Google, Bazaarvoice Forge Partnership To Serve Up Product Reviews
Through AdWords, Google has been experimenting with two types of ad formats known as product listing and product extensions. In the product extensions, for example, the plus sign near a sponsored or paid ad link will give people searching on a specific product more information in reviews.
Bazaarvoice powers product reviews for about 800 brands, such as Best Buy, Costco, Dell, Samsung, QVC, JC Penney, and Procter & Gamble (P&G). Bazaarvoice will feed full-text product reviews to Google on behalf of retailers and manufacturers. The integration of product reviews represents a first for Google; the service is made available through SyndicateVoice for Search.
Google will determine the results to serve up. Brant Barton, co-founder and chief innovation officer at Bazaarvoice, says Google has not disclosed the signals and algorithm the engine will use to determine the relevancy of results, but internal studies at Bazaarvoice suggest that reviews generate a higher click-through and conversion rate.
In fact, more than 80% of shoppers seek reviews when deciding whether or not to buy, putting social signals at the heart of most decisions, Barton says. "Social signals provide signals of authenticity and relevance from a source that the average consumer believes and trusts more than a marketer or brand," he says. "Data that consumers share in their social graph can be used to define more refined results."
Think of Bazaarvoice, a software as a service (SaaS) company, as a hub for the content and serves it to consumers based on browser signals from data centers that house servers.
The product review content aims to drive higher traffic from Google to the retailers' Web sites, as well as provide consumers with more choices for brands. Consumers get immediate access to opinions from other customers as they research purchases on Google and Google is able to bring search closer to the purchase process for Google users.
The partnership has been in the works for about four months. Most of the discussions have been on engineering and technology to prepare the foundation that allows Bazaarvoice to feed data to Google.
Barton admits that the relationship isn't exclusive and that the company will pass data to Google daily -- but declined to disclose the quantity, other than to say somewhere around "tens of millions of reviews" in the long term.