Google Starts Rolling Out Consumer Rating Annotations For Search Ads

Opinions. Some people put a lot of weight behind them when making a purchase decision, especially when backed by aggregated data from hundreds of completed surveys. Google this week will roll out consumer rating annotations. The new format will become part of search ads to provide detailed consumer opinion data in search results.

Tests have shown that consumer ratings annotations can increase click-through rates (CTR) by 10% on average, per Google. Brian Borkowski, director of digital marketing at Farmers Insurance Group, told Google that ratings annotations help the company 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 the format.

How will the annotation influence future results in non-search engine queries? That's what marketers need to start thinking about. How will the annotation influence the information consumers see in a connected car, in a store window after the electronics in a mobile device in the consumer's purse sends a signal to electronic readers in a store window? Although it is not available today, because marketers don't have enough interaction with engineering and new product development departments within their organization, the technology is available and it's all possible.

Today, the annotations highlight industry-specific ratings based on consumer surveys. It may show one to three of the best survey scores below the search ad text, along with a Ratings link. People can click on the word Ratings to see more details of the survey scores.



The survey ratings are based on categories. The annotation for an airline might highlight the rewards program, while an insurance company might focus on claims. AdWords runs surveys through Google Consumer Surveys. At least hundreds, but in most cases more than a thousand people, are surveyed for each business.

The ratings are specific to the country, so people searching on will see ads with consumer ratings for the United States vs. people searching on, which will see ads with consumer ratings from U.K. brands only. Today, the ratings are only available in English, but that might change.

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