Consumer ratings annotations – are they as exciting as they say?

Posted: Wednesday 26th March 2014 in Paid Media, Thought Leadership.
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Consumer Ratings Annotations add consumer survey feedback to your ad text

Consumer ratings annotations are a new exciting addition to Google, one that they are describing as ‘2014’s first blockbuster ad format!’

But does it live up to the hype?

What are they?

Consumer ratings are new ad annotations which use Google consumer survey data to automatically publish your scores against the following criteria in addition to your ad text:

  • Selection
  • Store convenience
  • Website information
  • Quality
  • Price
  • Delivery
  • Customer service
  • Returns process

What’s so good?

They enable us to stand out from the competition

Of course the annotation takes up more space on the search engine results page (SERP), but the main benefit as far as we can see is the fact that those retailers who perform well and provide consumers with a good service are likely to reap the benefits of these new annotations. Those retailers who haven’t quite got it right, however, are going to have to work hard to retain their clients and avoid losing them to their competitors. Competition is likely to soar and those retailers with higher scores for important factors such as delivery and customer service are going to take the lead within the paid search landscape, leaving many left behind.

They give the consumers what they want… more visibility

Consumers increasingly rely on the opinions and experiences of others, and over the years Google have introduced a number of search advertising features to show the most relevant and useful information about your business to potential customers. Consumer ratings annotations give the consumers more chance to see exactly what retailers have to offer and enable them to begin the comparison journey even earlier, providing them with more power than ever before.

Google have informed us that users rate these annotations as among the most useful pieces of information in search results.

They avoid bias

The data used to publish the ratings in the annotations is collected over a two month period and is based on thousands of detailed opinions from a representative sample of consumers. As a result, consumer ratings annotations avoid some of the biases associated with traditional user review systems.

They are automatic

These annotations are automatically added to creative, saving marketers’ time, however you must have had a Google consumer survey in order to be eligible.

Google have begun their roll out and have started to automatically apply consumer ratings annotations to accounts. This will continue to happen over the next few weeks so watch this space.

The verdict so far

Data from Google suggests over the past 4 months, tests with 25 advertisers have shown an uplift in click through rate of between 10-12% for ads appearing with these annotations.

Google are therefore claiming that consumer ratings annotations are the best performing ad format since sitelinks!
Although the prospect of consumers having even more visibility of retailers’ performance and offerings is daunting, it can only help the best retailers. Those who deserve to do well will have the opportunity to show off their strengths and perform even better in today’s very competitive landscape.

We advise embracing the change… for now!

These extensions are added automatically so sure you’re up to date with the changes and keep an eye on your scores and click through rate. Google have given us the power to opt out so where scores may hinder performance ensure you make the most of this option.

Statistics so far have shown positive increases in key metrics so keep an eye on performance and make the most of your strengths. If you haven’t already done so sign up for a Google Consumer Survey now.


If you’ve got a question about consumer ratings annotations or other changes in Google’s sponsored ad listings we’d be more than happy to answer it. Contact Dave Trolle, Head of Direct Response.

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