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We're living in the age of the customer, and never have they been so skeptical of marketing: Edelman's 2017 Trust Barometer reported the largest-ever drop in trust across institutions—government, business, media, and NGOs.

Research and analysis have for years pointed to a lack of trust in advertising and in corporate America, with some data suggesting that upwards of 85% of younger populations just aren't buying it—i.e., accepting what we say at face value.

Fortunately, consumers have offered their own solution: reliance on the opinions of their peers. And savvy marketers are beginning to form strategies around that solution.

As consumer trust in marketing decreases, reliance on people increases: Half of all adults are now routinely checking online reviews before making a purchasing decision, according to Pew Research Center. Moreover, 78% of people who read online reviews find them reliable, ReportLinker has reported.

For marketers, this shift in consumer behavior signals another shift—in how marketing dollars should be spent. That's because the voices, opinions, and beliefs of the crowd now say much more about a brand than traditional marketing efforts alone. The good news? Harnessing the power of online reviews can provide serious ROI: Clickthrough and conversion rates both increase because of the SEO and trust boost that consumer reviews produce.

Check out the infographic from Trustpilot, an online review community with 30 million reviews of 160,000 businesses, to see how you should be using reviews as part of your marketing strategy:

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Trustpilot is a global online review community bringing the power of trust and transparency to the Internet economy. The company empowers consumers to make smarter purchasing decisions while enabling companies to grow their brands by harnessing the power of consumer reviews.

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