Yahoo Study: 2/3rds of All Word-of-Mouth is Positive

Filed in Featured, Statistics, Word of Mouth by Matt McGee on June 15, 2010 4 Comments

speech-bubblesIf you run a small business, chances are pretty good that you rely heavily on word-of-mouth to grow your business. Whether it’s online reviews or recommendations from happy customers to their friends, having good things about your business spread as far as possible is a key to long-term success.

Yahoo has published a study that exists largely to promote its own advertising programs, but also offers a couple stats that are worth passing along regarding word-of-mouth marketing. Specifically, the study confirms what others have reported before — the vast majority of word-of-mouth is positive.

According to the Yahoo study, 66% of brand references in WOM conversations are positive and only 8% are negative.

For the sake of comparison, Yelp has a chart on its FAQ page showing that 85% of business reviews in its system are 3-stars or better. (The chart is from September 2008, but within the last couple months a Yelp spokesperson told me that today’s numbers are consistent with that data.) Likewise, BazaarVoice — a company that provides the product review software that many large online retailers use — says that 80% of product ratings are 4- or 5-stars (out of 5).

So, while it’s natural to fear negative word-of-mouth, we now have several pieces of statistical evidence that most WOM is positive.

The Yahoo study also reports that the Internet’s influence on word-of-mouth is growing, while other channels (like TV, print, and point-of-sale) are generally stable.


As I said, much of the rest of the study is promotional for Yahoo’s advertising services, but if you want to have a look for yourself at the data, you can find it here.

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  1. Weekly Search & Social News: 06/22/2010 | Search Engine Journal | June 22, 2010
  1. Nice piece of research. Word of mouth is always the best way of building brand recognition.

    Businesses should make use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to make it easy for customers to share your business.

  2. Positive word of mouth is the best thing to happen for a company. Interesting research statistics. This is the reason why social media is emerging as a great promotional tool for companies. positive word of mouth can spread rapidly and reach a wide range of consumers.

  3. Henry says:

    I think one of the reasons “word of mouth” is more positive than negative could be people tend to overlook small problems. Their experience must be really bad for them to bein spreading bad word, and just a little better than average to give positive opinion.

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