“Word of mouth” has gone digital

According to Google, 85% of people will research a product online before purchasing it. And frequently, when they go online, they’re not just seeking information about the product’s features or to find out what store has the product in stock. They’re looking for product reviews.

Online product reviews have become the “word of mouth” of the digital age. Within seconds you can go online and get the honest (and often unbridled) opinions of others concerning your specific product of interest. These reviews can come in the form of the more informal feedback customers leave on the product page, where they will assign one to five stars, based on their personal experience with it. Reviews can also come by way of a more formal platform, the blog post.  Especially in the field of cosmetics, beauty bloggers carry immense influence over their followers. One glowing review by the likes of Michelle Phan, Huda Kattan or Nikkie de Jager, who each have tens of millions of followers on Instagram alone, can cause a stampede for the latest stay-all-day unicorn highlighter. Smart cosmetics companies have learned to use this influence to their advantage by gifting these powerful persuaders with new, unreleased products in hopes that they will reciprocate with a favorable review and build anticipation for the official product release.

Online blogs can help large companies promote their latest and greatest products, and they can be an easy way for small start-ups to introduce themselves and make themselves known without much financial risk. In modern times, people want quick access to thorough and dependable sources of information when they’re contemplating a purchase. And rather than subjecting themselves to a 30-minute conversation with a friend or family member who might give a vague reason for their opinion (my lipstick lasted through dinner), the consumer is often going online to a trusted blogging authority instead.

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