Amazon Dramatically Reverses the Rollout of No Review Counts in Search After 10 Days
Last week, we noted how starting on August 15, 2023 the prevalence of search results pages showing no review counts in organic or Sponsored Products listings had skyrocketed on Amazon US. Between August 15 and 25, 2023, 24.5% of Amazon US searches displayed no review counts in the search results. But on August 26, 2023, there was a dramatic pullback by Amazon. Over the following three days, just 4.9% of Amazon US searches displayed no review counts.
This figure is still much higher than the pre-August 15 average, but points to Amazon presumably seeing some negative impacts of this broad rollout. Review-less SERPs had been tested on a very limited basis in December 2022.
These review-less SERPs remain for roughly 5% of Amazon US searches as of late August. While they aren’t concentrated across certain price bands or categories, they are appearing slightly more often across terms with better search frequency ranks, but these differences could dissipate over time.
Despite the pullback, the search experience remains changed in another way. Bought in Last Month/Week fields grew more prevalent across Amazon beginning on August 15, and these rates haven’t dropped too much in the wake of the pullback around no-review SERPs.
Biggest Takeaways for Brands
- The benefits of a ‘review count moat’ live on
- In our Durable Dominance model, we had outlined the long-term advantages of an ASIN having a higher relative review count than its competitors on the SERP – this is likely to remain the case
- The same model pointed to increased BSR survivability by having 4.3 vs. 4.2 stars just by how the stars displayed on SERP. With more searches still displaying that ‘star string’ it’s reasonable to assume that ‘harder cliff’ will remain
- Across Amazon, no-review searches are still significant in number enough to prompt strategic adjustments
- Its possible for a given ASIN or brand to show up on review-less SERPs more often than the site average
- In those cases, the percentage figure present in the “XX% 4+ stars” callout is now likely going to be critical since its front and center for consumers, and needs to be monitored more closely
- Additionally, impacted brands may want to consider taking advantage of Sponsored Brands for important terms not showing review counts, as these units still display the full review count
- ‘Bought in Last Week/Month’ fields are seemingly here to stay
- Amazon clearly wants to signal recent sales velocity to consumers more often, going beyond review counts
- This could meaningfully influence a product’s position-weighted CTR for various searches largely in favor of products with fewer lifetime reviews but a high volume sold last month value. This has the potential to influence search rankings more broadly.
Data included in this analysis is based off of search results across the top 500,000 most frequently searched terms from June 2023 on Amazon US between the dates of August 1 through August 21, 2023. Search terms were categorized based on the top-level category associated with the majority of products appearing on the corresponding search results pages.