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Written by Caroline Cox on Feb 9 , 2021

The Google Seller Ratings ad extension could be the key to boosting your CTR & more.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why ratings and reviews matter 
  • How to garner more reviews for your brand
  • Steps to add reviews to your paid search ads
  • Common missteps to avoid

Across industries, new brands and products seem to crop up every day. Because of this, ratings and reviews have quickly become one of the top ways customers determine which offering might be right for them.

Data from the Content Marketing Institute and SmartBrief show that one-to-one peer recommendations, original research, and product reviews are the most influential content affecting purchase decisions. 

Looking to amp up your paid search performance? Adding reviews and ratings to your Google Ads might be just the ticket.

Using reviews and rating in ads can help your business gain trust and credibility with your target audience.

Using reviews and rating in ads can help your business gain trust and credibility with your target audience. (Image via Unsplash)

What are the benefits of using reviews and rating in ads?

Using reviews and ratings in your ads can be a great way to make your brand stand out. Think about it: You’re searching for a particular product or service. You see ads highlighting what each brand offers. Then there’s an ad with 5 out of 5 stars and a glowing customer testimonial. Which one is most likely to catch your eye?

Another benefit of using reviews and rating in ads: it can help your business gain trust and credibility. Nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase, according to Spiegel Research Center. They also report that displaying reviews can increase your conversion rates by up to 270%. 

While e-commerce businesses may be the first that come to mind when thinking about what industries benefit from reviews and ratings in ads, it’s certainly not the only one. As long as brands meet the guidelines below and have the ad extension active, they too could see an increased clickthrough rate (CTR) by adding Google Seller Ratings. 

Other industries who have seen success after including reviews and ratings into their ad campaigns include:

  • SaaS startups
  • Marketing and PR agencies 
  • Repair and other service-centered companies 
  • Healthcare facilities 
  • Financial brands

Using ratings and reviews is an effective way to sway customers’ final purchase decisions. A 2020 BrightLocal survey found that positive reviews make 94% of consumers more likely to use a business. Not only that, but 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations by friends or family members. 

Pro tip: Ads with extensions are charged just like normal ads clicks, so don’t worry about paying extra.

How do I add seller reviews and ratings to ads?

Google collects feedback from customers who have purchased a product or service from your site through their free Google Customer Reviews service. From there, the search engine allows you to include seller ratings as an automated extension type showcasing advertisers with high ratings.

The Google Customer Reviews service takes reviews customers leave on Google. They also work with other reputable review sites like Trustpilot and G2 to aggregate those reviews for inclusion. Since different sites use different metrics, Google rescales the ratings on a scale of 1-5 to compare reviews from different sources more easily, according to Trustpilot.

HawkSEM: Using Ratings & Reviews in Google Ads

Simplesa’s paid search ads include ratings.

You don’t need to have a Google Merchant Center account or Google Shopping ads running to use seller ratings extensions on Google’s Search Network. And if you no longer want seller ratings to show with your ads? Simply remove the extension.

Since this service is automated, you don’t need to do anything special to set it up after activating the extension. You do, however, need to meet certain qualifications before your reviews will show up, which brings us to…

What are the guidelines when it comes to reviews and rating in ads?

For ratings to show up in your Google Ads text ads, you must have an average composite rating of at least 3.5. (Though Google Shopping can show seller ratings of less than that.) Also, the ad’s visible URL domain must match the domain connected to the respective ratings. 

For seller ratings to show up in paid search ads on Google, they must meet one of these Google requirements in each country the ad is to be shown in:

  • At least 100 unique reviews for the country submitted within the last 12 months via Google Customer Reviews or a third-party review partner
  • Google or one of its partners has completed a research evaluation of your site
  • Google has evaluated of your site via Google Consumer Surveys

Things that could keep your seller ratings from being visible (along with there being no guarantee your ads show at all) include:

  • Not meeting the minimum seller requirements
  • Not having enough information for your business online
  • Having invalid or incorrect URLs as they relate to your reviews

How does Google obtain ratings?

Internally, Google incorporates data from Google Customer Reviews, Google Consumer Survey ratings, and shopping reviews for our store domain. They also pull reviews from other sites including:

  • Bizrate Insights 
  • Feedback Company 
  • PowerReviews 
  • ResellerRatings
  • Reviews.io
  • Shopper Approved
  • Trusted Shops
  • TrustPilot
  • Verified Reviews

Google calibrates the ratings from all these sources to ensure consistent ratings across the board.

FYI: While Google states that it doesn’t modify existing ratings, it does work to filter out untrustworthy or questionable ratings during the calibration stage. 

How do I get more ratings and reviews for my business?

It’s no secret that more reviews can result in increased sales, better rankings, and more revenue. The trick is getting them! 

There are a handful of different ways you can attract more ratings and reviews for your brand online. For starters, you can look into creating an email campaign. This campaign can be sent out to all current clients or can be segmented by those who meet a certain requirement, like a high average Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is a management tool that helps companies gauge the loyalty and happiness of a customer.

Even when emailing multiple people, personalization should be priority. Using templates can be a timesaver when creating email campaigns, but you don’t want your message to come off as impersonal or too automated. (After all, you’re essentially asking for a favor.) A token that pulls in each person’s name can make recipients feel like the message was tailored to them. 

Other ways to increase the amount of feedback or ratings for your business include baking these requests into customer phone call scripts or talk tracks. For service industries that rely heavily on building relationships, such as real estate, asking for a review after the transaction is common. 

Another way to increase ratings is by asking via your email signature. This is a non-intrusive way to request comments and ratings about your offerings. Be sure to include a link that goes directly to the place where the person can leave the review. This may increase the likelihood they’ll actually follow through.

Pro tip: While asking for reviews is perfectly acceptable, make sure not to fall into “bribery” territory by offering an incentive in exchange for a positive review. 

HawkSEM: Using Ratings & Reviews in Google Ads

Experiment with creative ad copy, consistent testing, and other relevant extensions like those for location, price, and promotion. (Image via Unsplash)

When should I not use ratings and reviews in ads?

Reviews and ratings can be a great way to stand out against your competitors — unless theirs are higher. If you’re hovering around 3.75 stars while your competition is displaying 5 out of 5, you might want to remove the extension until you’ve increased your score.

This doesn’t mean your ads won’t stand a chance. While you aim to amp up your reviews, you can still work on beating out similar brands in other ways. Experiment with things like creative ad copy, consistent testing, and other relevant extensions like those for location, price, and promotion.

Pro tip: You can check out your company’s seller rating profile (if applicable) by going to https://www.google.com/shopping/ratings/account/lookup?q={yourwebsite}.

The takeaway

Including your company’s ratings and reviews in your PPC ads can be just the boost you need to up your CTR and performance. It’s a simple way to make your paid search ads eye-catching, while showing your target audience that your brand is credible and trustworthy.

By meeting the proper requirements, staying on top of customer service, and ensuring your offering is high quality, you’ll garner reviews worthy of showing off.

This article has been updated and was originally published in March 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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