With all the different review platforms out there, it can be challenging to ensure that your business is listed on the best ones while your dealership team focuses on customer satisfaction. When there’s Google, Facebook, DealerRater, Cars.com, Yelp, CarGurus, Edmunds, and more, it’s now more important than ever to place your strategy where it counts. In a world of reviews, are you guaranteeing that your business is covered everywhere it needs to be? Check out what Friendemic has to say about each major review platform and where your dealership should direct its focus.
#1 – Google
Google is the most important review platform for any business, and auto dealers are no different. The search giant now accounts for over half of the volume of reviews auto dealers receive. Not only is it the single most significant review regarding review volume, but Google also displays reviews in the Google My Business sidebar for dealer-specific searches, so consumers are exposed to them when searching for your website, phone number, or trying to find directions. “Reviews From the Web” are also often displayed further down on the page, allowing people to see average scores from multiple platforms at once.
#2 – Facebook
Facebook has nowhere near the same review volume as Google, but should still be a priority for any auto dealer. One advantage Facebook has over other platforms is its ability to connect users to people they know. Rather than reading reviews from complete strangers, Facebook can show reviews from people in a users network. Reviews from people you know can carry more weight than that of an anonymous user, making Facebook reviews potentially much more powerful.
TIE #3 – Cars.com
Unlike several of the other key sites, Cars.com maintains more of a dealership focus, perhaps because of its strong dealership advertising platform. The site provides strong SEO value for dealership search terms. Generally, most dealerships do not see huge volume here, though Cars.com does permit select reputation management vendors to “push” qualified reviews directly to the site. As a result, some dealerships see significant review volume on Cars.com.
TIE #3 – CarGurus
CarGurus began in 2006 as an automotive community blog for consumers to discuss cars, dealerships, and mechanics. It soon grew into an advertising platform for dealerships as well as a consumer-focused automotive research and shopping site. Because of its roots, however, it has maintained an emphasis on consumer feedback and reviews in general. CarGurus continues to post rapid growth since their IPO in October 2017. It now rivals many of the other key sites in review quantity.
#4 – DealerRater
DealerRater accounts for just under 20% of the average dealer’s reviews making it the second largest source of reviews for auto dealers. Like many review platforms, DealerRater offers a paid service, but you don’t need to be a paying customer to receive reviews on the site. Consumers have little reason to come to DealerRater.com for anything other than to read specific dealership reviews; the site, therefore, is potentially compelling to consumers who may be choosing between dealerships but lacks the broader strength of several of the other key sites.
#5 – Yelp
Yelp in many ways kicked off the online review boom, and it remains an important site for many local businesses, particularly in urban areas and on the West Coast. In rural and suburban areas, however, Yelp tends to receive fewer reviews than many other sites making the relative importance of Yelp highly dependant on geographic location. In November 2017, Yelp announced that it would begin penalizing companies for soliciting reviews from customers by reducing their search ranking on Yelp or even flagging their Yelp page with a “Consumer Alert.” It remains unclear what impact these penalties may have, but it’s likely the industry will see fewer new reviews on Yelp going forward as many dealerships stop soliciting reviews on this site.
#6 – Edmunds
Edmunds is a major site for car shoppers to research models and find available inventory, and many dealerships advertise heavily there. As a review platform, however, Edmunds typically has far fewer reviews than competitors and makes up less than 0.5% of the total reviews left across key review platforms. In February 2018, Edmunds announced that they would no longer support API integrations with online reputation companies, signaling a shift away from online reviews entirely. With that said, if your dealership sees significant referral traffic or lead generation from Edmunds, it would be unwise to neglect your reputation on the site.
Learn more about improving your online reputation by contacting us at [email protected] and download our free E-book “The Definitive Guide to Online Reputation for Auto Dealers” today!