A Peek Behind the Curtain: Consumer Ratings Added to Google Ads

By Sarah Wells | @Hanapin | Previous Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

When someone is searching for a product or service, feedback and reviews from others can be invaluable in helping them determine what to choose. There are usually a ton of options, and savvy consumers want to ensure they are making the best decision. Advertisers have long used feedback and ratings from consumers to enhance their message, and set their product or company apart from the other options.

Advertisers in PPC are no different. Within PPC, you’ve been able to add feedback through the review extension. This feedback, though, had to be based on a reputable third party. The review wasn’t as much from a consumer perspective, but from a trusted publication or company. Google just announced changes, though, to include customer feedback ratings in your ads.

What Has Changed

The new feature for ads will provide ratings from consumers. The data is collected based on a variety of aspects, which are customized for your industry (ex: rewards program for an airline, claims handling for insurance company, et). One, or more, of your highest rated company aspects will be featured in your ad. Here’s an example Google provided:

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Where Does the Data Come From?

It’s important to understand where the data comes from. As with anything, you want to make sure that you are getting a true picture of your overall consumer opinion. The data comes from Google Consumer Surveys. These surveys are a way to obtain consumer feedback. The ratings are based on at least a couple hundred surveys, usually over 1000. The ratings will also be continually updated to account for changes in the company and the overall opinion.

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Some types of surveys can skew the responses with only people that are extremely pleased, or extremely disappointed, taking the time to fill them out. Consumers are encouraged to fill out these surveys, though, by providing them with access to web content that interests them, or even credit for Google Play.

 How It Will Affect You

This new feature was tested in a beta, yielding a 10% increase in CTR, on average.  The feature helps in multiple ways by increasing your credibility and showing off your company’s best qualities.

If someone clicks on the ratings, a survey detail window pops up. From this window, they can see a more in-depth report of a variety of ratings, and there’s also a link to your homepage. Clicks on the rating to see the survey details are free. Clicks to your website from the survey window are free and not included in performance statistics.

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What You Need to Do

Unlike the review extensions, there is nothing you need to do to get the feedback added to your ads. They should start appearing in the next few days in some accounts, and slowing adding through the coming weeks. Once Google has obtained enough data, the ratings will show. You can contact them to express interest in the feature, though. You can also contact Google if you find that you don’t want the feature to show.

How to Use This

With the information given, it doesn’t sound like this feature will be as easily added/removed as other features are. It appears that it will be automatically added, and you will have to contact them to opt out of the ratings. Perhaps this will change in the future. If so, or if you are able to easily opt out of certain campaigns, it could be beneficial to test this feature. Depending on your consumer, and where they are in the purchasing cycle, the reviews could have a big impact. For other customers, or people who are in later steps of the decision/purchasing cycle, the ratings might not have a big effect. If you have your keywords broken down into campaigns based on the consumer’s readiness to buy, and where they are in the process, it might be beneficial to include this in some campaigns, but not others.

This update is another step in Google helping consumers learn more about the companies whose ads they are seeing. If performance proves to be similar to the average from the beta, CTR should see an increase for certain types of businesses and ads.

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