Unilever Case Study: Best Practices in Leveraging Online Ratings & Reviews


Jenna Spivak Evans
Associate Capabilities Manager – Digital and eCommerce

Richard Skardon
Global Brands Client Partner

Danny Silverman
Senior Vice President of Customer Strategy
Clavis Insight

84% of shoppers look at reviews prior to making a purchase decision*. This makes ratings and reviews far more impactful than traditional, digital and social media on sales. Brands best capturing and leveraging ratings and reviews are positioning themselves to drive the shopper’s path-to-purchase on the digital and physical shelf.

Join Unilever’s Digital and eCommerce Capabilities Manager, Jenna Spivak Evans, along with Bazaarvoice’s Richard Skardon and Clavis Insight’s Danny Silverman for a case study on how the consumer goods leader is executing best practices to capture and leverage online store ratings and reviews.

Listen to the on-demand webinar and learn:

  • How the consumer utilizes ratings and reviews prior to making a purchase decision
  • The impact of ratings and reviews on online and in-store purchases
  • Unilever’s process to design and execute campaigns to capture ratings and reviews
  • How Unilever leverages insights from customer reviews to respond to customer feedback as well as improve product messaging and design


About the Speakers:

Jenna Spivak Evans_Associate Capabilities Manager_Digital and eCommerce_UnileverJenna Spivak Evans is Associate Capabilities Manager – Digital and eCommerce for Unilever. In her role, Jenna ensures that new digital and eCommerce innovations and best practices are applied across Unilever’s brands and in partnership with retail customers.
Follow Jenna: LinkedIn | Twitter

Image_Richard Skardon_150x150

Richard Skardon is a Client Partner for Global Brands at Bazaarvoice. In his current role, Richard and his team advise brands and manufacturers on how to develop a comprehensive Consumer Generated Content strategy.
Follow Richard: LinkedIn

DannyDanny Silverman is Senior Vice President of Customer Strategy for Clavis Insight. In his role, Danny helps brands enhance equity and drive sales at online retailers with data driven insights and experience informed action.
Follow Danny: LinkedIn | Twitter




Webinar Transcript

Danny: Great. Hi everybody. Welcome to our webinar. When it comes to online product detail pages, image accuracy, titles, and descriptions and search optimization come to mind. While we also know the importance and impact of ratings and reviews, there is less certainty around how to influence average ratings or review counts. To demystify this critical topic and share some case studies, we are excited to be joined today by Richard Skardon of Bazaarvoice and Jenna Spivak Evans of Unilever. Richard is a Client Partner for Global Brands at Bazaarvoice. In his current role, Richard and his team advice brands and manufacturers on how to develop a comprehensive consumer generated content strategy. Jenna is the Associate Digital and eCommerce Capabilities Manager for Unilever. In her role, Jenna ensures that new digital and eCommerce innovations and best practices are applied across Unilever’s brands and in partnership with retail customers. Rich, first over to you.  

Richard: Right. Thanks, Danny. Thanks to everybody for joining us this afternoon. Thanks to Danny and Paul and the team at Clavis for inviting me to speak today. And of course to Jenna from Unilever for participating with us too. And as was already said, my name is Rich Skardon. I’m a Client Partner at Bazaarvoice where I manage a team that is focused on our largest enterprise brand clients, including Unilever out of our New York City office. Previously I was based in our London office where I worked with our largest retail clients in the region. So, I’ve got a pretty good experience on both sides of the fence. I’m on the client’s success side of the business at Bazaarvoice. Our role is to help our clients realize their best possible value from the programs that they’re buying from us. So really a lot of that’s around sharing best practices and, of course, solving any issues that may occur. And so just to give you guys just a little bit of background around Bazaarvoice. So, Bazaarvoice is a world leader in software and services focused on generating and using user generated content, or as actually we like to call it within the business, consumer-generated content. So our work includes ratings and reviews which is gonna be the main focus of the conversation today. That’s why there’s a question and answer social content curation and shopper advertising services. And so, we were founded in 2005 out of Austin in Texas. That means we’ve got about 11 years of experience right now in this space. We actually sit just behind Facebook and Google as the world’s third largest generator of impressions online, which currently means we actually appear on some 700 million devices every month. So we’re a global organization. So it’s really important to partners like Unilever. And currently we provide moderation of all of the different content coming into the network in 37 different languages. So we’re committed to insuring the authenticity of all the content that passes through the network. We invest quite a lot in that moderation side of things as well as having pretty in depth fraud protection systems. And so quite often you’ll see some of our clients will have, as you can see on the top right hand corner there, the BV trust mark, which shows that those reviews have gone through that rigorous process. Overall, we have about 4,000 retail and brand clients and so we’re one of the largest networks globally, which allows us to share content through syndication, which really allows us to amplify the value of the content that we’re collecting.  

Just to give you guys a bit of a thought around why reviews matter. The first reason is that they matter to your consumers. We’ll come back to that in just a second. But there’s a lot of business benefits to the review content as well. First of all, the sales impact. Ratings and reviews have a pretty dramatic effect on conversion levels with up to 52% increases in conversion when you have reviews on product pages. Another big benefit is in driving traffic to your site. So you can expect a good organic search lift of between 15% to 25% when you have reviews in place. And the reason for that is actually that Google and the other search engines really favor fresh content and reviews provide obviously just that. With another core benefit being that reviews are being written in a way that consumers talk about your products in real life, which is also how consumers tend to search more these days. So there’s a lot of long tale search benefit. Insights is another core benefit. So you can think of your rating and reviews program as like having a non-stop consumer panel running. So, through that moderation process I mentioned we can help spot common themes and help you to actually improve and adapt those products so that you can potentially save quite a lot in primary research in the marketplace. Finally improving the reach of your communication by actually leveraging the consumer-generated content is another benefit. So taking its content and adding it to your thought of marketing efforts, we’ve seen really good increase in the efficacy of that marketing, which is consistently higher than where consumer-generated content has not been used.  

So one of the areas that we spend a lot of time talking with our clients about, I know Jenna’s going to go in some more detail, is around driving review volume. So, as you can see from this chart, there really is no such thing as too many reviews. You definitely get the biggest gains in conversion rates between 1 and 50 reviews. But there continues to be an incremental gain as the review numbers go up. So if it’s in conjunction with that freshness piece I mentioned on the SEO side is the reason why ratings and reviews should be considered kind of an ongoing part of marketing plans rather than just a one off activation.  

So coming back to that question of why does this matter? I think key pieces is obviously what consumers think. And research from Nielsen shows that 92% of consumers actually trust earned media above all other forms of advertising. So that’s pretty big in its own right. And then actually specifically when Bazaarvoice dug into looking into the ratings and reviews piece on its own, we found that consumers showed three times more trust in reviews than they do in brand advertising. So it’s fair to say that it’s important to get this content in front of consumers on those PDPs to actually help them to make the right decisions as they go through the decision journey.  

So once we’ve spent a lot of time working with our clients to both drive and use their content, which again Jenna will come on to in more detail. We also spend a good deal of time helping them to understand the ROI of the content that’s generated as well. So as you can see on this chart, we’ve actually identified seven different areas of ROI from our reviews program. On the left of those we usually say is generally more measurable. That’s typically where we start when we’re looking into ROI. So you can use your analytics program and so on to dig into a lot of those factors. And on the right are those which we would say, I guess, are bit more subjective and a little bit harder to measure. But we try to take three things into account when trying to understand what that total revenue impact looks like.  

One of the big advantages of the scale that Bazaarvoice has of course is our ability to help our clients to benchmark against their peers. Here you can see some CPG benchmarks which cover a range of different quite interesting metrics. A couple that really stand out to me is, first of all that average rating in the space. That’s really actually quite high. And that’s actually not untypical. It’s one we see across a lot of different categories is that when you do ask consumers for their opinion on products they’re actually generally very, very positive. It’s a really consistent theme we see across the board. And I think it’s one of the fears people have before getting into a reviews program is that they’re gonna just get negative content. And it’s really very much not the case once you actually are proactively driving that content for your site. Another piece that really stands out, I guess, is the conversion rate as well. So 27% uplift is pretty impressive when you consider that the CPG category as a whole you could argue has quite a lot of lower consideration items in there as well. Just another kind of interesting piece which helps to validate that ROI piece for sure.  

Another area of the ROI story that’s really important to a lot of our clients and that we’ve been digging into a lot recently is the effect that these reviews can also have on the offline purchase of items as well. This is what we consider research online buy offline or ROBO effect. We spend quite a lot of time digging into this as I mentioned. This is particularly of interest to our clients that don’t have transactional sites. Because they’re trying to understand what’s the benefit of this content when they’re actually then ultimately purchasing elsewhere? This could be through the syndication or this could be just through their offline sales as a whole. We teamed up with about 20 of the world’s biggest retailers and hundreds of different brands to find out what’s going on.  

There were two kind of big stats that came out of this. One was more of a validation. So BV had already done quite a lot of research into people using reviews for online purchase. But it was good to validate that 54% of the online buyers are reading online reviews with some very up-to-date data. So that was pretty important and impressive in its own right. But I think the piece that was surprising and was perhaps high than we have even anticipated was that 39% of in-store buyers are actually reading online reviews before purchase. And that’s the average across different categories.  

Here’s some stats that basically show how that broke down for different categories. Again, this is people who are researching online and then purchasing offline. And I guess in areas that you’d expect, big ticket technology items, appliances and so on, we did see pretty high levels of engagement there in the review content as we kind of expect. So 41% to 58%. Something that actually surprised me a little bit was actually even in the food category, which is a space that you would argue is there is quite low adoption of online purchasing at this point, the offline element is being influenced by the online content to a tune of 19% of consumers actually reading reviews. So you know again, something that you would either consider potentially to be relatively low consideration or certainly something that you maybe wouldn’t even anticipate that online research happening, I think just emphasizes that there isn’t really any product category that research and reviews don’t have some applicability to.  

For my final slide before handing over to Jenna, I just want to talk very briefly about our approach to a program which, I think, sets up Jenna nicely for talking about her different section. There are a few different pieces that our client success team worked on with our clients at Bazaarvoice. The first is we focus on the type of content. As I mentioned, ratings and reviews really by far the biggest part of our business and what we’re really known for. There’s other pieces like question and answer. There’s other pieces like visual content, social content, and things. So we really want to consider around is it the right type of content for that particular part of the consumer’s decision journey. That’s kind of where we start. Then we actually come back to that question around volleying, so having all the content there or having the different types of content, is there any balance once you have sufficient volume of that content to actually have some impact on the consumer’s decision? We talked through a lot of different volume driving strategies. Finally, or not finally, that the other factor there is reach. Actually making sure that we get that content, once we’ve got the right type of content, we’ve got enough volume, we want to make sure it gets to the right places. This could be through some pieces around like search optimization, but then also thinking about where we’re actually placing that content again in that consumer journey. And then the final piece that we focus on is really helping our clients to drive insight from the content as well. Is there a way to improve these products? Could we take this 4.5 star product to be a 4.7 or a 4.8? And really again further increase that conversion.  

I’m going to hand over to Jenna and talk to what that actually means in the real world. And by all means, do feel free to reach out as always if you have any questions. Thanks.  

Jenna: Great. Thanks Rich. Hi everyone. My name is Jenna Spivak Evans and I’m the Capabilities Manager at Unilever where I vet and evaluate new digital solutions in vendors across our own properties and in partnership with our retail customers. I also manage the existing relationships with our current vendors, and we are client of Bazaarvoice. I supervise our team with guidance and also provide them with the technology to get our reviews to retailers.  

So, first I’ll talk about how Unilever brands are creating review driving campaigns. So before you start anything, it’s really important to set those benchmarks and goals based on as many insights that Rich has talked about earlier in this presentation. We’ve instructed our brands to try and achieve at least 21 reviews per SKU with an average rating of four stars. Many of our brands will exceed this benchmark but it’s really important for our brands, especially those with larger assortments, to keep this in mind because so often brands are really focused on their new product launch, that new innovation for the year. And we want to make sure that we have full coverage of reviews hitting this benchmark for their full product assortment. Because we know that when we do we see a lot of benefits. We can drive about 50% less traffic to our product pages per order and we can see about a one and half times higher conversion rate. Additionally, we really need to remember that recency is a factor when it comes to reviews. Like many of the products that we all sell, reviews have a shelf life as well. Consumers know that products can change, packaging can change. And so, reviews that are older than a year aren’t seen as relevant to consumers. So we ask our brands to really keep in mind that they should always be trying to drive those 21 reviews with a four star rating every year.  

So once you’ve set those benchmarks, there are two primary ways to really hit those rating, volume, and recency targets. The first are our some evergreen tactics. And while they are applicable to really any type of product, your new innovations or reformulations, it’s a really great way to support your core products. Often it’s as simple as asking how am I currently engaging my consumer? What collateral or samples do I already have planned to send out? Really having your brands keep in mind that simple tweaks to their communication can help drive review volume. So those more targeted larger scale tactics can be really beneficial for new product launches and reformulations. Because you are typically engaging a larger audience and are incentivizing those reviews in some way, whether it’s do a free sample or a coupon, you tend to see a larger volume of reviews. And this is a really great way to launch a new product with a healthy number of reviews that will provide the consumer with the confidence when they’re considering purchasing a product that they may have never tried before.  

So, just to dig in a little bit more, those evergreen tactics can really be simple asks and can be integrated into your brand communications or your site maintenance calendar. As an example, our Hellmann’s team tested whether banners in their email callouts would drive reviews. And they found that whether it was a header, banner, or located at the flair of the email, they drove about the same volume. But what really interesting learning here is that inclusion of these apps in an email actually drove the same volume as a sampling program that the brand achieved. And so we always try to remind our brands that these review programs don’t have to take up a large portion of your budget. They don’t have to take up a lot of your resources. They can be integrated into your communications that you already have planned. And on a similar vein, our Dove Men’s team, our social team, has been responding to consumer comments on our social posts. And when they see a consumer talking about our product, talking about how much they love it, how they are a loyal user, they would always naturally engage that consumer and carry on that conversation. But now they’re also directing the consumer to leave a review on our brand site. And while it does drive a small amount of volume, every little bit helps in achieving that 21 reviews per SKU. And it really makes this interaction much more valuable to the brand. And also makes the customer feel special that we want to hear from them. That we want them to share their opinions and help influence and inform other consumers like themselves. The last example on this slide, our dove.com team has a placement on our homepage that rotates the different products in every so often to drive reviews. So whether the team is looking to support a new product innovation or maybe one of their core products needs a little ratings and review love, they’re able to really push this in and out based on the brand need.    

Sampling and sweepstakes are really great ways to activate your advocates. When executing these programs, whether you do it in house or through a third party vendor, you can include collateral pieces that educate the consumer on how to use the product or the product’s benefits. And often this allows the consumer to be better informed. They know how to use the product, especially maybe if it’s a new format that they may not have encountered before. And so they will often have a better experience which leads to better informed, better quality, higher rating reviews. It’s important to note though that the FTC has really strict guidance around the need to disclose if a review has been incentivized in some way. And that’s anything from a free sample to a coupon, no matter the value, to sweepstakes entry. And so we work with Bazaarvoice using a simple submission link or an SS URL. This allows us to automatically tag if a consumer has received some sort of incentive. Not only will this badge appear on the reviews that live on our brand sites but when the review is syndicated through the Bazaarvoice network the badge will also be visible on our retailer sites as well.  

Many marketers think that once they’ve run their review and driving campaigns they’re done. They’ve checked off that box. But there’s really a lot of great content that consumers are creating, a lot of really great insights that we can get from this information. So why let it go to waste? One example of that is, as Rich had kind of touched on before, we know that reviews have a really great impact on SEO. It’s because shoppers are best at using shopper language. And they’re likely using the same terms and words to leave a review as they are to search for that product online. In this example the Q-Tips team mined reviews for common product language. That helps them not only form their SEO strategy but identify their keywords and influence how they named their products online. As well as common product uses that can really help shed light on areas where maybe our brands may want to develop content further.  
Additionally, you can really dig into some of the review insights and see what those common ways consumers are pairing your products. With the Bazaarvoice workbench, their back end system, this may require you to go in and maybe look at reviews that have not been approved for some reason. If maybe they mention a competitive brand we might not have them go live on our site. So you could either identify potential noncompetitive partners where you could do some sort of joint merchandising program together. Or, in this case with TRESemmé, you can find beneficial ways to help build a regimen which is really important to our Unilever brand, especially our personal care category. So in this case, we found that consumers commonly mentioned using dry shampoo to help extend the sleek looks achieved with the TRESemmé Keratin Smooth range. And so this insight was really valuable and was able to influence not only communications on the brand site, but also email communications as well as retailer promotions.  

Additionally as we kind of saw with the Q-Tips example where review content, digging into that content can help identify areas where you might want to develop additional product content for your brands. You can also gather information when a consumer submits a review. And that can help you validate a claim which you can then use within your marketing materials. So in this example, Simple Skincare brand already collects a lot of data on skin types, where a consumer shops, if they’re a new consumer via the review submission form that Bazaarvoice provides. By implementing a large volume driving tactic, such as a sampling campaign, a brand could get a large enough sample size of consumers to respond to a survey question asking do you agree that a Simple Skincare is gentle yet effective on your skin? Then by drilling down to see how many reviewers who have indicated that they have sensitive skin also agreed that the brand is gentle and effective, Simple could then use this claim in its marketing materials. You have to make sure that you have a statistically significant number of responses. But in this example Simple Skincare could claim 9 out of 10 women with sensitive skin agree that Simple Skincare is gentle and effective. And they would be able to use this in their marketing materials. And have a way to use a claim that maybe they always wanted to have validated but didn’t have that during the product development process.  

So it’s really important where you are, as Rich had said, this is kind of an ongoing response group. And you’re always getting this feedback from your consumers. And it’s really, really great to really extend the reach of your advocates and leverage those reviews and those marketing communications. This is primarily because we know that consumers really trust reviews. They trust them more than some of our brand content. This content can really add authenticity and validity to your marketing materials. We really encourage our brands to think more than just including in digital communications and really including it whether in print or even in your in-store visuals. We found that it really does enhance our brands messaging and really reinforce that product’s appeal. It’s important to ensure though that the original intent of the review is being maintained. Very often you will be editing that review content in some way, shortening it to fit within the parameters of whatever that created asset will be. And so it’s important to maintain the integrity so you don’t misrepresent the consumer statement. Often, well we always present the original review to our legal team as they’re reviewing that final piece of creative so that they can ensure that we are not misrepresenting that original claim in any way.  

The insights that we gain on our consumers can feed back into our marketing database including who left a review, what their product rating was, and how many products that person has reviewed. As we showed with Simple Skincare example, we can also gain insights on consumer preferences such as skin types, skin concerns, customer loyalty, as well as many other types of segments depending on how much we have customized that review submission form. This information really reveals consumer preferences, brand preferences, their need states. And by integrating this into our database, informing our communications, we can have a much more personalized one-on-one communications that address a consumer’s specific needs. So for example, instead of having a general email blast as a first example for this Dove email talking about the benefits of the new dry oil body wash, they could instead target consumers into two groups, gained through the insights that we found within the back end system of the Bazaarvoice workbench. And we can tailor those communications to those who have either identified that they have dry skin or who have identified they have sensitive skin. And further, we can even leverage consumer reviews that support those needs of those consumers who have those certain skin concerns. And we find that when we target consumers based on interest or concern, we can see lifts in engagements as high as 20%.  

And finally, this is something that’s newer in our process at Unilever but we can really use these insights to inform consumer services and R&D. A brand of ours recently reformulated some of its products. And as with all reformulations, we expected some sort of negative reviews. You know there’s always consumers who’re going to feel upset that we’ve changed their favorite product in some way. However, as the brand monitor, the consumer reviews being left on their products, we’ve noticed that month by month their average review volume started to really steadily decline. And when they dug deeper it became really concerning because they realized that more and more of their loyal fans who were upset and that this high volume of negative reviews was becoming alarming. Unfortunately to make things harder, their brand was going through a soft transition so new and old products would be live in market. And so it’d be difficult for the brand to really understand which product our consumers talking about. So this meant that the brand really had to dig in, use some of the BV tools…Bazaarvoice tools I should say, BV for short. And the brand looked in and they looked at reviews that were less than three stars. And they looked and tried to determine which reviews mentioned new and also which reviews were coming in either before the soft launch or after the soft launch. And then they analyzed further. And they split the different types of negative reviews into three categories, into the three most common types of consumer complaints. They then worked with the consumer services team and the call center. And they additionally dug in and tried to bucket call center complaints to see if they fell into similar categories. And they did. They matched up pretty evenly. They knew that this wasn’t necessarily just backlash that was occurring in user reviews that this could potentially indicate a larger issue.  

Additionally, using the insights gained through the survey form, the brand noticed that a lot of the negative reviews were really coming from consumers who purchased at a club store. So those larger packed items. When they looked into this, they actually did find there was batch issue that was sent specifically to their club, those larger size packs. So they were able to identify that issue and address it. You know, even though it did indicate that that batch issue was for those larger pack items, they’re still monitoring this and making sure that this isn’t a larger formula issue. That it might have just been designated to just that batch. As they kind of made these observations and they analyzed the findings, the brand developed an action plan. First they implemented a recontact strategy where they reached out to consumers who had a negative experience with our products, especially those who may have received items from a bad batch, and sent them a new product. They’re in the process of monitoring the consumer sentiment with these new products. And so far it’s looking good. But they’ll continue to stay in contact with those consumers and then continue to monitor how our brand is performing.

Secondly, working with Bazaarvoice, they are launching a campaign to drive positive reviews. So they actually backed in to determine how many five star reviews would be needed to bring up their average rating to their goal rating of a 4.0. And they then used this number based on typical response rate that they have from previous campaigns to determine how many consumers they would need to reach out to and either sample or coupon in some way to really help drive those reviews and help them attain that goal of that 4.0 rating.  

The next thing that they did was really create a communication plan on the product changes. You know, tell consumers why and explain why we made those changes and really inform them to help ease any tensions that the consumers may have with the changes to their favorite product.  

And lastly, as I kind of touched on before, they created an ongoing management plan to track consumer sentiment, to really see if those consumer complaints persist, and to determine whether or not it was just a batch issue or if it’s something that we would need to look into further and make a change at a product scale. So that’s it.  

Paul: Great. Thank you Jenna and Rich for your wonderful insights there. We’ve now reached the question and answers portion of the program. If you do have any questions, everyone is on mute but you can enter them into the Q&A box located in your participants panel. And while you’re entering your questions I can answer one very popular one that has been coming through. Yes, all attendees will receive a copy of the slides as well as the webinar recording when both are available. And while you’re writing your questions again, I’m gonna pass this over to my colleague Danny Silverman to provide a brief overview of our eCommerce Analytics platform and our new shopper review diagnostics tool. Danny?  

Danny: Great. While we’re collating questions, we’ll just give a brief overview and commercial break here. Clavis Insight is the global leader and industry leader for CPG eCommerce and online retailer analytics. Our SaaS based tool goes out on a daily basis to retailers all around the world, pulls back critical data like image accuracy, writings and reviews, and search rank, and organizes it into easy to read and understand dashboards that help you prioritize the work to be done, identify trouble areas, and identify areas that are working as well, to build on that and extend it further. Let’s go to the other slide here. We just recently released an update, an upgrade to our ratings and reviews capability. This is a new feature that we are offering as an addition to our platform. We’re bringing the content of the reviews themselves into the Clavis platform. We can look for trigger words that are previously nominated. We can send alerts and emails to groups such as customer service or marketing that helps take the insight that Jenna and Richard had described and brings it directly into the inbox of those who need to see it right away or want to do more longer term trended analysis. For more information on that there will be a follow-up contact information that comes out following the webinar today. With that we…just to let you know also, if you’re interested in a live demonstration of the Shopper Review Diagnostics reporting, we will offer that on April 6th at 1 p.m. Eastern Time…sorry, in Europe and 1 p.m. Eastern Time for Americas.  

Paul: Okay, and with that we’re going to start going through some of these questions that have been flowing in. So, we’ll start with Jenna. What has been the biggest challenge for brands and for you when implementing ratings and reviews tactics?  

Jenna: Yeah, I really think it’s been thinking outside of the box when it comes to review driving tactics. I think our brands have been really focused on those larger scale generation campaigns, sampling and couponing. And they work really well but they can be expensive. And so really thinking about how to layer on those acts when you’re already having a conversation with the consumer, I think has been a challenge. For many of our brands they really help support those, like I said earlier, those core items. And then additionally, getting brands to just stop thinking of reviews as something you check off your list. This is something that provides a huge wealth of knowledge on our consumers and is also a valuable resource when it comes to the type of content that we might want to include or the type of insights that we might want to leverage.  

Paul: Okay, great. Thank you. And the next question is for Richard. So Rich, when it comes to syndicating reviews out to retailer sites, the Bazaarvoice platform does some amount of moderation and filtering of those reviews. So, does that mean that we’re only pushing good reviews out? And what does that do in terms of credibility of the reviews for shoppers and online browsers?  

Richard: The moderation process is not about removing all the bad reviews. So the moderation process is really about making sure that the content that’s posted is appropriate to be on the website. We have a list of rules with every brand that we work with. A stipulation of what is reasonable content to have on the site. So obviously on a very basic level it’s removing any kind of explicit words or anything that’s inappropriate on that front. But it also might be if you are for example a highly regulated brand there might be certain things like some adverse events or things that you can’t post legally to the site. So it’s really very much about making sure that it’s appropriate content that makes it onto the site. With regards to the syndication side of things, the way syndication works is that the retailer will receive every review that the brand has on its own site. So it’s not the case that we actually filter those reviews for just the good reviews. We will send everything that’s been collected, warts and all. There’s no additional filtering of those reviews and therefore the authenticity of those reviews is still very strong as it goes through the syndication network.  

Paul: Great. Thanks. This next one’s for Jenna. Question coming in from Aaron who’s asking about how you have correlated or included star ratings and reviews into your more traditional business performance measures. Is it part of how you dashboard and report the brand? And how do you think about it relative to more traditional performance measures?

Jenna: Ratings and reviews are an indicator of brand health measures. So we do incorporate that on a quarterly basis. And it’s something that, from a high scale either from a category or top level brand performance, we would monitor and report back in a similar way that we would report brand health from consumer services or from some of our social listening sort of tools. So, it’s just another factor there.  

Paul: Okay, great. I think we’ll have time here for probably just a couple more questions. So Rich, a pretty basic question here. What’s more important, volume or rating?  

Richard: Yes, sure. It’s a question we get quite a lot. Volume is really the most important. Firstly the reason for that is the SEO benefit that we mentioned before where fresh content is very much most important. And then of course for the conversion chart that we showed where there’s the biggest lift occurs between 1 and 50 reviews but then also incrementally continues to increase. So really more is more on that. And that ultimately comes down to the fact that consumers trust volume as it shows much more of a consensus of opinion. So if a product only has say one or two reviews and it’s five star, the consumers, as we’ve seen, are much less likely to place much faith in that versus let’s say a product that has a hundred reviews and maybe it comes in a 4.5. So having that volume is really important because it helps the consumers be able to dig into those reviews, find people who are sort of I guess “like me” when they’re going through that process and allows them to be able to get to a better understanding of that product overall. So absolutely from our perspective we would say that volume is more important that the star rating. That’s not to say that scores don’t matter. And obviously we supply benchmarking data to our clients to help them understand where they sit with the rest of their peers which we showed. And it’s still important that we aim for those benchmarks in most of the categories that we work in. And frankly if there’s a product that’s scoring very badly, it’s generally the two. I think it can be indicative of batch issues. It could be indicative of just a poor product. And so maybe there’s some work to be done on that side too. So both are important but definitely volume is the key of the score overall.  

Paul: Okay, great. Thanks. And we have time for one more question here. For those whose questions we didn’t get to, we will follow up with you directly, try to get the answers for you and send them to you via email. The last one here for Jenna. Just riffing a little bit here on a question from Steve. Generally speaking, what would you say is the hallmark of a successful ratings and review campaign? If there’s one particular element, what would that be?  

Jenna: I think it’s just…when you’re engaging with consumers, to really express to them that you want to hear their opinion and to have it be more conversational. Regardless of whether you are doing a larger sampling campaign or to provide an ask within an email or some sort of social response, providing that relationship and encouraging that relationship with the consumer, making them feel special, making them feel like you as a brand want to hear from them, hear their input, their feedback, potentially their concerns puts the consumer in a more positive mindset. And I think that’s what Rich had alluded to earlier is that if you are not asking for reviews, if you are not driving those programs, you are only going to get the two poles of the review sentiment. People who really love your product and people who have had a really negative experience. More often than not the people who are really incentivized to leave a comment are those ones who have had a negative experience. And so by encouraging consumers in one way or another and again, having a more conversational relationship building approach, I think, will allow brands to drive those high three’s, low four star ratings that are really the meat of what make up your review volumes and your review score.