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Adwords Consumer Ratings Puts Brand Perception in PPC Ads

March 17, 2014 Digital Media Solutions

Adwords Ratings - Auto InsuranceLast week, Google announced the launch of consumer ratings annotations in AdWords. These annotations place consumer ratings within paid search text ads providing users additional information from which to make their click decision. A click on one of the ratings opens a survey detail window with in-depth details and a link to the advertiser’s homepage. Clicks on the rating and to the advertiser website are free (no cost per click charged) and are not included in performance statistics.

The consumer ratings, which highlight one or more strongly rated aspects of a business (poor ratings will not be shown), are based on hundreds of Google-commissioned, industry-specific surveys (managed through Google Consumer Surveys, of course) to collect consumer feedback on businesses for which they have experience. (A screening question verified the experience.) Every rating used within the consumer ratings annotations is based on “at least hundreds of completed surveys, with the average above 1000,” according to the Google AdWords blog. Google plans to refresh the consumer ratings regularly to keep the data current.

We all know that consumers are increasingly relying on the opinions and experience of others when making product or service decisions. A Search Engine Land survey from last summer tells us:

  • 85% of consumers say they read online reviews for local business
  • 73% of consumers say positive consumer reviews make them trust a business more
  • 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

So it’s fair to assume this additional information will be appreciated by Google searchers. In fact, Google’s initial testing with beta advertisers showed a 10 percent increase in click through rates for ads with consumer ratings annotations.

In general, for retail and service industries that have specific aspects consumers want to see highly rated (customer service, rewards program, shipping practices, etc.), the new consumer ratings annotations may greatly impact search campaign performance. In an ever-increasing competitive marketplace, being able to showcase positive customer experiences can help an ad stand out, increasing click through rates.

For the EDU industry, we’re expecting a positive impact as well. The education industry survey questions were related to course availability, transfer credits, value and overall satisfaction. The inclusion of strong ratings has the potential to significantly boost ad performance, especially because it helps overcome other ad copy constraints.

However, due to the system for acquiring the rankings (the Google-commissioned surveys), there is a possibility that larger institutions may have more survey results than smaller schools. This situation could result in more opportunity for larger schools to promote their differentiating factors and an uneven playing field for smaller schools.

As availability expands (Google is utilizing a methodological roll out), we will be working with our school partners to implement consumer ratings annotations into their search campaigns. In the meantime, we will be monitoring performance so we can report back to our blog readers.

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Founded by a team of lifelong athletes, Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. The company’s set of proprietary assets and capabilities in the world of performance marketing and marketing technology allow clients to meticulously target and acquire the right customers. DMS relentlessly pursues flawless execution for top brands within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, careers and automotive.

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