Seller Ratings Policy Update and What It Means For Small Business Retailers
Google has recently made it official that the number of reviews required for Seller Ratings to be shown on ads has increased from 30 to 150 over a 12 month span. Additionally, the composite rating of at least 3.5 stars or higher has remained unchanged.
With a 400% jump in the required threshold for Seller Ratings, many retailers may be left wondering what sort of repercussions these changes may have on their ads moving forward.
Seller Ratings Recap
Seller ratings, an automated AdWords extension, may appear for businesses when their website, ad, or product listing appears across Google products. Reviews are accumulated from seller rating websites, such as TrustPilot, and other third-party sources.
Generally, Seller Ratings – not to be mistaken or lumped together with Product Ratings – provide a great deal of value for both advertisers and customers alike.
For shoppers, reviews inform people of the quality of service they can come to expect from a business they are interested in purchasing from – which can go a long way in influencing customers who may be on the fence.
For advertisers, they can help improve click-through-rates, decrease cost-per-clicks, assist in boosting conversion rates, and otherwise strengthen credibility with the public.
When asked what sparked the change in the review requirements for Seller Ratings, Google AdWords Support offered the following answer:
“Our tech team found that the historical minimum of 30 reviews was prone to some quality issues. Increasing the threshold of required reviews allows us to have additional data on which to generate Seller Ratings, allowing for more stable scores to be generated. They felt that producing a high quality, stable signal in less places is more beneficial to users.”
What These Updates Mean for Retailers
Initially, the policy updates to Seller Ratings may be an unwelcome or distressing sight for small business advertisers. Despite the potential value offered, accruing a larger number of reviews may prove to be a challenging endeavor for low-volume retailers.
To better understand what types of impacts these changes are going to have, we sat down with Josh Brisco, Retail Search Operations Manager at CPC Strategy to gather insight.
Q&A On Seller Ratings Update
Q: While the increase from 30 to 150 is a pretty big gap, do you think the change is totally unprecedented? With the growth of Google advertising and a rising popularity in retailers using the platform, the 30-review requirement seems like a fairly low threshold now.
Josh: I think this brings things more in line with the more stringent thresholds we see for Google Trusted Stores inclusion. From that perspective it is not a huge shift, but for a smaller retailer who has not prioritized gathering reviews up to this point, this is a significant jump.
Q: What types of impacts, good or bad, do you think this will have for businesses advertising on Google? More specifically, what types of retailers stand to benefit or lose the most from these changes?
Josh: This really only affects smaller retailers, as realistically, a larger vendor will have no issue gathering 150 reviews over 12 months. So smaller retailers have ad real estate and potential click-through-rates to lose on their end, while larger retailers really only stand to gain more opportunities as smaller players lose this automated extension.
Q: Do you think this change is an indicator of what type of value online reviews will have moving forward? Customer feedback is important for shoppers and can really boost an ad’s performance. Do you think they will be weighed more heavily in the future – perhaps towards impacting something such as quality score?
Josh: I can only offer conjecture, but I don’t think this is a step towards a heavier Quality Score weight being given directly to Seller Ratings. But, instead, this will likely thin out the pool of retailers who are eligible for this extension, which may indirectly give a boost to Quality Score for retailers who still do show these reviews.
While the update to Seller Ratings isn’t the most dramatic of changes, it’s one businesses should still be aware of. Understanding how these changes can impact advertisers, especially in the case of smaller retailers, is something to think about when exploring how to get the most return from your advertising.
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