Millennials rely on user-generated content when making purchase decisions, according to a report from Bazaarvoice.

A report from Bazaarvoice found that more than half of Millennials consider online content created by other users before recommendations from family, friends or colleagues. Fifty-one percent said the presence of reviews or other user-generated content on a website helps them get a better understanding of a product or service’s true value.

Aside from reviews, Millennials’ shopping decisions are influenced by endorsements and other feedback posted by friends, followers and other contacts on social networks. According to Bazaarvoice, 42 percent of respondents reported that content shared on Facebook, Twitter or some other social network is frequently the reason they decide for or against a purchase.

Businesses using social media marketing should encourage their followers to provide feedback on social platforms. Even negative feedback can be used to a business’ benefit if the company responds and works to address the issue.

Actively responding to negative mentions will help businesses that incorporate this feedback improve their operations, and it will also tell prospects that the company values their opinion. Additionally, brands might consider tailoring their content marketing campaigns to include language that invites responses from site visitors and social followers.

“Whatever brands do, they need to follow the general principle of transparency, understanding there’s a huge group of consumers right now who just don’t trust them,” said Lisa Pearson, vice president of global marketing at Bazaarvoice, told eMarketer. “There’s only upside to opening up and giving people the ability to talk about your brand. That’s going to become the expected norm.”

Millennials have demonstrated their reliance on web content when it comes to making purchase decisions. Moreover, they believe their voice matters as well, with many sharing their own experiences on social networks or other websites. Brafton recently reported that 46 percent of female Millennials regularly contribute content, whether on social networks or elsewhere, aimed at helping others decide on purchases.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.