Turn Browsers Into Buyers

How reviews can lower your customer acquisition cost

Monday, March 25, 2024

Feeling the sting of a high customer acquisition cost? You’re not alone. A study by SimplicityDX calculated that between 2013 and 2022, the average customer acquisition cost (CAC) increased by 222%.

What’s behind this major jump in cost? Multiple factors have contributed to the increase. One that stood out was the lack of customer engagement due to a crowded market of channels, platforms and competition. Standing out is harder than ever, causing marketers to pump budget into broader campaigns that don’t always produce the desired results.

Getting customer attention without pricey strategies seems impossible for some marketers. But let’s face it: buying decisions are not always purely logical. Emotions drive up to 95% of purchasing decisions, and building trust is the key to unlocking them. 

When customers feel confident and secure in their interactions with a company, they’re more likely to move quickly towards a purchase. They don't need extra time researching or comparing, as trust is a shortcut to decision-making and cheaper customer acquisition.

This doesn't mean the longer consumer decision journey is worthless. Even cautious customers ultimately contribute to your success. However, reducing friction for both segments is key to lowering your average customer acquisition cost. Reviews can help with that. Trustpilot research found that ​​49% of global consumers consider positive reviews among their top three purchase influences. 

With that in mind, we have gathered a few more ways that reviews can boost customer engagement and lower your customer acquisition cost. 

Fuel smarter customer acquisition

Marketing budgets can suffer from ineffective ads and soaring acquisition costs. Traditional marketing is losing its steam with ad blockers and jaded consumers ignoring messaging. Research also shows fewer than 3 in 10 consumers report solid trust towards digital advertising channels. If trust is the issue, then reviews can make a difference.

Agencies and guesswork waste valuable time and money. Reviews are the key to dramatically reducing both metrics. Here’s how:

Unlock customer truth: Analyzing positive reviews to mine for real customer needs, desires, and pain points. This can look like an array of review display tools connected to a dashboard where review data like impressions, position, and click-through rate reveal what drives audiences. It does away with the need for expensive external research services.

Case in point: TaxSlayer, a tax preparation and financial technology company based in Augusta, used to rely on costly agencies for customer insights. With Trustpilot’s Review Insights, they uncovered valuable feedback and social proof to fuel their marketing, ditch the guesswork and save on CAC. 

Compelling ads that convert: These insights also help craft targeted ad copy that speaks directly to customer concerns, using genuine quotes for social proof. This free UGC or user-generated content-driven approach resonates deeply, attracting qualified leads and lowering CPA. 

Skyrocket visibility: SEO Reviews aren’t just about trust; they’re essential for SEO. They account for 9.8% of search ranking factors. Infuse ad copy with relevant review keywords for better visibility. Showcase positive testimonials to climb higher in search results, stand out from the noise, and attract customers actively seeking solutions. 

Reviews in advertising: Reviews are very effective in advertising channels like Television. A recent Kantar study found that Trustpilot inclusion [in advertising] increases overall brand confidence by up to +8pp (percentage point), trust by up to +7pp (percentage point), and the likelihood to purchase or endorse businesses by up to +8pp (percentage point).

Trust signals everywhere: Homepage widgets, email footers, and social media posts become powerful trust signals. Google Seller Ratings also enhance ads and organic listings, driving 10% more clicks. Trustpilot, a Google review partner, means product ratings generated from our open platform will also appear in Google search results. 

Power every step of the customer journey and reduce CAC

PwC surveyed 15,000 consumers and found that 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience. At the same time, 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions.

A customer review strategy can help navigate a confusing customer journey and prevent negative experiences. Reviews act as signposts, guiding customers through a brand experience while building trust along the way. 

A BrightLocal survey found that "98% of consumers look at online reviews when researching local businesses, with the average person reading ten reviews before they feel they can trust an organization." 

Reviews work at all stages of the customer journey. In the planning stage, they offer clear, verified client data regarding patterns of behaviour, emotion, and sentiment. This data can help shape a more effective customer journey that drives customers to acquisition. 

Once customer-facing, reviews work in whatever journey you want to build for your customers. However, establishing trust at the outset of a customer journey is a universal requirement; reviews are an excellent source of trust-building social proof. They help warm up leads enough to make a buying decision quicker and more confidently. 

It needs to be said that negative reviews are helpful in the customer journey, too, considering 42% of Amazon reviews aren’t genuine. A little truth, despite its negativity, goes a long way.  Customers also consider negative reviews when making a purchase decision. A study by J Conssum Market via Research Gate found that “when online shoppers see online sellers' reactions to negative reviews, their purchase intentions will double, instead of just focusing on negative reviews.

At the purchase decision phase of a customer journey, we’ve found that reviews count for a lot and can help push a customer over the line.

The point at this stage is to make the decision easy; product reviews are a secret weapon for this. According to the experts at Shopify,79% of online shoppers trust information shared in product reviews as much as personal recommendations. 

Product Reviews can be displayed on-site via our TrustBoxes.  These widgets increase conversions by showing customers the most relevant product reviews on the product pages they peruse. They also give you more content for your pages, which can be shared across domains and among businesses with the same products, so you get more keyword volume for SEO. If the point is to stand out among the competition, this is a great way to do it. 

ENG - Trustpilot widgets 3 - Pink

Trustpilot can help with that. Kantar research shows that Trustpilot's inclusion in advertising significantly impacted 50% of the metrics measured—this covered brand perceptions, consideration, and favourability. Trustpilot’s trust signal significantly helps a brand tower above the rest. 

Lowering costs is a top priority for every marketer and their business, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Reviews, though sometimes overlooked, are a powerful tool for understanding customer narratives, building trust, and sparking a ripple effect of positive experiences throughout the customer journey. It’s worth using these tactics to improve customer retention as well. 

The result? Less effort is needed to keep customers engaged, and most importantly, less money is spent on acquisition. 

Key takeaways

  • Reviews unlock real customer needs and build trust, so expensive research can be ditched. 49% consider reviews top purchase influencers. 

  • Use review insights to target specific concerns and showcase genuine quotes for social proof, attracting qualified leads and lowering CAC. 

  • Reviews contribute 9.8% to search ranking factors. To increase results, infuse ad copy with relevant keywords and showcase testimonials. 

  • Reviews guide customers through the journey, preventing negative experiences (1 bad review = 1 lost customer). They also help warm up leads and push them towards confident purchases (79% trust product reviews as personal recommendations).

  • According to Kantar research, Trustpilot inclusion in advertising increases brand confidence by 8%, trust by 7%, and purchase intent by 8%.

Don’t let bad reviews take you for a ride. Get Trustpilot. 


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