Online Reputation Management Trends for 2018
Yes, it’s that time of the year again.
It seems like every January it’s time to pull out the crystal ball. Dust off our armchair analysis. Prognostic about the future. That’s right, it’s tips and trends season. The time when entrepreneurs, executives, and everyone in between spouts off about what they think we’ll see in 2018.
At RepCheckup, we’re no different. As experts in online reputation and review management, we always kickoff the new year and get settled into our efforts by first discussing the trends influencing our industry. It’s the best way to make sure we’re delivering the best reputation management strategies and solutions.
Let’s take a look at the trends driving the importance and influence of online reviews.
10 Online Reputation Management Trends to Watch in 2018
- Online reviews are influencing customer and patient decision making now more than ever. There were several research reports release in 2017 that pointed to the ever increasing influence of online reviews. The interesting thing is this held true across industry and demographics. This is no surprise and is part of a continuing trend that should be highlighted multiple times again in 2018.
- Online reputation management hits main street. It’s no long early adopters or fast-followers who are implementing online reputation management programs using online review management software solutions. Organizations of all shapes and sizes are finally coming around to making the proper investments to ensure that offline realities are properly reflected in their online ratings and reviews.
- Google changes continue to increase the visibility of online ratings and reviews in search results. Search giant Google made several changes to the way they display reviews within their search results and how they factor reviews into their ranking algorithm. For locally focused businesses, your Google My Business reviews are now the #1 influence on your local and maps search rankings.
- Growing number of fake reviews threaten to devalue online reviews in eyes of consumers. In any game, there will be those who will break the rules. In 2017, there was no slowing that down. Especially when it came to online reviews. Numerous outlets have pointed out the problem, but the industry has been slow to respond. This threatens to affect the way consumers and patients view online reviews in 2018 and beyond.
- Online review websites continue to crackdown on incentivized or paid reviews from users. While their responses have not been overwhelming (nor have stopped the rise of fake reviews), online review websites continued to crackdown on incentivized and paid reviews. With the authenticity of reviews paramount to their value, this is something that will continue, and hopefully improve, in 2018.
- Legal decisions involving online review disputes continue to favor the consumer. Despite experts like us continually telling organizations NOT to take legal actions against customers, ex-employees, and others who leave negative reviews, organizations continued to do so. From clauses in their terms of service prevent customers from leaving public reviews, to flat out suing them in court, it doesn’t seem like organizations are ready for a full embrace. The fight will continue on in 2018.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) comes under attack as the magical number. The once magical number, embraced by everyone from marketers to Fortune 500 CEOs, started to lose some of its ta-da in 2017. A number of articles, critical of the calculation, and the validity of it as a measure of business improvement, started the conversation about NPS’ ultimate utility. Expect more chatter, and more people looking elsewhere for their magic, in 2018.
- New online rating and review websites continue to pop-up in every niche imaginable. As the popularity of online reviews continues to rise, the number of online rating and review websites continues to increase. 2017 brought dozens of new online rating and review websites that span a wide variety of industries. Unless consumers stop valuing online reviews, expect more of these types of websites pop-up in 2018.
- Use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to gain more understanding from online reviews. It’s no longer enough to simply have a good score. Online reputation management is moving quickly towards using online rating and reviews as data points to better understand customer experience, operations, and even create new products. One only has to look towards Wall Street’s use of AI and machine learning to predict the earnings and stock price of Chipotle, as an example of what to come in 2018 and beyond.
- There’s no shortage of online reputation management solutions on the market. As an area that continues to grow in influence and importance, the number of tools, like RepCheckup, available to organizations, continues to increase. Unless there’s radical change, 2018 should bring us many new solutions and tools. This is good for the industry, and the organizations we serve.
Obviously, online reputation management should be an important part of your internet marketing mix in 2018. If you haven’t yet implemented an online reputation management program, there’s no better time than now. As you can see by the 10 trends above, there seems to be no end to the growing influence of online reviews on your business.