Review syndication: What it is and why it matters to your business
It’s hard to remember what the shopping process used to look like without user-generated content (UGC), like customer ratings, reviews, questions, photos, and more. Today, 75% of US shoppers always look at reviews when shopping.
Review syndication: What it is and why it matters to your business
UGC also helps brands and retailers promote authenticity and build trust with customers. People want to hear from other people. It’s one thing for a brand to make a statement – it’s another for a peer to echo it.
Through the Bazaarvoice-ExpertVoice partnership and seamless integration, you can reach your customers where they shop by distributing the UGC collected with ExpertVoice to the Bazaarvoice network of the world’s best retailers. In this post, we will share how syndication works and why it is valuable to your bottom line.
What is syndication?
Syndication is the distribution of a brand’s UGC to the websites of retail partners who sell the brand’s products. Depending on whether a brand has its own e-commerce or not, the UGC may show up on the brand’s website, and then the same content is syndicated out to key retailers, where it will display on the corresponding product display pages.
Review syndication helps brands ensure their content is available wherever consumers are shopping. It also helps retailers deliver an exceptional shopping experience by having plenty of content on all of their products.
How does syndication work with ExpertVoice and Bazaarvoice?
#1. Brand content is collected from customers
Brands, or third-party providers on their behalf, such as ExpertVoice, can collect ratings, reviews, and other UGC using a variety of methods, including post-interaction emails, sweepstakes, social media, and sampling programs.
#2. Bazaarvoice authenticates and moderates the content
UGC should represent a customer’s genuine, unbiased, and transparent opinion about their experience with a product or service. In this step, considerable efforts are made to ensure that content is:
- Free from fraudulent content: Bazaarvoice prevents fraudulent content, including disruptive or ‘trolling’ behavior, commercial messages, automated submissions (e.g. bots and scripts), illegitimate or degrading content from a client’s competitor, and self-promotion.
- Free from edits: Reviews are not altered in any way by anyone other than the original author — including corrections for spelling or grammar. Reviews are not filtered, edited, or deleted simply because they are negative or are lower-rated.
- Transparent: We don’t allow companies to ask for positive reviews directly. If consumers are offered money or promotional material (such as discounts or coupons) in exchange for providing an unbiased review, then the review must note this fact.
- Moderated: Our proprietary natural language processing (NLP) and human-powered moderation engine ensure that content follows brand guidelines before being displayed, with coverage in 38 languages.
#3. Bazaarvoice matches brand content to the product catalogs at retailer websites
Brands sell their products on a diverse set of retail sites. Matching hundreds of thousands of products across thousands of retailer and brand catalogs is tricky. Because of that, we take on the task of matching the brand UGC to the retailers that sell their specific products, and we do this step at scale.
#4. Brands’ UGC is displayed on retailer websites
Brand content, whether ratings, reviews, or photos, is displayed on the corresponding retailer product display pages. With over 11,500+ brands and retailers and 1.3 billion monthly shoppers, the Bazaarvoice Network has depth and breadth no one can match. Our retailers see 20x more shopper traffic than other networks, so every bit of your UGC goes further.
Why is syndication valuable?
As a result of a customer photo and review syndication, brands increase their reach and the distribution of their content, reaching consumers they otherwise wouldn’t. Retailers gain content to help shoppers make better decisions and to increase sales. Brands, retailers, and, most importantly, consumers win.
So, instead of collecting one review and only impacting shoppers that visit your brand’s website, you’re now impacting all of your customers shopping at your retailers.
That being said, syndication is extremely complex, and that complexity grows as the scale of the retailers and brands grows. Much of this is due to inconsistency in how the e-commerce industry treats and manages catalog data.
There’s no single way to build a catalog or one single indicator for product matching. We ingest all of the catalog data across our network, which comes to us in various stages of completeness, and then fill in the gaps to match the data piece by piece, product by product. We build a connection between brand content and retailer catalogs and have invested in making this matching process seamless on either end.
The result is that every product is given its own brand-identifier, authenticated, matched, routed, and ultimately displayed at each retailer. Retailers gain high-quality, trusted, authentic content that drives SEO, sales, and engagement value, all without having to invest in their own infrastructure to gather, aggregate, and match content from the brands they sell.
Brands rest easy knowing they are putting their best foot forward and standing up to the competition in the retail channel. Consumers get authentic product content wherever they shop, knowing where that content comes from. This fosters connection to the brand, trust in the retailer, and confidence to buy.
What questions should I ask of a UGC or review syndication provider?
We highly encourage brands and retailers to thoroughly evaluate any UGC or review syndication solutions. To better understand syndication and evaluate your options, we recommend asking any syndication provider the following questions.
- What data is being captured?
- How will my data be stored and processed?
- Do I have to agree to any data privileges for a zero-cost solution?
- What are the honest and responsible costs of a zero-cost solution?
- How do you ensure that brand content is matched to the right product at the right retailers?
- How are you operationalizing the matching of content?
- Am I responsible for implementing an API?
- Do I need a second display on my page? If so, how does this impact load time/page speed?
- Do you require a pixel to be implemented?
Content Integrity and Security:
- How do you protect me from fake reviews?
- What level of moderation will our content go through before display?
- Which fraud detection systems does your software have?
Syndication of consumer-generated content has become an essential tool for retailers and brands of all sizes to maximize the volume of their customer ratings, reviews, and visual content and to ensure that influential UGC is accessible wherever their customers need it.