The Average Review Is Only 218 Characters Long, Far Below the Consumer-Preferred 500+ Minimum
- Across verticals, the average review is 218 characters long.
- The verticals with the longest reviews included Media/Communications/Entertainment; Bikes; and Travel.
- The verticals with the shortest reviews included Technology; Medical Components/Supplies; and Apparel & Accessories.
Review length is an important consideration for consumers, with 68% of consumers always or regularly seeking out longer, more detailed reviews, with nearly all – 97% – doing so on at least an occasional basis.
88% of consumers regularly or always look beyond the basic summary to read the actual review content. This behavior is even more common among big spenders. 62% of shoppers who spend $2,001+ per month always go beyond basic review information to read the content of reviews, compared to only 41% of those who spend $1-$250 per month.
In our analysis, reviews are 218 characters long, on average. The verticals with the longest reviews included Media/Communications/Entertainment (361 characters), Bikes (307 characters), and Travel (303 characters). The verticals with the shortest reviews included Technology (110 characters), Medical Components/Supplies (111 characters), and Apparel & Accessories (131 characters).
We analyzed review length because longer reviews are not only highly valued by consumers, but they generate more conversions for brands and retailers. How long is long enough?
Reviews of 500+ Characters Drive Largest Conversion Lift & SEO Benefits
Our research shows that reviews of 500 characters or more have the largest impact on conversion rate. Given the averages identified, this should be regarded as a “stretch goal” However, reviews of this length are more than 2 times more likely to be rated as helpful by consumers (people who sort by “Most Helpful Reviews” have the highest conversion rate lift).
Conversion Rate of Visitors that Engaged with Each Feature
Consumers prefer longer reviews because they provide richer detail and more relevant information. They help buyers make more informed decisions, and weigh whether the writer of a review has a use case similar to them. They’re also more likely to contain emotional content about a product that can sway a reader to purchase.
Longer reviews provide additional SEO benefit to brands. Longer reviews are more likely to contain more descriptive content about a product, including more keywords, which can positively contribute to SEO rankings.
Even the highest average in our analysis – 361 characters – still falls far short of the 500+ character stretch goal. There is a clear and significant opportunity for brands to improve their review content and collect longer reviews.
Five Snackable Data-Backed Review Length Tips
- Add a character counter to your review form: These track the length of the review and encourage reviewers to keep writing with positive phrases like “Keep going!” and a green progress bar. Customers can still submit a shorter review if they want, but adding some interactivity to the review form can encourage them to leave longer, more helpful reviews.
- Optimize your review submission form for longer content: Expand your form beyond the standard text box and star rating. Add clickable pros and cons, use cases, and more for people to choose from. These prevent review writer’s block by giving the reviewer ideas of what they can write about in the text box later on, while also providing more information for you to include in your review display. PowerReviews customer Room and Board provides a great example.
- Reward longer reviews: If you have an existing loyalty or rewards program, give your customers more loyalty points when they write longer reviews vs. simply leaving a star rating or a shorter review. As they accumulate more points, they can receive an award like an exclusive discount or gift.
- Let customers know that longer reviews are more helpful: 67% of consumers say that “helping and guiding others” motivates them to leave a review, while 65% are motivated by a “desire to help the brand improve the product.” Explain that the more they can share will not only help others make better, more informed purchases, but can also provide valuable feedback to you as the brand behind the product.
- Run a product sampling campaign: Send free samples to your customers and ask them to leave a review. Our research shows that product sampling campaigns – when done right – generate reviews that are 29% longer on average. When PowerReviews customer Vornado ran a sampling campaign, they enjoyed even more success, with 44% longer reviews. Reviews submitted through the campaign had 608 characters on average.