Google's Trusted Store Ratings Appear In Paid Search, PLAs

Google has linked AdWords to its Trusted Store certification program. The service aims to highlight retailers that continuously provide an excellent shopping experience. Its technology integrates the seller's ratings into AdWords, updating the badge with information for shoppers. The ratings serve up in AdWords paid search text ads and product listing ads.

Qualifying merchants display a badge on their Web site the notifies consumers that the store has a great track record for delivering on time with stellar customer service.

Google advertisers displaying seller ratings in their ads typically see a boost in AdWords click-through rates, with higher ratings also resulting in higher CTRs, according to Brian Marquardt, group product manager of Google Shopping. "OnlineShoes measured a 4.2% sales increase from the Google Trusted Stores badge, and AutoAnything saw an increase of 5.2%," he writes in a blog post.

Marquardt explains that consumers who run into a problem with a purchase from a trusted store can work with Google to resolve the issue. The company will back these verified stores by offering $1,000 of free purchase protection.

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Becoming a Trusted Store means the merchant must integrate some backend systems with Google so it can monitor several aspects of shipping and customer-service performance. The store must share all necessary shipping and order data in a preferred format. Merchants need to provide Google with anonymous shipping and cancellation data for all orders via daily data feeds. It also must implement Google Trusted Stores code on all pages of the store, as well as estimated ship dates and order and item-level details in the JavaScript snippets on the store's order confirmation page.

Aside from the U.S., Google recently introduced pilot programs in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia.

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