As I’m building out and working on a number of presentations that I’ll be giving over the next few months, I’ve run across something I kinda-sorta knew, but didn’t like remembering. People like quoting statistics. And as often as not, those statistics aren’t backed up by research, or even a self-reported survey result.

You can find plenty of lists of “shocking social media statistics” or “101 online reputation facts that will blow your mind” or any permutation of clickbait-y headlines. My rule for every presentation I give, though, is that every single statistic or piece of information I present as fact needs to be backed up by research I’d be comfortable presenting to my boss, or in my podcast.

Stats without support is one of my pet peeves, given that a good research-supported statistic is one of the fastest ways into my heart.

So, for all you other statistics, social media, and online reputation management nerds out there, here’s my roundup of statistics I reference on a regular basis, and the stats that I love but refuse to reference due to lack of support. (Speaking of which, if you can dig up the study or survey or paper behind any of those on the “unsupported” list, please let me know!)

I will continue to update this thread as I find or use new stats. Last updated October 21, 2018

The Wall Of Shame

Attention spans have dropped from 12 seconds down to 8. Humans now have a shorter attention span than goldfish.

This one gets me steamed enough I’ve got a full breakdown of the multitude of problems with this statistic on this separate blog post: Goldfish attention spans don’t justify anything.

58% of executives believe that online reputation management should be addressed, but only 15% actually do anything about it.

I found about six versions of this statistic, including some that quote 14% or 16% not doing “anything”. Some also quote only the 58% part, attributing it to “Fortune 500 CEOs”. Either way, as tempting as it is to use this statistic, there’s simply no support that I could find to back it up.

“84% Of Marketers Believe That Building Trust Will Be The Primary Focus For Marketing Efforts In The Future”

This is another one of those stats that gets quoted far and wide, but rarely with a source. The few places I could find that attributed this stat point to 1to1 Media and a 2008 survey, but this company no longer has that survey published. Also, seriously, find a marketing survey newer than 10 years old if you’re trying to talk about the “future” that we’re now in.

Statistics to Use Instead

Online Reputation Management : General

25% of market value is attributable to reputation
This one *almost* makes the list of love-but-leave for me, but squeaks in to the nice list. It’s originally attributed to the World Economic Forum. Search their studies as I might, I couldn’t find the original. What I could find, though, was this 2015 article on the World Economic Forum blog that specifically calls out “A recent Forum study,” but it’s linking to a Huffington Post article.

63% of the general public give companies with excellent reputations the benefit of the doubt in times of crisis.
This stat comes from the Reputation Institute in 2018.

When a reputation improves from average to excellent in rating, there’s a 2.7x increase in purchase intent.
This is another one from from the Reputation Institute in 2018.

SEO and SERPs

90% of people searching haven’t made up their mind about the brand they are going to buy
Research by Think with Google in January 2018.

87% of people do comparative shopping for every single purchase they make.
McKinsey based article in February 2017.

Only 7% of people ever go to page 3 of search engine results pages.
This number changes depending on a number of factors, and most studies only look at clickthrough rate. This number is the closest I could find to a combined stat. It’s from Chitika

Wikipedia shows up in the top 10 of the search results more than 50% of the time.
This is from Stone Temple in 2017.

Social Media

The average person has 7 social media accounts
Research from GlobalWebIndex in 2016.

From brands, social media users want to see discounts, news, posts the educate, and posts that entertain.
Sprout Social 2018 index

Social Media Service

57% of people will shun a business after a bad experience on social media.
Conversocial in 2018

Average response time on social media is 10 hours
Most people will wait only 4 hours for a response on social
89% of all messages on social media go ignored
All three of these are from the 2016 Q2 Sprout Social Index.

70% of people will change their mind after seeing a response to something negative online.
Jay Baer’s Hug Your Haters, 2016

There’s a 20-40% increase in per customer revenue when a business interacts with their customers on social media.
Bain and Company, 2011

Listings, Locations, and Reviews

There’s a 5-9% increase in revenue for restaurants when their Yelp reviews go up by 1 star This one is often extrapolated out to non-restaurant businesses, but the study looked only at eateries, and only on Yelp. Harvard Business School, 2016

49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
BrightLocal Survey, 2017

42% of consumers won’t use a business with less than a three-star rating.
RevLocal, 2018.

86 percent of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience. This is often reported as “86% of people will pay more if you have a higher star rating” and while correlationally, this may be true, the actual statistic is from a 2011 Oracle report.

Local reviews have a 7-13% influence on local search SEO ranking.
This is from SEOMoz in 2017.

What people hope to get from leaving negative reviews:

  1. To save other customers from the same experience: 73.2%
  2. To see the company be more upfront or honest about fees / policies: 48.7%
  3. I’d like a refund (48.3%), credit, or gift card (28.5%)
  4. I’d like the policy to change: 39.7%
  5. I’d like an apology: 38.9%
  6. I’d like to hurt their reputation: 13.5%

Corra.com did a survey of 2,000 Americans in 2017. Their study doesn’t specifically cite a date, so I’m basing this on their published-on-Google date.

Employment-Focused

69% of people would turn down a job from a company with a bad reputation, even if unemployed.
Corporate Responsibility Magazine study in 2013.

A bad reputation will cost a company 10% more per hire
Harvard Business Review, 2016.

Employee posts are 150% more likely to be engaged with than posts from a business itself on social media.
Sprout Social 2018 index.