Nothing stays the same forever, does it? Google made an announcement earlier this week via the Inside AdWords blog regarding their seller rating extensions and how those would start populating moving forward. We’re going to take a look at the update to these extensions and what it means for advertisers. Pencils ready?

The Announcement

The original seller rating extensions rolled out over two years ago and have stayed pretty much the same ever since. Well, it’s facelift time! The format for these extensions is staying the same, but what makes a seller qualify for these extensions is changing slightly.

In the past, the requirement was that the seller needed at least 30 reviews in the history of their account and they needed to have an average 4-star rating within those reviews. Seller rating extensions were pulled from the seller’s merchant star rating in Google Product Search. The extra bonus here was that if a searcher clicked on your review link, the click was free! Clicks to the headline were still charged (wah wah wahhhh). However, this was a feature sellers were automatically opted in to, assuming they met the qualification requirements. In case you’re living under an incredibly heavy rock and haven’t seen what these ads look like (PS-Go White Sox! Important couple of weeks coming up…):

Google Seller Rating ExtensionsMost of that is staying the same; clicks to your review link are still free of charge and you will still automatically be opted in to this feature if you meet the requirements. However, those requirements have been updated.

The new qualifications require the seller to have at least 30 reviews over the last 12 months, as well as maintaining a 4-star average. Doesn’t seem like a drastic change, but could it be?

What Does This Mean for Sellers/Advertisers?

The main impact of this update will obviously be felt among those sellers who haven’t kept up on getting their consumers to review them. Many online shoppers are focused on getting in and getting out to make their purchase, since that’s the glory of online shopping. No in-store sales people to deal with, etc. Back when these extensions were first introduced, you could see an influx of advertisers urging their customers to review their site, checkout process, prices, and the list goes on. That urgency then passed once 30 reviews had been received and the ratings began populating.

This could be a good time for merchants to get back on the review saddle and urge their customers to begin reviewing their site again. Friendly reminder links on the ‘Thank You’ page? Coupon codes for use on next purchase if they review the site? Simply place some copy in your ads about being eager for reviews? No matter how you choose to tackle this as an advertiser, it’s now going to take continual thought and work to maintain your seller rating extensions. No more resting on your reviews-past-laurels!

Overall, some advertisers who had been seeing higher click-throughs and/or conversions after the seller ratings were first introduced may see a decrease if those reviews and stars go away, as consumers could be less enticed to click without the information provided via this extension.

Ok, But Do Those Extensions Even Help?

The biggest objection to changing up methods of advertising to accommodate features such as the seller rating extensions will always be: “Ok, but what will it get me?” The bottom line is always revenue and sales, so do these extensions really help that number push up and to the right? Or is time better spent elsewhere? Proof is in the puddin’, ya’ll.

Google did some digging in their data and found that merchants and advertisers who have ads with seller ratings showing get as much as a 17% bump in click-through rate. More clicks should almost always mean more sales, as long as you’re effectively analyzing your checkout funnels and attacking conversion rate optimization, as needed. Considering all you need to do is politely ask your customers for reviews and do your best to keep your star rating up to over a 4 average, a 17% increase in CTR seems worth it to me!

Any of our readers noticing your seller rating extensions going away? Did you see a drop in metrics as a result? Or maybe you’ve just recently been opted in to the seller rating extension…have you seen an increase in clicks or conversions? Share your ideas and experiences with us in the comment section below! As always, thanks for reading and let us know if there are any extension-related topics you’d like to see covered in the future!