Study Reinforces How Consumer-Written Online Reviews Impact Leads

WALTHAM, Mass. - 

A recent study from DealerRater and Dataium confirmed that positive online reviews that provide employee-specific information drive website traffic and leads to dealers.

The study showed that DealerRater users were 90 percent more likely to visit a dealer website and 5.3 times more likely to convert to a lead when that dealer had a positive overall rating of 3.5 stars or higher.

Users reacted even stronger to review profiles that provided expanded information through DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program. In particular, users were 12.1 times more likely to submit a lead to dealers that featured employee pages on their DealerRater review profiles.

Employee pages, available to participants in DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program, allow a dealer’s customers to write reviews for individual dealer employees and feature specific information on the individual employee, such as an employee bio, photo and video greeting.

“The study validates what we’ve advised dealers on for years. Dealer reviews have a clear impact on the behavior of today’s auto shoppers. And the fact that auto shoppers are more engaged with the employee pages available from Certified Dealer profiles reveals that consumers are looking for more transparency as they research dealers,” DealerRater chief executive officer Gary Tucker said.

“When comparing multiple car dealerships, they’re looking for detailed reviews that provide a clear idea of what to expect from the car buying process,” he continued.

Tucker emphasized the study further illustrates the high value generated by DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program, finding that participating dealers were able to attract, engage and convert more shoppers into leads than non-certified dealers.

DealerRater users were 50 percent more likely to visit a Certified Dealer website, as well as spend 80 percent more time on-site, than a non-certified dealer website. Moreover, Certified Dealers showed an 8.8 times higher lead conversion for new vehicles and a 10.8 times higher lead conversion for used vehicles than non-certified dealers.

Dataium chief development officer Eric Brown further explained what he believes the study findings show.

“Online reviews have already helped consumers in the car buying process, but now we’re looking at the other side of the relationship by showing how dealers can benefit from reviews,” Brown said. “The numbers speak for themselves: dealers that provide great customer service are receiving positive online reviews that, in turn, attract and convert more shoppers.”

Brown and Tucker also pointed out the findings were corroborated by John Osinga, IT/Web manager of London City Chrysler, a DealerRater Certified Dealer located in London, Ontario.

“We have focused heavily on leveraging DealerRater reviews over the years and it has paid off,” Osinga said. “We are seeing more referral website traffic now than we ever have before thanks to our online reviews. In addition, visitors are spending more time and viewing more pages on our site.”

The study is based on Dataium’s comparative analysis of dealership website traffic and DealerRater review profiles for more than 1,000 dealers. Dealers interested in learning more about the study or how an online reputation can be leveraged to drive sales can visit www.dealerrater.com/dealer.aspx.

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