Incentivised reviews skew ratings (but work fantastically well) says report
“Incentivised Reviews” on Amazon are where the review receives a product for free (or at a highly discounted price) in return for promising to leave a review for the product.
Obviously the retailer is hoping for positive reviews, and now research which looked at over 7,000,000 products has discovered just how big a difference incentivised reviews can make.
It’s worth saying that ReviewMeta who carried out the research don’t appear to be the slightest bit in favour of incentivised reviews concluding “We understand that Amazon is a publicly traded, for-profit corporation. Their goal is to maximize revenue, and loads of positive reviews help support that goal. However, at a certain point you start losing respect and trust from your customers, and it seems we’re about to hit that point“.
So not everyone is in favour, but if you don’t use reviews are you missing out? ReviewMeta discovered that non-Incentivised reviews have a 4.36 average rating, but incentivized reviews average out at 4.74. That might not sound like a significant difference until you realise a 4.36 rating would place your product around the middle (54th percentile) but a 4.74 rating rockets your product up to the top (94th percentile) in terms of the most popular products on Amazon. If you want a top rated product then incentivised reviews are without a doubt the way to go.
Interesting the behaviour extends beyond incentivised reviews, on average, reviewers who have written at least one incentivized review give an average of 4.56 stars, while reviewers who have never written any incentivized reviews give an average of 4.27 stars. It would appear likely that understanding retailers want positive reviews reduces the likelihood of leaving a bad review in the future even when no incentive was offered. Always ask for reviews from any repeat customers that have left you an incentivised review in the past as it’s probably going to be above average!
Incentivised reviews must contain a disclaimer according to Amazon’s rules, but the reality is that whilst consumers might discount individual reviews, they can’t split them out from the overall review star ratings for a product.
The number of incentivised reviews on Amazon is growing at an ever increasing rate and according to RevewMeta make up the majority of all new reviews on Amazon. Retailers using incentivised reviews are getting their products to the top of the review ratings so until Amazon change the rules using a review service such as AmzReviewTrader, HonestFew, ILoveToReview or ReviewKick appears to be the way to go.