Adwords Review Extensions – Good or Bad?

 

In October, Google announced the arrival of Review Extensions, a new feature that enables advertisers to show accolades from reputable third parties in their search ads.

 

As one of the first agencies to gain access to the beta, we have been putting them to the test, to better understand how influenced consumers are by positive reviews and the impact that this can have on online performance. Here we share some of our insights and learnings of this new feature.

 

Firstly, let’s take a look at what a Review Extension is:

This new feature from Google allows advertisers to add another line of text below the description lines of their search ad, which is based on a positive third-party review or an award the advertiser has won. An example of a Review Extension is highlighted in the red box below:

 

 

Putting Review Extensions up for review:

We carried out tests with Review Extensions with a fashion retail client and a luxury airline. Our insights and results are below:

 

Our test with a fashion retail client –

Working with a UK fashion retail client, we chose a review that referred positively to a specific range of coats, in this case ‘Trophy Jackets’. We added the review into ads on our campaigns containing ‘workwear’ keywords and launched the campaign. The results were impressive, with the Review Extensions contributing to a staggering +157% uplift in CTR in the first two weeks of going live.

 

The same Review Extension was also added to ads running in campaigns containing ‘jacket’ & ‘coat’ keywords. Following the campaign launch, CTR increased by up to 95% when the Review Extensions were shown compared to when they were not. Interestingly, even in an ad group focussed purely on coats and winter coats CTR still increased by an average of +8%.

 

Our test with a luxury airline –

For one of our airline clients, we added a Review Extension of an industry accolade naming them as the best airline in Asia. Interestingly, the Review Extension had much less impact on online performance than for our retail client, and also results varied strongly by user location. The campaign recorded an increase of +7% in CTR in Wales. However consumers in Greater London and Scotland clearly preferred the ads without Review Extensions as CTR decreased by 5% whenever the Review Extensions were shown.

 

Our top tips to maximise performance with Review Extensions:

Having tested Review Extensions with a number of different clients, we have gained some valuable insights on how to optimise their performance for your campaigns which we thought would be useful to share with you;

  • The review doesn’t have to be an exact quote, it can be a paraphrased version to help keep to character limit.
  • The character limit is 67 including the name of the source, but not including quotation marks – these are added automatically if you choose the ‘exact quote’ option.
  • You must include a link to a ‘respectable’ third-party source – the review copy cannot be hosted on your own website. Furthermore, Google will most likely have a system to check for invalid websites or sites created solely for the purpose of hosting a review, so make sure it is genuine.
  • The review should be visible above the fold on the source website.
  • Review Extensions are currently only available in English but Google is working on rolling them out globally.
  • A review cannot be older than 12 months.
  • You cannot see clicks that went through to the source landing page. Although you can segment by ‘This extension vs. Other’ this will always show 0 clicks on ‘This extension’ regardless of whether the external link has been clicked or not.

 

To sum up:

We believe that Review Extensions are an excellent addition to search ads, especially if a wide range of reviews/awards are available which can be added to different ad groups and updated regularly.

 

However, a downside is that they currently lack the reporting functionality that we would hope to see in order to adequately measure the impact of Review Extensions. For example, it is not yet possible to get an accurate measurement of how many people click on a Review Extension. In addition, the link from the Review Extension takes users directly to the third party website that hosts the review, rather than the advertiser’s website. As a result there may be potential customers who have never made it to the website even though they clicked on the ad.

 

Although Google is yet to provide this reporting functionality, they have assured us that the CTR increase gained from Review Extensions outweighs this potential loss of customers, but this is something that remains to be seen with further testing. That said, we believe that they are definitely worth testing out now on your campaigns. We wish you the best of luck with your tests of Review Extensions. Good luck and do contact us if you would like further advice on optimising this new feature!

 

Net Media Planet does Christmas Jumper Day!

It is Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day and Team Net Media Planet have been getting in on the act by donning their best festive knits! We love a good winter woolly, and Christmas Jumper Day has provided the perfect opportunity for us to dig out the ridiculous knitwear. Check us out!

 

 

But Christmas Jumper Day isn’t just about who has the best snowman on their knitwear. It’s to raise money and awareness for Save the Children UK. This is a fantastic charity which we are pleased to support by helping to make the world better with a sweater!

For more information please visit: http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/christmas-jumper-day

 

 

Our Cyber Weekend Shakedown and Top Tips for a Bumper Shopping Period

 

Black Friday through to Cyber Monday is fast becoming known as one of the most important times of the year for retailers, as shoppers respond in their masses to the major discounting that takes place during this weekend.

 

With retailers promoting sales earlier and earlier each year, we have seen a significant growth in search volumes for Cyber Weekend (see graph below), and not just in the USA and UK but also in other international markets.

 

In this blog we share the impact of the recent Cyber Weekend on our own Retail campaigns, and offer our top tips to help you maximise the bumper shopping period across the holiday season and beyond.

 

 

Graph: Year on Year Increase in search terms relating to ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’

 

Retail client performance across Cyber Weekend:

 

Across many of our retail clients where we provide international PPC coverage, we have traditionally seen the Americas perform strongly. However, it was interesting to see that over the sale weekend there was a significant shift towards increased revenue performance from Europe and in particular, South East Asia.

 

Our results show, as per the graphs below, that there was a clear upward trend with a 36.1% increase in search volumes across our campaigns, a 3.5% increase in conversion rate and 32.9% uplift in revenue.

 

Graph: Uplift in impressions and conversion rates over Cyber Weekend across our Retail clients

 Graph: Uplift in revenue over Cyber Weekend across our Retail clients

 

Our Top Tips & Recommendations to maximise key shopping times:

 

With the scale at which Cyber Weekend drives sales and revenue, we have outlined a checklist for campaign preparation every PPC executive should be looking at for the holiday season:

 

• Campaign Settings

o Ensure budget caps are increased

o Set your ads to ‘accelerated’

o Create a variations and misspells campaign on your brand term

• Keywords

o Expand keywords that relate to gifts, gift cards, and relevant events/holidays such as Christmas sales

o Create brand + location keywords

o Ensure negative keywords are added around terms relating to ‘returns’

• Bid Strategy

o Set automated rules to increase bids during peak periods

o Consider reducing bids or campaign budget caps after last delivery dates have passed

o Conduct more regular CPC vs. EPC checks

• Ad Copy

o Schedule ads to run with promotions

o Check successful ads with high CTR from the previous year

o Include last delivery messaging – particularly for international territories

• Sitelinks, demographic targeting and mobile

o Include seasonal messaging/offers in enhanced sitelink description lines

o Test gender-specific ad copy e.g. “gifts for him”

o Test mobile bid adjustments particularly with retail clients

 

Our advice is that preparation is the ultimate key to a successful bumper shopping period and our performance overview from the Cyber Weekend proves this. Therefore we would suggest that you make sure you maximise all areas of your Paid Search strategy and ask clients in advance of their marketing efforts so that you can be prepared to maximise the big sale days! Good luck!