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Google Pushes Freshness With AdWords Seller Ratings Extension Change

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Google has been showing seller ratings and reviews for a while now, and with good reason. Consumers have responded to this information.

During the last holiday season, 75 percent of consumers said they looked for ratings and reviews prior to making a purchase. The idea that others found the product and services to be valuable helps create a sense of comfort for the consumer. It’s like asking hundreds or thousands of friends who aren’t worried about offending you.

In fact, the comScore and Facebook study, The Power of Like 2, found that 51 percent of users trust a stranger's opinion over their friends.

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So if Google’s been doing it for a while, and we already know it works, why should you care? Because at the beginning of September Google announced it was tweaking the way it shows ratings and reviews of brands.

Previously Google would show reviews for companies that had at least 30 reviews in its lifetime. Google found this process to not consider freshness, and any changes due to more recent reviews. So Google has changed it so that going forward only companies with at least 30 reviews during the past 12 months (and a four-star average) will be eligible.

This is yet another change that increases the importance of real time and fresh data. With so much being created and consumed online, anything stale seems to stick out like a sore thumb.

There will be two types of impacted brands from this change:

  1. Those companies with fewer ratings that no longer qualify, and lose the value of these reviews.
  2. Those companies with more recent strong (or weak) reviews will see their scores change.

Showing up in these ads is at Google’s discretion as long as you meet this criteria:

  • Your campaign must be opted in to Google search.
  • The customer must be searching on Google.com, Google.co.uk, Google.de, Google.fr, or Google.nl.
  • You must be an advertiser that provides customers with paid goods or services, or one that enables the buying or selling of products or services by way of a marketplace.
  • Your business must have at least 30 unique reviews, each from the past 12 months, and a composite rating of four stars or higher on Google Shopping.
    • At least 10 of these reviews must be in the customer's Google interface language.
    • Google Shopping seller ratings consist of an aggregate ratings score with snippets of customer reviews from third-party sites and Google Wallet.
  • You don't need to have a Google Merchant Center account for your ads to be eligible for seller ratings.

This update should reinforce the fact that no matter what type of marketing you're doing, the impact of customers is paramount. We as marketers exist because of our customers. This ad extension allows us to capture the power of those customers, or remind us how much work we have to do to improve.


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