Consumer Ratings Make For More Sociable Ads

Andy Darnell | March 18th 2014

As we all know, Google loves to test out a new ad extension or two to help improve the overall effectiveness of PPC ads. So given the growing influence reviews and social feedback are having at the moment, it’s no surprise to see that the latest development is focused around this particular area.

For some time now Google has been looking at the most effective ways to use the social recommendations that brands use to set themselves apart from the competition in what is becoming an increasingly cluttered paid search space.

Below we can see some of the various social/review-based ad extensions Google has tried in recent years.


Seller Ratings 

The visibility of Google “plus ones” and Seller Ratings were two of the first steps into awarding paid ads to reflect wider social feelings.

These were then followed by Review Extensions, which were designed to showcase positive third-party reviews from reputable sources: 

This brings us up to the latest of the lot, and this very much looks to be the natural next step on from the Seller Ratings. The big difference is that the new format allows much more detailed consumer opinion and feedback to be displayed than has been allowed before.

The consumer ratings serve to highlight one, or multiple, strongly rated aspects of the business. The example focuses on the insurance market:

Consumer Ratings

But the big question is what can we expect from this new extension? Well, clearly a big part of Google’s thinking is to help build and reinforce the brand’s reputation as this becomes more important than ever.

As we know, the Google ethos is that they are always looking to help the consumer in finding the most relevant ads in relation to their query and creating an atmosphere of trust and transparency. In this latest move, they are adding value in terms of helping give the consumer more information about the brand of the ad they are viewing.

While it has just finished a run as a beta test, initial reports are suggesting that they have seen up to a 10% increase in CTRs, which is music to any PPC bod’s ears!

To further back this up, in a report from Google, Brian Borkowski, Director of Digital Marketing at Farmer’s Insurance Group, says:

Consumer ratings annotations help us stand out from competitors and attract new customers. When we looked at our ads that displayed these ratings, we saw an increase in CTR, which speaks to the awareness, trust and impact from this format.

The data for these reviews will be getting taken from Google Consumer Surveys which provides a controlled platform for the sampling of consumer opinion.

Simon Wharton, Managing Director at PushON Ltd, had this to say about the new extensions:

This looks like a great innovation from guys at Google and we’re really confident that it will show some great results for our clients over the coming months. Aside from really helping build trust in a brand, we believe it could work really well in terms of identifying any areas where there might be a perceived weakness in a particular area of the company, such as customer service, attractiveness of discounts or any other area that companies are judged against their peers on.