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Google announces AdWords Annotations to be Debuted in Canada, UK and US

Google has commenced a roll out of annotations to AdWords ads that give details of consumer ratings at the foot of each advertisement. These will initially appear on ads in Canada the United Kingdom and the United States. They will provide additional useful information for anyone performing a local search.

The extra information that will be given will be surveyed consumer ratings of the performance of the product or service being advertised. They will include a customer rating out of 10 for customer service, claims handling and frequency of discounts.

Google is pleased with the initial test results that indicated an improvement in click-through rates (CTR) from ads displaying the consumer ratings annotations. The increase in CTR averaged at 10 percent. The search engine is also testing a “More ratings” link.

Farmers Insurance Group Director of Digital Marketing, Brian Borkowski, said in a statement: “Consumer ratings annotations help us 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 this format.”

The data that supplies the ratings is from the Google Consumer Surveys (GCS) platform that went live in 2012. Each of the displayed ratings is from an average 1,000 opinions given by consumers. The survey is conducted through pop-ups that invite answers to questions on publisher sites. Google is confident that this is the best way to secure meaningful and honest consumer opinions avoiding reviews that are not genuine.

From the survey data Google has decided the brands to be included in the debut. The downside is that the only brands to be included are those with the threshold 1,000 consumer ratings; this tends to favor the larger companies.

Advertisers will have no influence over the annotations that appear on their ads, although it does seem there will be a choice to opt-out completely. This could have an influence on the viewer of an ad who might give more credence to one that has annotations over one that has none.

Several hundred advertisers will see these annotations appearing on their ads within a few days. Requests for inclusion can be made to Google.

This is bound to fully engage Internet marketing gurus who will be monitoring this initiative closely to see how it impacts AdWords campaigns.

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