In an effort to look more “native” and authentic to users, Google Shopping is adding product ratings to its display ads.
The ads, which display according to relevant search terms typed by the user, will combine the paid component of search engine marketing along with the earned component of user reviews. As a result, when the product ads popup in users’ Google search results, they’ll feel more authentic.
In other words, Google just started to look a whole lot like Amazon. However instead of returning the product that most matches your description, it’ll return the product that advertisers have paid to be placed at the top, with only the smallest mention of “Sponsored.”
Here’s what the new ads will look like:
In a blog post, Google Shopping product manager Mike Capsambelis says:
We believe these ratings will help differentiate products across google.com and google.com/shopping and will help merchants drive more qualified traffic through Product Listing Ads. In initial tests, product ratings also helped increase click-through-rates of Product Listing Ads.
The increased click-through rate is good news for paid search marketers, unless of course, they have products with horrible reviews. On Google’s part, this is a step in the right direction when it comes to giving its users genuine information on the products that show up. Even though we know they’re paid ads, Google says the rating is a result of information gleaned from all over the web, including merchants, third party aggregators, editorial sites and users. While Google still gets to pick and choose the reviews, at least there is a slight degree of third party validation for the products being displayed as ads.