Customer Reviews Are “Go-To” Source, Says Nielsen Social Media Report

Nielsen, the research giant, weighed in this week with its survey on the state of social* media globally. No surprise, Facebook tops the charts with 750 million members. You can read the graph and the slide presentation below for the detailed results. There were two “ah ha” findings for me.

Customers Trust Other Customers

First, the study reports that 60% of social media users create reviews of products and services. What’s more, the study says, consumer created reviews/ratings are the preferred source for information about product/service value, price and product quality.

This is huge. Why? Because companies that spend millions on advertising and social media campaigns are no longer the principal influence behind buying decisions. You can’t fool the public into buying an inferior product when you have millions of users ready to pounce and rip the product to shreds in very public reviews.

This was reinforced for me just last week when I was considering the purchase of a new all-in-one printer. The phone rep I spoke to recommended a model, but I decided to go online to look at customer reviews. They were awful. Paper got stuck in the feed constantly. Guess whose opinions I valued the most? When buying clothing online I check the reviews to read if other customers believe the sizing, color and quality is as advertised.

Not all reviews are negative. In fact, I think most online customers feel an obligation to report when something is very good, too. I know I do.

Blogger and Tumblr Rank High

The other “ah ha” was the high rankings of Blogger and Tumblr. Blogger is the number #2 social networking and blog site in the U.S., in terms of time on site, with 50.1 million unique visitors, up from 17% from a year ago. Tumblr is coming on strong, with more time spent on it than Twitter. I think of Tumblr as the sort of kitchen sink of social media.  You can share anything you find or create. Post text, photos, quotes, links, dialogues, audio, video, slideshows, and more. So far Google+ is no where in sight.

Here is the graph with total minutes spent on the leading social networking sites.

Here is the slide presentation of the study’ findings.

*State of the Media: The Social Media Report Q3 2011, by incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey Company.

Leave a Reply


  1. Jeannette,
    Reading this article has been an “aha” moment for me. I wasn’t aware that Blogger and Tumbler were that popular.

    I always research reviews especially when I’m traveling. Trip Advisor is my go to site before I ever book a place to stay. Thanks for sharing this with us. It was very informative.

    • Sherryl, I was surprised at the popularity of Blogger and Tumblr, too. But not everyone decides s/he needs a WordPress blog. Also, how many more networks can we keep up with?

  2. Hi Jeannette,

    It is interesting about reviews as I wonder how objective they are. I couldn’t see it in the presentation, I wonder what the results are by industry. Instead of reading reviews I do ask those I am connected with for their thoughts as I value their opinion.

    • Susan, I can understand your point of view. I think it’s the people who are dissatisfied who are likely to write a review, and usually a negative one. But I also read a lot of positive reviews online. Companies are getting smart about sending out customer satisfaction surveys soon after the sale so they can capture this information and that encourages comments, both negative and positive.

  3. Jeannette, What surprises me is that nearly every day, I get a follower or two from Blogger – without really having any presence there other than my profile. So, it does make me wonder if maybe I shouldn’t at least check it out and see if there’s the opportunity to do something with it that isn’t time consuming.

    • Sherryl, I also get a hit or two a day. After reading the report, I went over to my account and learned that has not been distributing my blogs although I have Blogger activated. So I’ll need to check that out. But you’re right, with that kind of traffic we can’t ignore it.

  4. Really interesting Jeannette. Am thinking of setting up another blog to use as a homepage. Maybe I should use Blogger?

    Noticed that Asians are more on social media than we are in other parts of the world. Am not surprised. Remember when I visited wealthy friends of mine in Manila about 15 years ago. Their son and his friends spent a lot of time online playing games.

    • Catarina, I haven’t used Blogger myself but several friends have, and they didn’t have a good experience. It’s more limited in functionality. If you don’t need a lot of plugins then you may want to consider My first blog was on that platform and since then they’ve actually added a lot more functionality, although not as much as a self-hosted blog. So you might want to check out both Blogger and If you belong to the WordPress Group on LinkedIn you could start a discussion and ask the members about their experiences with both platforms. I’ve always found this group to be very giving with their comments.

  5. Hi Jeannette. I started out with Blogger and gave it up when Google marked my blog as SPAM by accident. Being that Blogger is a Google product I didn’t expect it to be so crappy. Did you ever try to contact Google? Yeah right LOL The “support” forums are not clear and they were really nasty in there. It took two weeks to get my blog back at which point I immediately switched to WordPress. I also remember reading somewhere that Google actually favored WP over Blogger which I thought was bizarre. I think I set up a Tumblr at some point but thanks for reminding me to see where I left it!

    • Julie — Yikes, what a bad experience. I was just on my Tumblr account. Think it’s time to become active. See you there!

    • Catarina — I’d suggest you go to, choose a theme and sign up (you’ll also need to pick and register a name). Then you can go into the dashboard and see if it meets your needs. Sherryl sets up websites and blogs so I’m sure she could provide help, too.

  6. Customer reviews and testimonials hold lot of weight. This user generated content is something the potential customers could easily relate to and are therefore valuable content.

    • Thanks for your comment, George. More people are relying on user testimonials when buying products and services.