Remember when Amazon.com first emerged on the web, and we thought our days of shopping turmoil were over? With a click of a mouse and a few choice words you could find yourself flipping from boxed collections of "Friends," to pursuing the best deals on your favorite "Three Wolf Moon Shirt." Those were the days when anyone with an account and five minutes to spare could review a product and let the whole world know how crappy or awesome their purchase was (as one reviewer did in a fashion so fantastical that they've even received attention from Business Insider about it). These were the bread and butter of customers' buying decisions before and after their purchases for a few glorious, user-friendly years.
Then Youtube came along....
Today, a great shift in the world of user reviews is taking place; transitioning from textual, to visual commentary. If you're interested in the new Canon 70D, or curious about how deadly Wendy's new "Baconator" really is, where else can you turn for honest, in depth, comprehensive visual and textual information about a product? Amazon has swelled with an influx of products and goods too many to count; and some have actually become so buried that there are virtually no reviews, as Adweek took notice of in a recent article. They claim that while Amazon had 0 reviews of the new Trek mountain bike, Youtube contained some 500 video responses from users who wanted to insert creative elements into their review.
There are probably many reasons for this, but the one that we take notice of is the personal touch of many users in their reviews. Rather than just consuming a product, users are now showcasing their own personal experience with those products in visual form.
We think this also illustrates a trend that's taking place in the marketing world. Now, more than ever, users have a platform by which they can talk about products that they like or dislike, and highlight the features that they want to. Marketers would do well to pay attention to this. Before, getting consumer feedback was relegated almost entirely to online surveys and response forms, like the Amazon review forum. Today, users are voluntarily submitting their responses to the online community about products; which takes a good deal of work off the shoulders of marketers and advertising professionals.