Product Ratings Added to Google Shopping
On July 29th, Google implemented product ratings for Google Shopping Product Listing Ads (PLAs).
Shoppers will now see ratings based on the standard Google five star system as well as the number of reviews for that particular product on a line directly below the PLA. These ads will be compiled from merchants, third party aggregators, editorial sites as well as users themselves.
Google added this functionality in the hope that these ratings will differentiate products and drive more qualified traffic through PLAs. Through initial tests, ratings have increased the click-through-rates of these ads.
For the first few months (July through October) Google will be including product reviews for all PLAs where review data is available. After that time, Google will only be showing reviews for those merchants who actively choose to opt in.
If you’d like to opt in you can use this form to submit your company’s review information and check this page for the list of approved third party aggregators.
Reviews are an important step in the purchase process for many shoppers. Not only does it add another line to your ad, but the reviews are colorful and help your ad stand out. Opting in to this new feature could be very important in improving click-through-rates. Additionally, your customers will have more information and will be more willing to convert.
The biggest question is whether enabling reviews for a product with an average rating will be better or worse than ones with no rating at all. If there is no rating for just one of the PLAs that appear for a given search, customers will be wary and might view it more negatively than an average rating. On the other hand, if all the products that appear alongside yours have 4 and a half or 5 stars, then your 3 star rating will likely compare poorly and might not get any clicks. This new variation will need to be taken into account for Google Shopping campaign performance.
Finally, some ads show special offers in the place of reviews. Special Offers are likely a stronger call to action, but it is certainly an interesting tradeoff to consider.
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