STAR POWER: Leveraging Seller Ratings for SEM - Challenge. Test. Grow. Small moves every day. | FRWD in Minneapolis MN

STAR POWER: Leveraging Seller Ratings for SEM

By April 19, 2017 Lead Content, SEM

So you want to boost your SEM click through rates? If you’ve optimized your search accounts to the moon and back and are still seeing stagnant click through rates, you’re in the right place. Here is the ultimate guide to making the most out of Seller Ratings for your paid search ads and the results you should expect to see.

WHAT ARE SELLER RATINGS?

Seller ratings are stars that appear next to your pay-per-click ads on Google, Yahoo, and Bing search engine ads. Seller ratings provide credibility and social proof that your product or business delivers great results by displaying your overall rating within your paid search ads. The goal of implementing seller ratings is to increase your click through rates and your site’s conversion rate.

HOW DO YOU GET SELLER RATINGS?

To get your star ratings, you’ll need to partner with one of 32 verified partners who work directly with Google and Bing to provide seller ratings for paid search ads. From there, you will send out a survey to gather customer feedback or take the performance from your Amazon customers and load that into your ad accounts.

Of these 32 providers, the more popular options include Verified Reviews, TrustPilot, Yotpo, ResellerRatings, and ShopperApproved. Most providers work off a monthly subscription service, however some are sold as packages and can be much more costly with plenty more benefits that extend beyond star ratings. Take into consideration the needs of your business and weigh that against the cost and benefit of seller ratings and how it will impact your ROAS (return on ad spend).

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GETTING STARTED WITH SELLER RATINGS

In most cases, the process is three-fold: collection, moderation, and publication.

COLLECTION: The first step is reaching out to your past customers and asking them to rate their experience from 1 to 5 stars via email. Past customers will also have the option to leave comments. In most cases you will have the option to tailor your message as you see fit with your provider, but the provider will ultimately be the one sending the surveys out. In order for your seller ratings to appear, Google requires 150 reviews in the past 12 months and Bing requires 35.

PUBLICATION: After receiving the minimum number of reviews and minimum average score, you can publish your reviews and the Seller Ratings will begin appearing next to your search ads.

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ENSURING EFFECTIVENESS OF SELLER RATINGS

Once you’ve got your ratings, there’s still no guarantee that they will appear with every ad. Seller ratings compete with other ad extensions and Google continually evaluates the performance of all ad extensions to determine which ones appear with your ads to maximize your clicks. A total of four extensions can appear on a single ad at any given time.

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If you are using four or more extensions, make sure you take the historical performance of these extensions into consideration as well. Seller ratings may not perform as well as some of your other ad extensions. You might consider identifying low performing ad extensions and disabling them to make room for seller ratings in Google’s equation.

HOW DO YOU EVALUATE SELLER RATINGS PERFORMANCE?

Leveraging star ratings is an investment and just like any investment, you should prove there is a return. To evaluate the performance of your star ratings, follow these steps in the Google AdWords interface:

  1. In the AdWords interface, go to the Ad Extensions Tab
  2. Open the drop down menu and click on Automated Extensions Report
  3. From here, you will be able to see how many ads showed with Seller Ratings (impressions, clicks, conversions, CTR, etc.)
  4. Cross-reference these metrics with your account metrics for your selected date range
  5. Compare CTR and conversion from all ads without seller ratings with all ads that contain seller ratings
  6. After making that analysis, you will be able to determine whether or not Seller Ratings are providing a positive return for your investment.

Final Thoughts

We’ve experienced positive results with the implementation of seller ratings. Many providers tout an expected increase in CTR by 17% and a conversion rate increase of 20%. Here are some results from a very recent test we conducted for a client which show a conclusive 19% increase in CTR. We don’t have enough conversion data yet to confidently measure the increase in conversion rate, but the early results look promising.

We’ve ultimately concluded that Seller ratings are a great way to give your SEM a new opportunity to capture your audience and increase engagement. For more information or help with your search marketing, contact us.