A submission form is the interface that contributors use to rate and review products, services, and companies.

The following figure shows the most basic elements of a Ratings and Reviews submission form. Using the form, contributors select the overall rating they want to give the product or service, type a review, and provide a nickname, location, and email address.

Basic submission form

A well-designed submission form that is simple and easy to complete maximizes the number of contributions on your site and minimizes abandonment. Maximizing the number of contributions is important because consumers have more confidence in a product’s ratings and reviews when the product has multiple reviews.

In addition, to streamline the submission process, you can configure data injection and simple submission URLs.

Configure submission form questions

Submission form questions enable you to collect valuable information from your customers that you can use for business purposes. The questions prompt customers to provide information about themselves and their sentiments about a product or service. For example, authentic user sentiment about your products or services, including words directly from your customers, can be used in or inspire marketing campaigns.

Answers to submission form questions contextualize the review and enable consumers to make informed decisions based on that review. For example, if a contributor wrote a negative review about an article of clothing saying it does not fit well, and the contributor answered the Body Type question on the submission form, someone reading the review might not factor the negative review into her purchasing decision if she has a different body type than the contributor.

Watch this short video about using the submission form editor:

Best practices

  • To maximize the number of contributions on your site and minimize abandonment, keep your submission form simple and easy to complete. Collect the following types of critical information:
    • Information that contextualizes the review and enables consumers to make informed decisions based on that review.
    • Business intelligence information—such as authentic user sentiment about your products or services, as well as words directly from your customers—that departments within your company can use to improve product quality or make merchandizing or marketing decisions.
  • To ensure information security for your customers, do not ask for personally identifiable information (PII) in submission form questions, even if the questions are hidden on the review display. For example, do not request the following:
    • Physical mail addresses
    • Date or place of birth
    • Telephone numbers
    • Drivers license or vehicle identification numbers

Customize a submission form

Watch this short video to see how you can configure submission form questions:

Follow these steps to configure a submission form:

  1. Before beginning, consider the types of questions that are available and how you want to design your form. Refer to Submission form questions reference to read about and determine the category of questions that you want to configure.
  2. Using the Bazaarvoice Workbench, click Settings » Manage Applications.
  3. Edit the implementation for which you want to configure submission forms.
  4. Click Submission Form Editor in the User Experience section of the Brand Edge configuration hub.
    Note: You must configure some sections outside the submission form editor. Locate this content by hovering over a grayed-out section and opening the link provided in the tooltip.
  5. Click the icon at the top of the editor and then select the product category or subcategory of the submission form you want to modify.

    The editor automatically opens the All Products submission form. If you add, edit, or delete questions in the All Products submission form, the editor applies those changes to all linked forms.

    Note: The path to the selected category displays at the top of the editor beside Editing questions for. If you click the folder icon again, the newly selected category has the word "Selected" beside it.
  6. If applicable, select the locale you want to edit from the drop-down menu.
  7. To add a new question to the form, click New Question beside the category of question you want to add. A list of predefined questions for that category displays.

    To add a predefined question, click Add This Question. You can edit the question name, display label, submission form label, possible answer values, and global question settings before saving. If you operate in multiple locales, you can also edit values for each locale.

    To add a custom question, click Add a Custom Question. Select a question type. Enter a question name, question ID, display label, submission form label, and possible answer values. Set global question settings. The following table shows valid values for Question Type depending on the question category.

    Question Category Valid Question Types
    People questions Dropdown Select, Free Text
    Ratings questions Ratings, Slider
    Product questions Dropdown Select, Tag Groups, Free Text

    Click Save and Add to add the question to the form, or click in the top right corner to return to the editor without saving.

  8. If you need to modify an existing question, click to modify an existing question. If the question appears in multiple categories, any edits will update the question in all categories where it appears.
    Note: Not all fields on a submission form are represented on the published review. You can set certain fields on the submission form to be hidden on the published review.
  9. If you need to delete a question from the form, click to delete a question. If you delete a question from the All Products form, the editor removes the question from all linked forms.
  10. If you need to change the default order of questions on the form, you can click next to a question category and then select Move this section to move an entire section of questions. Click the section you want to move and drag it to the preferred location on the submission form. The first and last section—Base Review Questions and Net Promoter Question—are locked and cannot be moved.

    You can also reorder questions within a question category. Click and select Reorder questions in this section. Click the question you want to move and drag it to the preferred location.

  11. If you added or modified a product question for a subcategory (chosen in step 5), inheritance from the parent category is severed. (Submission forms for product subcategories inherit questions from parent categories.) is displayed at the top of the submission form editor and next to the category in the product categories list. To revert the category to its original state and restore the link to the parent category, click . Any changes made to the parent category while the child category was severed now appear in the child.

Submission form questions reference

This section describes the available question categories and explains the elements you can configure for each question.

Watch this short video to see an overview of the submission form question categories:

Question categories

Submission form questions are grouped into the following categories:

  • Ratings—Optional secondary ratings regarding specific attributes of the product or service, such as the cleanliness or food quality at a restaurant. Answers to these questions help other consumers determine if a specific aspect of a product or service meets their needs. You can customize the customer-facing labels for rating dimensions for your specific business.
  • People—Provide additional information about the contributor, such as age and gender. Answers to these questions help consumers identify with the person who wrote the review. People questions should map to consumer segments important to your business. For example, a cosmetics company might want to ask reviewers to identify their skin type.

    You can customize the language of the questions to suit your business, and you can omit any recommended options. However, to benchmark this data accurately against other Bazaarvoice clients, you must use the default answer ranges. These can be powerful tools if you make these questions filterable by other users.

    Note: Brand Edge supports COPPA. Refer to the COPPA support statement for more information.
  • Products—Enable contributors to provide insight for specific issues about a product (such as clothing fit, durability, or appearance) and how they use the product (level of expertise or usage frequency). Answers to these questions help other consumers learn more about the contributor and provide context for their experience with the product or service. For example, if a person is shopping for a new camera to take family photos, and she sees a few low ratings from reviewers who are professional photographers, she can probably assume their concerns will not impact her satisfaction with the camera.

    Use product questions instead of ratings questions when a specific attribute is best described on a two-option scale instead of a relative, value-based scale of 1-5 or a value-neutral scale. For example, you can collect information about product appearance using a product question ("How does your purchase fit?") with response values like "Runs narrow" and "Runs wide," or you can use a rating question ("How would you rate the appearance of the product?") with response values of 1-5. Product questions provide more context than ratings questions. Answers to ratings questions do not provide consumers as much useful information as answers to product questions, especially if the contributor rates the product without writing a text review that provides context.

    Be aware that submission forms for product subcategories inherit questions from parent categories. That is, changes made to the submission form for a parent category are inherited by child categories. For example, if you define a submission form for apparel, submission forms displayed for product subcategories in apparel (such as dresses or shirts) inherit questions from the main apparel submission form. By default, a change to a subcategory product's submission form severs the inheritance from its parent category.

Question fields

The following figure shows the window in which you configure a new question or edit an existing question.

Question Type—(all questions) Types of responses a reviewer can make for a given question.

  • Dropdown Select—(people and product questions) Contributors respond with exactly one answer from a list of values you provide.
  • Ratings—(ratings questions) Contributors express sentiment about one aspect of the product or service on a five-point scale.
  • Slider—(ratings questions) Contributors rate a product or service on a continuum instead of by numeric rank. They supplement overall ratings by providing a richer rating level for a product.Sliders can reduce returns by 5 to 15 percent.

    The following image shows a slider similar to what you would find on a submission form or published review.

    Examples of industries that benefit greatly from having sliders include apparel, shoes/footwear, cosmetics, sports and outdoors stores, and department stores. Sliders enable product reviews to have descriptions such as "Runs narrow," "Fits correctly," or "Runs wide."

  • Tag groups—(product questions) Contributors tag a product or service with descriptors you provide, and tag groups enable contributors to add commonly expressed opinions or information to their reviews. Consumers can derive useful information from the tags quickly. For example, if your product is a digital camera, you could add the tag category "Digital Camera Pros" and provide tags like "Long battery life," "Compact," and "Included lens."
  • Free text—(product questions) Reviewers write comments about a product or service.

Question Name—(all questions) Descriptive, unique name for internal use that helps you identify the question in the questions list during configuration.

Question ID —(all questions) The ID of the question for data injection, syndication, and reporting. This ID should not contain any special characters or spaces.

Display Label—(all questions) Text displayed on the published review that prefaces the response value the contributor provided.

Submission Form Label—(all questions) Request for information from the contributor. The Submission Label text displays on the review submission form.

Possible Answer Values—(people, slider, and product questions) Options contributors select when responding to the submission form question. To edit existing values for default questions, click inside the value box to make it editable. To add more values, click Add new value.

Note: For ratings questions, values fields are available for the slider question type but not the ratings question type.

Left Label—(slider questions only) Leftmost label on a slider.

Right Label—(slider questions only) Rightmost label on a slider.

Global question settings

Watch this short video to see an overview of the global question settings:

The following global question settings are available. During onboarding, these settings are configuring according to Bazaarvoice best practices.

  • Required—(all questions) Requires contributors to respond to the question.

    Note: Do not select this option if you use data injection to populate the answer.
  • Hide in display—(all questions) Prevents the answer to this question from displaying on the published review.
  • Filterable—(people and product questions) Enables consumers to filter reviews based on the Values you set.
  • Hide on submission—(people and product questions) Prevents the answer to this question from displaying on the submission form. Answers to these questions are populated using data injection.
  • Auto-populate—(people questions only) Automatically populates fields of the submission form if the contributor previously provided the same information on your site. Deselect Required if you select the Auto-populate option. Contact your Bazaarvoice Implementation Engineer if you want to enable this option.
  • Subject ID required—(people and product questions) Requires the subject ID for a product to be injected into the review submission.

Specify an alternate return page

By default, customers return to the URL where they clicked "Write a review" link to access the review submission form. However, you can choose to specify a different return page.

Note: You must use an absolute URL when redirecting to the alternate page.

Include the following code on the page where the user first clicked the "Write a review" link:

$BV.configure('global', {
  returnUrl : 'http://AlternateReturnPage.com'
});

Simple submission URLs

A simple submission URL (ssURL) quickly takes customers to a submission form, typically for reviews. When customers have to locate a product page, open the submission form, and then log in, many abandon the process. Using ssURLs can remove some barriers, potentially increasing review volume and the effectiveness of a campaign.

From the consumer's perspective, ssURLs are displayed and behave in the same way as traditional URLs. When customers click the URL, the submission form opens in their browser, as illustrated in the following diagram.

Behind the scenes, the ssURL loads a container page before loading the submission form. Using the parameters from the ssURL, the container page determines the type of submission, the submission location, and user authentication if necessary.

You can use ssURLs in any web media, such as an email, splash page, or banner. You can associate an ssURL with objects like buttons and images, or you can display an ssURL as a text link. An ssURL can open a submission form that displays a product picker page for all products in your product catalog or for all products in a specific category or product family. Finally, if you use a third-party service to drive review volume, ensure every campaign uses ssURLs to include the content in the Bazaarvoice network.

If Bazaarvoice can authenticate a consumer's submissions, the consumer can click an ssURL and successfully submit content without logging in.

For example, the following URL provides the format for a pre-authenticated submission link for email reviews:

https://display.ugc.bazaarvoice.com/static/<client_name>/<site_ID>/<locale>/container.htm?bvaction=rr_submit_review&bvproductId=<ProductID>&bvcampaignId=<CampaignID>&bvuserToken=<UASToken>

You can create pre-authenticated ssURLs for

  • Email submissions
  • Same-page submission links

The following example shows you how to assemble ssURLs for several scenarios.

Create an ssURL

In most cases, creating an ssURL requires minimal technical knowledge. Complete the following steps to create an ssURL.

Step 1: Assemble ssURL base

Here is the format of the ssURL base:

<protocol>: //display.ugc.bazaarvoice.com/<environment>/<client_name>/<site_ID>/<locale>/container.htm?

Replace the following components in the base ssURL:

Component Values Details
<protocol>

http or https

Specify the appropriate protocol for your implementation.
<environment>

bvstaging/static or static

Use bvstaging/static for the staging environment. Use static for the production environment.
<client_name> Client ID assigned by Bazaarvoice Use the client ID that Bazaarvoice assigns to your company, which is also used throughout your feeds. Special characters must be URL-encoded .
<site_ID> Deployment zone ID Specify the ID of the deployment zone you want to use. If using the Main Site deployment zone, you can omit it from the ssURL. Special characters must be URL-encoded .
<locale>

Locale code

Specify the locale used in your implementation and for which the review will be displayed.

You can also use the Submission Link Generator to create the ssURL base.

Here are examples:

  • In the Main Site deployment zone, in the staging environment:

    https://display.ugc.bazaarvoice.com/bvstaging/static/endurancecycles/en_US/container.htm?

  • In the Secondary Site deployment zone, in the production environment:

    https://display.ugc.bazaarvoice.com/static/endurancecycles/Secondary%20Site/en_US/container.htm?

Step 2: Add additional parameters to customize the ssURL behavior

Append parameters to the ssURL base to customize its behavior. Refer to the following table for a list of parameters, descriptions, and possible values:

Parameter Description Required
bvaction

Determines if the ssURL opens a form.

Value: One of the following based on the form:

  • Review submission form—Use rr_submit_review
  • Generic review submission form (product picker) for all products or a specific category—Use rr_submit_generic
Yes
bvproductId

Use when collecting CGC for a specific product. The parameter's value must match the product's ExternalId used in your product catalog.

Value: The product's ExternalId established in the product catalog

Required for specific product reviews (bvaction=rr_submit_review )
bvcategoryId

If you don't want to request CGC for a specific product, your ssURL can link to a generic review submission (product picker) page that displays all products in a specific category, as established in your product catalog.

Either this parameter or bvfamilyProductId is required if you want to display the generic review submission form. If you omit the bvcategoryId and bvfamilyProductId parameters, all active products are displayed on the generic review submission form.

Value: The category's ExternalId established in the product catalog

Required to open the generic review submission form (product picker) based on category

bvaction=rr_submit_generic is required if you specify this parameter.

bvfamilyProductId

If you don't want to request CGC for a specific product, your ssURL can link to a generic review submission (product picker) page that displays all products in a specific product family, as established in your product catalog.

Either this parameter or bvcategoryId is required if you want to display the generic review submission form. If you omit the bvcategoryId and bvfamilyProductId parameters, all active products are displayed on the generic review submission form.

Value: The product family established in the product catalog

Required to open the generic review submission form (product picker) based on product family

bvaction=rr_submit_generic is required if you specify this parameter.

bvcampaignId

Recorded with submissions that use this URL. The campaign ID is used to help segment data in reports to a specific campaign or campaigns. Bazaarvoice recommends you include this parameter; refer to the list of campaign IDs that are provided with Brand Edge.

Value: String of up to 255 characters created to identify the campaign

Recommended
bvuserToken

Used when the contributor is known but not necessarily logged in to the site, for example, during email campaigns. A maxage value typically is defined for the UAS.

Used to pre-authenticate a contributor in the ssURL. If you specify this parameter, Bazaarvoice strongly recommends you also include maxage=30 to ensure that the token valid for 30 days after the creation date. (Default maxage is one day.) If used with hosted authentication, this will prevent the contributor from receiving a verification email.

Value: A URL encoded user authentication string (UAS)

No
bvinjecteddata

Injects data into the submission form, such as answers to a submission form question. Locate the question and answer IDs in the Submission Form Editor in the Brand Edge configuration hub. Format is {"QuestionId": "AnswerId"}. For multiple question-answer pairs, separate each pair with a comma (no spaces are allowed outside of the quotes). Click here for examples.

You must encode the ssURL if you include this parameter. To encode the string, you can use a URL encoding tool, such as the one available on urlencode.org .

Value: URL encoded IDs, such as QuestionId and AnswerId

No

You can also use the Submission Link Generator to add parameters to the ssURL base.

Examples:

https://display.ugc.bazaarvoice.com/bvstaging/static/<client_name>/<site_ID>/<locale>/container.htm?bvaction=rr_submit_review&bvproductId=ProductID&bvcampaignId=CampaignID
https://display.ugc.bazaarvoice.com/bvstaging/static/<client_name>/<site_ID>/<locale>/container.htm?bvaction=rr_submit_review&bvproductId=B75&bvinjecteddata=%7B%22userlocation%22%3A%22Austin%2C%20TX%2C%20United%20States%22%7D
https://display.ugc.bazaarvoice.com/static/<client_name>/<site_ID>/<locale>/container.htm?bvaction=rr_submit_review&bvproductId=ProductID&bvcampaignId=CampaignID&bvuserToken=UASToken
https://display.ugc.bazaarvoice.com/bvstaging/static/<client_name>/<site_ID>/<locale>/container.htm?bvaction=rr_submit_review&bvproductId=B75&bvinjecteddata=%7B%22hostedauthentication_authenticationemail%22%3A%22samiam%40bazaarvoice.com%22%2C%22userlocation%22%3A%22Austin%2C%20TX%2C%20United%20States%22%2C%22usernickname%22%3A%22samiam123%22%7D

Step 3: Test the submission link

Bazaarvoice recommends that you test submission links in the staging environment as follows:

  1. Construct the ssURL to specify the staging environment. Here is an example:

    https://display.ugc.bazaarvoice.com/bvstaging/static/endurancecycles/en_US/container.htm?bvaction=rr_submit_review&bvproductId=apple1234&bvcampaignId=campaign1

  2. Edit the implementation (in staging) and then set the Use product pages option to Disabled in the Post-Interaction Email (PIE) section of the Settings » Email Configuration page of the configuration hub. This ensures that the submission form is displayed in the Bazaarvoice-hosted standalone container.
  3. Load the ssURL in a browser and verify that the form is displayed.

Set up same-page submission links for Ratings and Reviews

You can add same-page submission links to

  • Pages where you are hosting Bazaarvoice content
  • Pages where there is no Bazaarvoice content, such as a user’s account page.

Same-page submission links for pages with Bazaarvoice content

To add submission links to a page where Bazaarvoice content is hosted, add the appropriate submission link code. Insert the following JavaScript code on any page where you want to trigger the review submission form:

// Invoke review submission
$BV.ui('rr', 'submit_review', { productId : 'PRODUCTID' });

Same-page submission links for pages without Bazaarvoice content

To add links to a page where Bazaarvoice content is not hosted, add the appropriate submission link code and the following JavaScript code on the page, replacing <client_name>, <site_ID>, and <locale> with your values.

  • Use the following code for the staging environment (the staging environment is for testing and development and is typically only visible internally. Ensure each Bazaarvoice URL referenced in the code contains "/bvstaging" in the domain).

    <script type="text/javascript" src="https://display.ugc.bazaarvoice.com/bvstaging/static/<client_name>/<site_ID>/<locale>/bvapi.js"></script>
  • Use the following code for the production environment (the production environment is visible externally. Content in the production environment is visible on your live website).

    <script type="text/javascript" src="https://display.ugc.bazaarvoice.com/static/<client_name>/<site_ID>/<locale>/bvapi.js"></script>

Data injection

Data injection provides a way to send submission form data in a URL. You can pre-populate (“inject”) data for some fields on submission forms. Data injection uses a shared key plus hashing to validate the population of data, such as email addresses.

You might want to pre-populate data for the following reasons:

  • Help customers complete submissions more quickly. You can provide information you know about your customers—such as name, gender, age, or location—to make form completion faster and easier. By eliminating the need for users to enter repetitive details, you encourage a higher rate of reviews.
  • Provide data for reporting and analytics. You can tie reviews to specific data that exists in your CRM, such as an order ID. This information is not visible to your customers.
Note: Contact Bazaarvoice Client Care to enable data injection for your implementation if you have not already done so.

To inject data into a review submission form, you can link your product detail page or post-interaction email message to the submission form using the URL parameter bvinjecteddata; this will pre-populate the answer to the submission form question. When the contributor clicks a "Write a review" link, the link loads the submission form and the answer is pre-populated. You can also use a special URL to load a submission form directly with pre-populated answers.

Before beginning, be aware that review contributors can change the value being injected into the submission form by altering the URL. As a precaution, you cannot inject values into the following fields via a URL:

  • any rating field
  • review title
  • review text
  • whether the contributor recommends the product or service
  • whether the contributor agreed to the terms and conditions
  • net promoter score
  • comment text
Note: Contact Bazaarvoice Client Care to enable data injection for your implementation if you have not already done so.

Complete the following steps to inject data using hosted authentication:

  1. Use the configuration hub to add a question to the review submission form; the question must have at least one answer. This is the question into which you want to inject data.
  2. Find the question and answer IDs associated with the question field:
    1. Go to User Experience » Submission Form Editor.
    2. Click next to the question into which you want to inject an answer value. A Question Details window opens listing the question ID and IDs for all associated answer values, including those for custom-created questions.
    3. Note: Questions without multiple-choice answers, such as Order Number, have question keys but no integration IDs.
  3. Append the question ID and integration ID to one of the following types of URLs to test whether data is being injected properly:
    • A link to any product page that hosts your Bazaarvoice integration code
    • Any Bazaarvoice simple submission link that redirects to the page hosting the submission form

    All URL parameters to your pages must be URL-encoded . Manually encode your URLs using an online encoding application or encode them dynamically with the programming language used to create your site.

    Note: Test in private mode or a Google Chrome incognito window to ensure that the data has been injected, not merely repopulated by form memory.

The following example URLs request a web page that loads a review submission form. The examples show how to use the bvinjecteddata parameter to pre-populate fields on that form. The injected values are shown in italic. Refer to Submission form questions reference for information about injecting data without displaying it.

  1. Using the configuration hub, click Submission Form Editor under User Experience. Use this page to define the submission form questions for each category in your product feed.
  2. Click Agreements under User Experience. Review the Agreement Acceptance Text and content from your Agreement Text Source, consulting your legal team as necessary.
  3. Click Display Options under User Experience, and then click the Ratings & Reviews tab. Review the Review Guidelines Text.
  4. Update the default color of the side bar. Click Style Editor under User Experience, and then select Sidebar from the drop-down list in the Fonts section. Choose a color from the Font Color drop-down list.

If you need to create an ssURL, use the Submission Link Generator .