Google’s push to enhance its Product Listing Ads (PLA) meant providing a level of detail comparable to competitors like top online retailer Amazon.com and others. Among the choices Google made included the addition of product ratings to PLAs; those started in the US market with an eye on future expansion.
That expansion of product ratings in PLAs now reaches shoppers in the UK, France, and Germany, courtesy of the latest phase in Google’s rollout of that feature. This week the ratings and reviews became available in those select European markets.
“Since the US launch in July 2014, we’ve seen an average click-through rate increase of five percent on Product Listing Ads with product ratings,” Google said at Inside AdWords.
As with US merchants, those in the UK, France, and Germany who wish to make their product review content available on PLAs do so by sharing either with Google or with one of their approved third party aggregators.
The inclusion of product ratings and reviews has demonstrated positive benefits historically for online retailers. Before PLAs became part of the online advertising landscape, reviews and ratings resided only on the product pages of a given site. This user-generated content in one 2011 example cited by Marketing Sherpa found reviews boosting conversion rates by 125 percent when visitors interacted with that content.
PLAs simply expanded the reach of that valuable content, off of online sellers sites and out to their advertising networks. The appeal of these reviews to Google goes back to that timeframe as well, but in a different context.
As noted on the Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog, over the course of an antitrust investigation, the FTC alleged it found Google had scraped data from Amazon.comratings and reviews, to improve Google Shopping results.