Sitelinks, the first Google ad extension, was introduced in 2009. They enabled advertisers to expand the total size of their text ads while also providing additional links to the advertiser’s website.
In the ten years that followed these original ad extensions, Google rolled out an additional ten manual and automated extensions and two automated-only extensions.
Manual extensions require that advertisers set them up within Google Ads before they can show up in the actual ad.
Automated extensions require no set up on the advertiser’s part – Google Ads these automatically based on system predictions of performance.
Since ad extensions only appear beneath the main body of the ad at Google’s discretion, there’s no easy way to preview an ad with the extensions included, thus it’s challenging for Google Ads managers and agencies to explain to clients what their actual ad might look like to searchers.
This inspired me to create an in-depth, fully illustrated guide of Google’s ad extensions.
What follows is a summary of this guide which includes samples of the top four ad extensions and how they appear on either mobile or desktop devices. The full guide is available here.
The importance of ad extensions
Google’s data shows that ad extensions increase CTR by as much as 15%, though, in my experience, it can often be much higher than this.
Extensionless ads are smaller and take up less space, so they tend to get fewer clicks.
The ad on the left is what the ad preview looks like in Google’s desktop ad editor. There’s no easy way to view the ad as it might appear with extensions, as shown on the right. When looking at the ads side-by-side, the ad on the right is larger and contains more information about the business, including the street address and phone number for mobile users.
The top four ad extensions
Not every ad extension is appropriate for every advertiser. Shopping extensions, for example, can only be used to showcase products on ecommerce websites while App extensions are only appropriate for businesses who have a mobile app they want to sell or promote.
However, there are four ad extensions that are appropriate for most businesses and should absolutely be leveraged to add more information to your ads and expand the ad’s overall size. They are:
The original ad extension, sitelinks are a powerful way to add more links to your ads. Each sitelink can contain up to 25 characters in the link text plus a two-line description totaling 140 characters per link. As with most ad extensions, Google selects which sitelinks and how many will appear with each ad and will show two to six sitelinks per ad.
2. Callout extensions
Callouts are short snippets of text that can be up to 25 characters. They can be used to highlight business selling points and features (for example, “Open 24 Hours”). They appear directly beneath the ad description and above the sitelinks.
Google shows two to six callout extensions per ad, though the specific number of callouts varies based on what Google feels are the most relevant (and likely to get clicked on) callouts.
3. Call extensions
Call extensions allow advertisers to append a phone number to an ad without including it in the body of the ad text (in fact, your ad may get rejected if you try to include a phone number directly in the body of the ad). Phone numbers using call extensions are clickable on mobile devices, allowing users to tap on a phone icon to call the business directly (rather than clicking through to a landing page).
4. Structured snippets
A structured snippet is basically a list of products, services, or other elements that help define a company’s offerings more clearly to consumers. There are thirteen different types of structured snippets, some of which are only appropriate for specific businesses. For example, “neighborhoods” for local businesses or real estate, and “degree programs” for schools.
The above extensions are easy to create in the Google Ads interface or using the Google Ads Editor, a free desktop tool that allows advertisers to easily create and manage Google Ads accounts offline from a computer.
The complete illustrated guide to Google Ads extensions contains many more visual examples of automated and manual ad extensions (including some of the more obscure extensions). It can help provide some clarity behind how the different extensions look on both mobile and desktop devices.
Is your ad not showing? Check out the top 10 reasons why your ads may not be showing in Google. Start working your way down the list!
Read more at PPCHero.com
The app industry shows no signs of slowing down, with 194 billion downloads in 2018 and over $ 100 billion in consumer spending. People spend 90% of their mobile time in apps and more time using their mobile devices than watching TV. In other words, apps aren’t just a way to spend idle hours — they’re a big business. And one that often seems to change overnight. In this new Extra Crunch series, we’ll help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps — including everything from the OS’s to the apps that run upon them, as well as the money that flows through it all.
This week, alternatives to the traditional app store is a big theme. Not only has a new, jailbreak-free iOS marketplace called AltStore just popped up, we’ve also got both Apple and Google ramping up their own subscription-based collections of premium apps and games.
Meanwhile, the way brands and publishers want to track their apps’ success is changing, too. And App Annie — the company that was the first to start selling pickaxes for the App Store gold rush — is responding with an acquisition that will help app publishers better understand the return on investment for their app businesses.
AltStore is an alternative App Store that doesn’t need a jailbreak
An interesting alternative app marketplace has appeared on the scene, allowing a way for developers to distribute iOS apps outside the official App Store, reports Engadget — without jailbreaking, which can be difficult and has various security implications. Instead, the new store works by tricking your device into thinking you’re a developer sideloading apps. And it uses a companion app on your Mac or PC to re-sign the apps every 7 days via iTunes WiFi syncing protocol. Already, it’s offering a Nintendo emulator and other games, says The Verge. And Apple is probably already working on a way to shut this down. For now, it’s live at Altstore.io.
Very excited to officially announce AltStore: an alternative app store for iOS — no jailbreak required. Launching this Saturday, September 28, but you can download the preview TODAY https://t.co/M7nULBV28p
— Riles (@rileytestut) September 25, 2019
For the third time in a month, Google mass-deleted Android apps from a big Chinese developer.
Does Google Play have a malicious app problem? That appears to be the case as Google has booted some 46 apps from major Chinese mobile developer iHandy out of its app store, BuzzFeed reported. And it isn’t saying why. The move follows Google’s ban of two other major Chinese app developers, DO Global and CooTek, who had 1 billion total downloads.
Google Firebase gets new tools
This move is part of Google’s overall investment in expanding the physical footprint of its data centers. Only a few days ago, after all, the company announced that, in the next two years, it would spend $ 3.3 billion on its data center presence in Europe alone.
Google Cloud currently operates 20 different regions with 61 availability zones. Warsaw, like most of Google’s regions, will feature three availability zones and launch with all the standard core Google Cloud services, including Compute Engine, App Engine, Google Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Bigtable, Cloud Spanner and BigQuery.
To launch the new region in Poland, Google is partnering with Domestic Cloud Provider (a.k.a. Chmury Krajowej, which itself is a joint venture of the Polish Development Fund and PKO Bank Polski). Domestic Cloud Provider (DCP) will become a Google Cloud reseller in the country and build managed services on top of Google’s infrastructure.
“Poland is in a period of rapid growth, is accelerating its digital transformation, and has become an international software engineering hub,” writes Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian. “The strategic partnership with DCP and the new Google Cloud region in Warsaw align with our commitment to boost Poland’s digital economy and will make it easier for Polish companies to build highly available, meaningful applications for their customers.”
Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer have merged. Now Google Website Optimizer, a free A/B and Multi-variate testing tool, is available in Google Analytics via Experiments link under Content Section (see image below).
You can create and manage all your tests within Google Analytics without going to Google Website Optimizer site.
Functionality Difference between Experiments and Google Website Optimizer
- Easy Implementation – Since you already have Google Analytics on your site, now you will need one script to put on the original version, rest of the work will be done by standard Google analytics script.
- No Multivariate Testing Anymore – There is no option to run MVT and only allows A/B testing in the “Experiments”
The last day you’ll be able to access Google Website Optimizer will be August 1st, 2012
We will add more posts as we uncover new functionality in Experiments.
More Diversity in Search Results
Earlier this year, we were told that Google was making an effort to make the search results we see more diverse, by showing us fewer results from the same domains in response to a query. Search Engine Land covered that news with the post: Google search update aims to show more diverse results from different domain names.
Shortly before that news about more diverse results in organic search came out, Google was granted a patent in May which told us about how they might enforce category diversity in showing different points of interest in local search results, This post is about that effort to make local search results more diverse.
More Diversity At Google in 2013, in Past Search Results
Back in 2013. Google’s Former Head of Web Spam, Matt Cutts, published a video about more diverse search results in response to the question, Why does Google show multiple results from the same domain?
So this isn’t the first time we have heard about efforts from Google in trying to give us more diverse results, and they came out with a patent around that time to provide more diverse results as well.
I remember getting a phone call around 6 years ago from a co-worker who asked me why a client’s high ranking organic result might disappear from search results. I asked for the query and the client’s name and ran the search. The top-ranking result was a local result for the client. I told my co-worker that I was seeing that, and she told me that our client also used to have an organic result showing for that query, and a local result that wasn’t quite as high. It appeared that the organic result had been removed, and the local result had been boosted.
Coincidentally, I had written the following blog post the day before: How Google May Create Diverse Search Results by Merging Local and Web Search Results. I told my co-worker about the patent I had written about the day before, and sent her a link to that blog post. We were able to explain to our client what appears to have happened to their organic result for that query, that it looks like Google’s desire to have more diverse search results cause their page ranking organically was “merged” with the local result.
Category Diversity in a Patent Granted in 2019
I hadn’t seen anything quite like that merger between organic results and a local result happen again after that. It is impossible to tell if Google has been using that kind of merging since then. But that patent was all about providing more diverse search results to searchers. So when I see a patent, like this new one that tells us it exists to provide more diverse search results, I find myself wondering what, if anything could have been removed to make search results more diverse. If someone searches for “things to do in Carlsbad, California,” and they are provided with a list of restaurants to eat at, that would be disappointing, because while there are some nice restaurants here, there are plenty of other things to do.
By expanding to a category diversity from a diversity-based upon pages from the same domain, Google is giving us more diverse search results.
This new patent tells us about this category diversity in the following way:
When a searcher asks for points of interest information at a certain location, the local search system may generate a collection of candidate POIs and receives information relating to each candidate POI’s respective category and a score and rank within the category for each, and, for categories a searcher may select, promotes or demotes the score of each ranked candidate POI within its respective category through a scaling process.
It really is impossible to tell if Google has already implemented this patent which was granted in May. I tried some searches at different places to see if they showed diverse results for those places, and was given diversity in what I was being shown:
When I search for [points of interest Raleigh, NC], I get results that start out with a carousel of top things to do in Raleigh:
When I search for ][points of interest Carlsbad, Ca], I get results that start with a carousel of top things to do in Carlsbad:
I wasn’t surprised to see carousels for those particular queries, and I tried a few more, worded a little differently, which didn’t trigger carousels. The patent doesn’t mention carousels, though. But those results do show some category diversity.
The patent does provide a lot of details on how Google might demote some listings that are in categories that are over-represented, and promote some listings that are associated with categories that are under-represented.
The summary of the patent gives us the process behind it in a nutshell, telling us that the method behind it, includes receiving a request to:
Identify points of interest (POIs),
Obtaining data identifying
- Candidate points of interest (POIs) that satisfy the request
- A respective category associated with each candidate POI
- A non-scaled score associated with each candidate POI, ranking, for each of one or more of the categories, the candidate POIs associated with the category, based on the respective non-scaled scores, scaling, for each of the one or more categories, the non-scaled scores of the ranked candidate POIs associated with the category, ranking the candidate POIs using the scaled scores, for the candidate POIs that are associated with the one or more categories, and the non-scaled scores, for the candidate POIs that are not associated with the one or more categories, and providing data that identifies two or more of the candidate POIs, as ranked according to the scaled scores and the non-scaled scores
It goes on to provide much more depth about how category diversity might be achieved. And reading through it, it makes sense, that in an area where you may have a variety of 30-50 places that someone might want to visit, and five of those are Italian Restaurants, and the rest include other kinds of restaurants, museums, parks, beaches, theatres, stores, playgrounds, stadiums, nightclubs. You wouldn’t want to just tell a potential visitor to that location that there are five Italian Restaurants there and nothing about the diversity of other kinds of places.
Here is a little richer description of how Google may go about enforcing category diversity in response to requests for information about points of interest at different locations:
- Selecting, as the one or more categories, one or more categories that are each associated with more than a predetermined number of candidate POIs the predetermined number is two
- The method includes selecting, as the one or more categories, one or more categories that are each associated with one or more candidate POI
- Scaling, for each of the one or more categories that are associated with only one candidate POI, the non-scaled score of the ranked candidate POI associated with the category comprises multiplying the non-scaled score of the ranked candidate POI associated with the category by a factor of one
- Scaling the non-scaled scores of the ranked, candidate POIs includes increasing the respective non-scaled scores of the top n ranked candidate POIs
- Scaling the non-scaled scores of the ranked, candidate POIs includes leaving unchanged the non-scaled scores of one or more of the top n ranked candidate POIs
- Scaling the non-scaled scores of the ranked, candidate POIs includes decreasing the non-scaled scores of one or more of the top n ranked candidate POIs
- Dynamically determining a scaling factor to use to scale one or more non-scaled scores of the ranked, candidate POIs of a particular category based on a non-scaled score associated with a top ranked candidate POI of a different category; and/or the method includes dynamically determining a scaling factor to use to scale one or more non-scaled scores of the ranked, candidate POIs of a particular category based on a quantity of the candidate POIs of the particular category identified in the data.
That is a fairly complex approach to achieve diversity of results, but it seems to be one that will provide results that are truly diverse.
The patent on category diversity for local results can be found at:
Enforcing category diversity
Inventors: Neha Arora, Ke Yang, Zuguang Yang
Assignee: Google LLC
US Patent: 10,289,648
Granted: May 14, 2019
Filed: November 14, 2016
Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on a computer storage medium, for enforcing the category diversity or sub-category diversity of POIs that are identified in response to a local search. According to one implementation, a method includes receiving a request to identify points of interest (POIs), obtaining data identifying (i) candidate points of interest (POIs) that satisfy the request, (ii) a respective category associated with each candidate POI, and (iii) a non-scaled score associated with each candidate POI, and ranking, for each of one or more of the categories, the candidate POIs associated with the category, based on the respective non-scaled scores. The method also includes scaling, for each of the one or more categories, the non-scaled scores of the ranked candidate POIs associated with the category, ranking the candidate POIs using the scaled scores, for the candidate POIs that are associated with the one or more categories, and the non-scaled scores, for the candidate POIs that are not associated with the one or more categories, and providing data that identifies two or more of the candidate POIs, as ranked according to the scaled scores and the non-scaled scores.
If I didn’t mention this patent, you may not have noticed a need for it. If it didn’t exist, and every time someone searched for something like [things to do in Carlsbad], and the same 5 Italian Restaurants showed up as things to do in town, you would notice that there isn’t much diversity.
I do find myself wondering what isn’t being included in These local results that are enforcing category diversity, but I do like seeing that diversity.
And if I want to see all of the local Italian Restaurants in the area, I can try another search for just for [Italian Restaurant].
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The post How Google Enforces Category Diversity for Some Local Search Results appeared first on SEO by the Sea ⚓.
For the longest time, Google Fi didn’t play the unlimited calls, text and data game and instead focused on offering pretty affordable and flexible plans with a price cap of $ 80 (before taxes and government fees). Today, however, Google is introducing Fi Unlimited, which, as you’ve probably figured out from the name, is more akin to a traditional ‘unlimited’ plan from other carriers.
Fi Unlimited plans start at $ 70 for the first line. For families, you can also opt to pay $ 60 per line for 2 lines, $ 50 per line for 3 lines or $ 45 per line for 4 to 6 lines (excluding taxes and fees). That’s pretty much in line with the unlimited plans from other carriers, though they all come with their own limitations, special services and may feature different (and often more substantial) family discounts.
“Since Fi’s launch in 2015, we’ve had one plan, the Fi Flexible plan, that gives you the flexibility to pay for just the data you use,” writes Fi product manager Dhwani Shah. “As we’ve grown, we’ve heard that many of you want the simplicity and predictability that comes with paying the same price each month. So today, for the first time ever, Fi is adding a second plan: our Google Fi Unlimited plan.”
If you’re also a happy Fi user and like the old plan, don’t panic. A Google spokesperson has told us that Google will continue to offer the existing flexible plan, too.
Unlimited, of course, is never quite unlimited, so Google will cap your speed after you use 22GB of data in a given month (only 1% of Fi users currently do so, the company says) and it ‘may’ cap video quality at 480p. Like with the company’s other Fi plans, there are no contracts or activation fees.
There are some positives, too, though. You’ll get free international calls from the U.S. to 50 countries and territories and you’ll still get Fi’s unlimited data and text in 200 countries. Every unlimited plan also includes a Google One membership with 100 GB of cloud storage and live support for all Google products, as well as Google’s new phone backup service. There are also no limits on hotspot usage.
As always, you’ll need a compatible phone to make Fi work for you.
The maximum you’ll pay for Fi’s flexible price is $ 80 per month after you’ve used more than 6 GB of data. So there’s a tradeoff here. You’ll pay a fixed price for every unlimited line, even if you only use 1 GB of data, but you’ll pay a predictable price and you’ll get a discount for activating multiple lines, as well as a few other goodies.
Google Ads has recently announced that it now allows ads to be served for queries that it understands to share the same meaning on broad modified and phrase match keywords.
For bigger advertisers, this is probably not a huge concern, as they are not limited by budget. Being visible for a wider range of search terms without having to add thousands of keyword variations can only be a good thing.
But what about those with limited budgets, and those in niche industries that need to target very specific keywords?
While there will undoubtedly be challenges to overcome in light of these changes, there are also likely to be opportunities.
1. Spend may increase
An increase in impressions is likely to equate to more clicks, which is fine if these clicks go on to convert. But with Google determining how relevant a search term is to the keywords in your campaigns, just how much could spend skyrocket if left unchecked?
Neil Andrew from AdTech startup PPC Protect, says:
“These changes are definitely going to result in a massive increase in irrelevant and even invalid traffic on Google Ads accounts that aren’t actively managed/monitored. Our internal analysis on this shows up to 20% increases in budget usage from the change in broad/phrase match keywords, the vast majority of which isn’t relevant to a conversion action. As a SaaS platform provider, we are in a unique position to analyse this.
We have over 35,000 Google Ads accounts connected to our system currently, and we have had a number of users notice an uptick in both wasted spend and irrelevant traffic. We’ve also seen a large share of this traffic be invalid – mostly from bot activity and competitor clicking activity. It seems like narrow niche targeting is getting tougher to achieve by the day.”
2. Impressions may be wasted on irrelevant search terms
If you’re using a target impression share bid strategy, now might be the time to review it as this might impact impression share metrics.
Impressions may now include ads triggered by keywords that Google determines to have the same meaning (unless they are added as negatives). Just how much impression share is Google going to give to variants, rather than the keywords actually in the campaign?
3. Irrelevant terms/keywords would need to be revisited and reviewed
Ads showing for irrelevant terms/keywords that are already in the account that were tested earlier and paused due to poor performance are a major bugbear of mine.
I’ve noticed keywords that have been tested previously, and paused, can still be shown as a close match. So if you have keywords that you’ve paused because they historically haven’t worked well, you’ll now need to check if Google is still serving ads for the keyword and exclude it.
This means you’ll end up with keywords that state both added and excluded.
4. More time will need to be spent on analyzing search term reports and building negative keyword lists
Yes, analyzing search term reports is absolutely something that all PPC managers should be doing on a regular basis. However, having to check search term reports daily to exclude the keywords an advertiser doesn’t want to serve ads for is going to be time-consuming, especially on large accounts, taking time away from managing and optimizing other aspects of a campaign.
Sam Kessenich, Chief Digital Officer, RyTech, is already noticing impressions ramp up.
“Regarding the most recent changes to keyword targeting, without a doubt, these changes will increase impressions and clicks across almost every campaign. We’re noticing an increase across all search campaigns due to this change, and are being forced to do daily or weekly negative keyword additions when keywords don’t match goals. Proper negative keyword research and search term monitoring is the most effective strategy we can do before accounts launch and as accounts are running.”
5. Building ad groups with single keywords just got a lot more difficult
A great way to have control over a campaign at a very granular level is to build single keyword ad groups (SKAG). This strategy allows for highly focused ad copy and landing pages, and as a result, quality scores for this type of campaign are high.
Carolina Jaramillo, Paid Media Manager at POLARIS explains why this strategy will no longer be as effective.
“I’m a big fan of creating SKAG structured campaigns, and this new change might make it more difficult to protect the single keyword ad group structure. Consequently, due to this new change, how will we be able to optimise ad copy for a single keyword when this keyword is liable to match a wide range of different queries? Although I am interested to see how Google will look for opportunities to expand our reach to serve ads for relevant queries as they say in their update, and as they state 15% of searches we see every day are new, we will have to wait and see how this change will affect our clients’ Google Ads campaigns.”
So, can any good come of these changes?
1. May reveal new keywords that were not previously targeted which actually convert
Not everyone searches the same. So coming up with a comprehensive keyword list that captures every single potential search term a user might enter to find your products and services is nigh-on impossible. Keyword research can only take you so far.
With this in mind, showing ads for searches that share the same intent may provide a great opportunity to track down some high converting keywords, which may have otherwise been overlooked.
Haley Anhut, PPC Manager at Clean Origin thinks there are benefits of Google showing not only for close variants but also conceptually related keywords.
“I have already seen some very smart close variants triggering existing keywords. Whether these keywords can be left alone, included within an existing ad group or a new ad group created around those keywords for highly targeted ad copy; all offer a great way to expand your campaign reach and performance. The greater the awareness of a consumer’s journey to conversion, and how that journey functions within the search funnel, allows for a highly tactical approach when reaching consumers. With more data at our fingertips, we can enhance campaign optimization strategy and expand reach through relevant searches.”
2. Will save time creating granular ad groups
As Google is capable of understanding when search terms mean the same thing, and will serve ads as a result, you no longer need to worry about including the keywords within that ad group in the ad copy. While it’s not yet clear how showing ads for close match and intent-based variations of your keywords will impact metrics like ad relevancy, this catch-all approach could save time when it comes to creating granular ad groups containing just a couple of keywords for every campaign.
Coupled with a feature like keyword insertion, this could be a powerful way of increasing reach on low impression campaigns while making the ads more relevant to the user’s search term with minimal effort.
3. Top tips and advice from PPC managers
Rather than panic, you should be proactive in preparing for this change and keep a very close eye on your accounts as it begins to roll out.
“Broad and phrase match CPCs are increasing because there are more campaigns competing for the same keywords now. A good tactic is to allocate a portion of the daily budget to the new phrase match and broad match parameters and see which keywords are resulting in low CPCs and high CTRs. Those keywords can then be optimized into ‘exact matches.’ Overall, this change makes keyword research much more important now because a higher value will lie in ‘exact match’ keywords.”
Haris Karim, Lead Digital Strategist at MAB.
“To avoid the negative effects of unwanted reach, skew towards more specific match types like exact match, although exact match already allows same-meaning close variant targeting so that is not as specific as it once was, too. In addition to this, make sure you are using a robust negative keyword strategy to avoid showing for unwanted queries. Lastly, review your search term reports regularly to ensure your impressions are relevant to your ad group keywords, ads, and landing pages.”
Timothy Johnson, SMB Solutions and PPC Lead at Portent Digital Agency.
“I would say that if you still have some ad groups built around different match types, you should consolidate those ad groups into one. For instance, if you have an ad group dedicated to exact match keywords, and another ad group dedicated to phrase match, the phrase match keywords (which now are showing for more phrases) will cannibalize all of that exact-match traffic unless the exact-match keywords have higher bids and ad rank.”
Adam Gingery, Digital Strategy and Paid Search Manager at Majux Marketing.
“I feel like Google is trying to make our lives easier with this latest change, but it’s actually just making them harder. Yes, there will be opportunities for the big spenders to get more exposure from the lower volume terms that they may not have thought of or come across yet, but for the smaller players that need to spend their limited budget very wisely, it means more time needs to be spent constantly monitoring search term reports and adding more and more negatives. So my tip for those smaller advertisers would be to focus on negative keywords. Regularly check search term reports and add negative phrases straight from there, but also take the single terms within the longer phrases that are wrong, and add those as broad match negatives to stop Google showing ads for another phrase containing that term, if it will always be wrong.”
Ashleigh Davison, Head of Biddable Media, Browser Media.
“The obvious suggestion here to minimize impact is to focus on negative keywords, especially if you can do this preemptively before they start costing you money. So instead of just thinking of all the most obvious negatives that a business would want to avoid, you will now need to start thinking about close variations of your products or services that you may want to add.”
Ryan Scollon, PPC freelance consultant.
What do you think the impact will be? We’d love to know your thoughts.
The post Google Ads announce more changes to match types – Challenges and opportunities appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
When performing a search on Google these days you will often find it contains a local result. In most cases that means results in a map powered by Google My Business results.
In fact, during quarterly earnings call Google’s CEO said,
“I wouldn’t underestimate the focus we have on local. Just to give you a sense, local mobile searches are growing faster than just mobile searches overall, and have increased by almost 50% in the last year.”
When a statement like this is made it indicates two things to me:
1. Consumers are expecting more and more local results
2. Google My Business is really important to capture traffic.
With this trend clearly in sight, I wanted to dig into some data to look into a key factor in consumers decision making, ratings, and reviews. I was curious as to how much having a strong rating impacts consumes selecting a business. We already know ratings and reviews are important from numerous studies in the industry.
For example, Brightlocal found that 57% of consumers will only buy from businesses with a four-plus star rating. So I took a look at some data that included over 10 million Google My Business data points to try to understand the impact of increasing a business rating had on their conversion rates. I think what I found will seem very obvious, but certainly, validate the importance of good reviews.
Ratings really matter for non-branded searches
I thought I might start with something that is the most logical. When a consumer isn’t familiar with your brand and performs a generic, aka non-branded, search they are influenced greatly by a business’s rating. In the data set that I used businesses were found via non-branded searches 70% of the time vs. 30% of the time via a branded search. Meaning >2X the traffic is coming from consumers who aren’t yet sure what business they are going to choose.
Once they see the results, consumers took action on business that had a higher rating regardless of the type of search as ratings improved (duh), but they were more impacted by businesses with higher ratings when they performed a non-branded search. Conversion rates for consumers who took action (phone call, click, or got directions) on a Google My Business result were 68% higher vs. 63% higher for non-branded searches for companies with a <=2 rating vs. a 5 rating. Each star rating improvement directly leads to an increased conversion rate.
Source: Google My Business Insights
In our data set we had 70% of businesses with a rating between 2 & 4, with just 17% of businesses >4. For that 17 % of businesses who have received the highest reviews, they are receiving almost 30 more actions per 1,000 impressions than business with a <=2 rating. Think about how much this adds up over time? It’s massive.
While the fact that having a higher rating directly relates to having a higher conversion rate might seem obvious, I thought I’d add a data point that wasn’t as obvious, but potentially just as valuable. Our data shows that as your rating goes up consumers are more likely to click “get directions” vs. calling. While this doesn’t necessarily directly equal higher conversions, to me it indicates that consumers are more comfortable to trust the listing and head directly there vs. calling to get a sense of comfort prior to making any decisions. Also, they might call to validate the listing since the rating is so low. This introduces a potential barrier to conversion, maybe that call isn’t answered, or is requiring a customer service call since the rating is so low.
Source: Google My Business Insights
The simple takeaway from this data is that ratings drive action and business. The action to be taken is twofold;
- Google My Business is important. Ensuring that your name, address, phone number, website, hours, etc… are accurate and well aligned across the web. Often using a location data management platform can help improve quality and results.
- Soliciting and responding to ratings and reviews will help your business improve your ability to convert consumers. There are also software packages available to help improve ratings and reviews for your business. You don’t necessarily need one of these platforms, but similar to location data management they can help scale your marketing prowess.
We know from Google’s data and CEO that location is important. Hopefully, these data points can provide some additional firepower for your business to take these listing seriously. Improving your listings in Google My Business and other location data providers will have a positive impact on your business.
Jason Tabeling is EVP, Product at Brandmuscle. He can be found on Twitter @jtabeling.