2024 Online Reputation Management Statistics

Like many brand management professionals, you might lie awake at night wondering when the next emergency will upset your well-laid plans – for instance, COVID-19. We understand. The online reputation management world smolders with tales of tragedy, falls from grace, and salacious rumors that can destroy careers and entire businesses. As with any threat, a little online reputation marketing knowledge can go a long way. These facts and statistics should help. 

This report is not intended as a scare tactic. Instead, it is a clear-headed approach to making sense of online reputation management (ORM), what’s working, what’s not, and what to do about it.

Yes, the numbers can be disturbing, but with a careful marketing strategy and ORM best practices, it is possible to shape an online identity that conveys integrity, leadership, and trustworthiness. Let this guide serve as a primer on the current state of online reputation management and how to use these statistics to your advantage.

Online reputation management statistics

Review management statistics

Search engine optimization statistics

Wikipedia statistics

Recruiting and employment statistics

Social media statistics

Corporate social responsibility statistics

Cybersecurity statistics

  • More than 75% of attacks are initiated by email (Round Robin, 2020)
  • Most consumers have experienced cybercrime, with around one in three reporting cybercrime in 2020. (Norton, 2021)
  • The FBI received more than 2,000 cybercrime complaints daily in 2020. (FBI, 2020)
  • The healthcare industry expects to spend nearly $125 billion on costs related to cybersecurity between 2020 and 2025. (Cybersecurity Ventures, 2020)
  • 58% of adults are more worried than ever about being a victim of cybercrime. (Norton, 2021)
  • 53% of adults say they are unsure how to protect themselves against cybercrime. (Norton, 2021)
  • 41% of people don’t think their accounts are valuable enough to be worth a hacker’s time. (LastPass, 2020)
  • 60% of users are willing to sacrifice their online privacy in exchange for the convenience of the internet. (Norton, 2021)
  • More cybersecurity statistics can be found here.

Review management statistics

There are few places on the Internet that reflect a company’s online reputation more clearly than review pages. Reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, BBB, and other sites represent the honest (and often emotionally charged) opinions of customers. Reputation management mitigates the effects brands experience against the storm of public opinion. It is just as significant for businesses and organizations as it is for individuals. Most businesses lack an awareness of the risks of a compromised online identity and the degree to which online reputation predicts their success or failure.

Online reviews are more easily controlled than a full-blown media problem, though. A single misstep can result in the closure of a multinational organization. For example, Peloton lost about $1.5 billion in value due to a single holiday advertisement although the COVID-19 pandemic will probably turn that around.

A mismanaged reputation crisis management fiasco can hurl a company into a financial free fall. Sometimes, damage control by PR professionals can make things even worse. 

A 2017 article in the Financial Times puts the issue starkly:

“Unexpected crises can destroy businesses and reputations. Boards, chief executives and their managers may believe they have a firm grip on the risks they face. They should think again.”

All of us in the online world, from individuals to businesses to public organizations, have two identities — the one that exists in real life and lives online. Marketing professionals and scandalized CEOs realize this to the greatest degree. The Internet can be fickle, and your reputation can plummet overnight faster than a dissatisfied customer can strike the “submit” button on a review site.

85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, which should be an eye-opener. Put another way, people trust strangers almost as much as good friends

This means that the overall sentiment of your online reviews can make or break your business. Studies show that most people will not do business with a company once they read a single negative review. Online customer reviews and personal reviews are nearly equivalent in their trustworthiness.

Nearly 3 out of 4 consumers trust a company more if it has positive reviews

People trust a business more after reading positive online reviews. Positive reviews make 74% of consumers trust a local business more. One study found that nearly 3 out of 4 consumers trust a company to a greater degree if the reviews for that company are positive.

60% of consumers say that negative reviews made them not want to use a business

Conversely, research shows that 60% of consumers say that negative reviews made them not want to use a business.

positive vs negative reviewsOne of the primary markers of trust is a business’s mere appearance in the search results. But a business can’t depend on its appearance alone. Here’s why:

  • 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business.
  • Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business.

If a person possesses a high degree of trust for a brand, then they’ll buy from them. Online reviews can make or break that trust.

97% of consumers search online for local businesses. 12% of consumers do so on a daily basis.

Almost everyone is reading online reviews. According to research from BrightLocal97% of consumers search online for local businesses. 12% of consumers do so on a daily basis! As online reputation statistics go, this number shouldn’t be too surprising. It’s safe to say that using the Internet to find local businesses is a universal practice in the developed world. What is significant is the degree to which potential customers trust what they read.

When people research businesses online, they are not only reading customer reviews, but also business’ responses to those reviews. Responding to reviews gives businesses a chance to demonstrate their customer service and can actually change a potential customer’s mind if they were negatively influenced by a review they read. 

Every additional one-star Yelp rating causes an increase in the business’s revenue as high as 9%

Good Yelp reviews mean more business. According to a Harvard Business School Working Paperevery additional one-star Yelp rating causes an increase in the business’s revenue as high as 9%.


I want to make sure you understand how big of a deal this is.

First, we’re talking about those little stars on Yelp reviews. You don’t have to try hard to find them. You can see them on Google’s search results page when you’re searching for a taco restaurant for example.


You may also see these reviews on Yelp.com or within the Yelp app.

Second, we’re talking about a 5-9% increase in revenue for every additional star.

To put some numbers on that, let’s say that Speedy’s Tacos in Sunnyvale has an annual revenue of $1m and a 3-star Yelp rating.

The following year, they have a 4-star Yelp rating. (Great job, Speedy’s!) As a result, Speedy’s annual revenue is now $1,090,000. They made $90,000 more.

What changed? Who knows. A “Review us on Yelp” sign at the cash register? A “Please give us five stars!” on customers’ receipts. You’d be surprised at how much these small efforts can impact your reviews. 

The point is, Speedy’s is pulling down an extra $90k, because of the boost in reviews.

Related content: Improve your online reviews

The third point I want to make is the causal nature of the star ratings and revenue increase. Many times, statistics are merely correlative. The Harvard study, however, conveys a causal relationship. Here’s how the researcher, Michael Luca, reported his findings:

I can identify the causal impact of Yelp ratings on-demand [i.e., customer demand or revenue] with a regression discontinuity framework that exploits Yelp’s rounding thresholds.  [Emphasis my own.]

It is logical to assume that a reduction of positive online reviews, such as a loss of a star rating, causes a decline in revenue. More stars, more revenue. Lower stars, lower revenue.

Let’s whittle this down to a fine point. A higher star rating puts more money in your business bank account.

Your business’s online reviews matter. A lot. Whether you own a small business, run a non-profit organization, or care about your online presence in any way, those little Yelp stars make a big difference.

Reviews that only gave 1 or 2 stars failed to convert 86% of prospective customers.

Bad reviews can damage conversion rates – a lot. So much so, that reviews that only gave 1 or 2 stars failed to convert 86% of prospective customers. Clearly, this scenario is a major potential loss, particularly for startups, which need the initial momentum to get their businesses off the ground.

Americans report telling more people about poor service (15 people on average) than about good experiences (11)

No matter how good a business’s customer service is, there will always be someone whose expectations weren’t met for whatever reason. And that person is more likely to share their experience in a review than someone who had a positive experience.  According to this site “Americans across the board report telling more people about poor service (15 people on average) than about good experiences (11).

This is why both businesses and consumers have become more skilled at reading reviews with a critical eye. Consumers are also getting better at sorting the real reviews from the fake reviews and they’re more likely to take a recent review seriously than an older one. Consumers will catch on when businesses hire people to write fake reviews, or resort to other automated, non-organic means of cultivating a positive reputation. Only authentic reviews will do.

Online reviews and reputation: risks and rewards

If online reputation management was an afterthought before reading this article, these statistics might change your disposition. A company that does not exist online does not exist at all in the view of the modern customer. And how that company appears — with or without stars, positive or negative reviews — is equally important.

Although the data above focuses on local businesses, the principle holds true for any business, regardless of their physical location or presence.

When trying to make sense of your online reputation, it is important to realize this key truth: Your online reputation is your reputation. And if you don’t appear online, you don’t exist.

Search engine optimization statistics

Now more than ever, people search online to find information and formulate opinions on people and businesses. Since people are constantly Googling your name, your business’s name, or queries like “best breakfast near me,” SEO is a key focus point of many reputation management campaigns. In light of the Internet’s power to make or break your reputation, here are some of the most significant SEO reputation management statistics.

Related article: How to repair a damaged corporate reputation

Only 5% of people look past the first page of Google

Only 5% of people look past the first page of Google, so first impressions are even more important online than in real life. Miss your chance to make a positive impact, and you may never get another opportunity.

65% of consumers trust online search engines the most when conducting research on a business

People trust search engine results more than any other type of media. The Edelman Trust Barometer shows that 65% of consumers trust online search engines the most when conducting research on a business. You do it, so do most people.


Image source  Edelman

The report dubs 2019 as the year of “Trust at Work.” The report reveals that people have shifted their trust to relationships within their control, and with their employers specifically. However, there is an urgent desire for change as only one in five feels that the system is working for them.

This desire for change

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