your posts will perform much better if a picture of the product or even a stock photo is included.
As mentioned before, the quality of your reviews matters a lot to Google. In addition to being a verified Google review partner, it is also important to weigh in the additional SEO benefits that each platform offers for optimized ranking features.
Trustpilot: Trustpilot offers some great features that are designed to boost a business’s SERPs rankings. First and foremost is the TrustBox widget that displays the average star rating for the website. This is extremely powerful for SEO because it is indexed by Google and displayed on the search engine results for long tail keywords.
Trustpilot also allows businesses the option to enable Rich Snippets for SEO, which means that popular reviews can potentially show up in organic search results.
It is important to note, however, that Google’s guidelines for Rich Snippets are very strict, so while this feature will certainly help you get Rich Snippet Stars, it does not guarantee it.
Then, there’s simply the fact that Trustpilot is one of the most powerful websites on the Internet. It consistently ranks globally in the Alexa top 500, meaning your business page on Trustpilot is showing up early and often in search results. In organic monthly traffic alone, Trustpilot squashes just about any competitor (and website) out there.
Reviews.io: Again, as a verified Google review partner, Reviews.io’s customer feedback is automatically optimized for Google search results. However, this platform does not offer a specific TrustBox-like feature, although they do offer similar widgets to display reviews directly on a business’s website that are Rich Snippet friendly.
Although both platforms do offer some great SEO benefits, Trustpilot far outranks Reviews.io in terms of domain authority and SEO value. It is one of the premier review programs – with over 250,000 businesses using the platform and 2 million reviews added per month. As an Alexa 500 website, Trustpilot’s traffic numbers and search-ability significantly outrank Reviews.io. Combined with the TrustBox feature to help increase online visibility even further, Trustpilot is the clear winner for this round.
Review Gathering Strategy
Unless a customer had an exceptionally great (or terrible) experience, most of them generally won’t leave a review on their own. However, they are more likely to do so when asked. Using a review management system makes this process a lot easier for both businesses and customers, although the method by which feedback is gathered can have an impact on its authenticity and influence.
Trustpilot: Trustpilot proudly offers an open platform, which means that anyone can leave feedback for a business or product. The purpose of an open platform is to deter companies from picking and choosing who is asked to leave a review – in other words, consumers get a more authentic view of a business and therefore trust the content more. Businesses can create customized review invitation emails that can be automatically sent after purchase, but anyone can access a review page to leave feedback – regardless of an invite.
Although this does mean that a business may receive more negative reviews from frustrated customers, overall, it increases the trustworthiness of a website. Customers are often skeptical when a business has only stellar 5-star ratings, so seeing a mix of reviews actually helps them get a better feel of the customer experience that they can expect.
Reviews.io: Reviews.io uses a different approach with an invite-only option for reviews. Therefore, customers can only leave feedback if a business asks them to. They can even choose to ask a customer to leave a review for a specific product or the company as a whole, and extend the offer to Amazon customers as well. An obvious benefit of this is that it provides companies with more control over who leaves feedback, which can increase the chances of getting better reviews. However, this can lead to cherry-picking and damage a brand’s credibility.
Since trust is such an important part of the purchasing process, it is far better to use a platform that encourages full authenticity. Trustpilot’s open platform ensures that feedback is always genuine – even if it is negative. If you look at the customer reviews of Trustpilot itself, you will see that they set a great example for gathering genuine reviews (both the good and the bad).
However, Reviews.io’s features for asking specifically for certain types of reviews is a great bonus option. But the fact that businesses can choose who they invite means that new customers aren’t getting the full picture, as businesses can simply choose customers they know had a great experience to leave reviews. With the mix of an invite and open platform, Trustpilot gives you the best of both worlds for a well-rounded mix of reviews.
Each platform offers some additional features that (while not entirely essential) are certainly a great advantage.
Multiple User Access
If you are running a larger company or have multiple teams that need access to customer reviews, having a multiple user access option is ideal. That way the sales department can track feedback while the marketing team can also log in and create UGC for marketing purposes.
Trustpilot: You can easily create a Company Profile page on Trustpilot and add multiple user accounts. Each user has full admin rights, which means that they can access all features within the platform. Also worth noting is that you can claim your profile on Trustpilot for free. You do NOT need to pay the company to send a limited number of review invitations and manage your profile.
Reviews.io: The administrator on the main account can create an unlimited number of users for Reviews.io. Unlike Trustpilot, each user account can be customized for limited access.
Winner: It Depends
The option to customize a user account’s permission to make changes within the platform is a huge benefit, especially for a larger company that wants to ensure no mistakes are made. To some, this might give Review.io the edge. However, you need to pay for this service in your monthly dues. With Trustpilot, sending a limited number of invitations is free. So, it’s wise to weigh your options against your unique business requirements before picking a clear winner here.
As we’ve discussed at length, incorporating reviews onto your website’s product pages can be extremely beneficial for SEO.
Trustpilot: Trustpilot can be integrated to the majority of the most popular e-commerce platforms, including Magneto, Shopify, WooCommerce, and Hootsuite.
Reviews.io: Reviews.io is also compatible with some of the top e-commerce platforms. If the ones that your business uses are not listed, you can send in your website’s URL and their IT team will set up the program to ensure that it is integrated properly.
Winner: It Depends. Ultimately, it depends on which platform your business is using since both tools are designed to be automatically integrated with most e-commerce sites.
Pictures and videos often receive the highest level of engagement from customers, and they can be extremely beneficial for reviews. Seeing a picture of how a product looks in real life as compared to the curated photos on the website can make all the difference in a consumer’s decision to purchase.
Trustpilot: Unfortunately, Trustpilot does not currently allow customers to upload their own visual content to a review. However, the product team will be rolling out some new features with a major update that is coming soon.
Reviews.io: Customers are able to upload their own pictures through Reviews.io’s invitation emails. These pictures can then be published directly on the company’s product pages and websites.
Winner: Reviews.io. Obviously, this is a clear advantage for businesses to include genuine UGC visuals to their website.
Although both of these platforms stand head-to-head in terms of their Google Review Partner verification and e-commerce integrations, Trustpilot seems to beat out Reivews.io for several important reasons. Using an invite-only platform can be problematic, so opting for an open platform is a better option for businesses to present genuine feedback. Furthermore, Trustpilot’s SEO features far outweigh Reviews.io, which can be a big deciding factor for companies that are looking to increase their online visibility.
Of course, both tools are excellent options, and one may be better than the other depending on your goals. Be sure to do your own research and contact their respective sales departments for further details. Both platforms do offer free trials to help you determine if it is the best customer review management tool for your team.