The Adwords ‘Review Extension’ is one of Google’s latest ad extensions to roll off the production line. Having been available in Beta since June 2013, it is now openly available to all advertisers under the ‘Ad Extensions’ tab in your Adwords interface. Despite its now universal availability, it’s an extension that, apart from my own clients’ ads, I haven’t yet seen in use!

Therefore, I thought a blog post was in need to clarify how review extensions work and how they can benefit your business. I’ll also be sharing some of my initial data from ads I’ve been running with review extensions at the present time.

So, what are review extensions?

Just like Sitelinks, call extensions and location extensions, they are basically another type of extension you can add to your AdWords PPC (Pay Per Click) adverts. If you have some great reviews for your business on other websites, you can pull this information into your ads and let searchers know how great you are.

Here’s a screenshot supplied by Google illustrating a review extension for a fictional gym:

gym with review extensions

 

In the Google Adwords interface, the information you need to add into your review extension looks like this:

review extensions in AdWords

 

What are the benefits of review extensions?

A whopping 90% of consumers claim online reviews impact their buying decision, so the ability to make your ad shine with a positive review can be hugely beneficial. As I’ve said, review extensions are not being used by many paid search advertisers at present so implementing them is a sure-fire way to make your ads stand out from the competition. This is likely to have a positive impact on click through rate (CTR) and could lead to an increase in traffic to your website; an increase in CTR will also help to improve your AdWords account on a broader scale in areas such as quality score and reducing your cost per click (CPC).

Whilst review extensions are likely to improve CTR, I would also suggest that they may have the ability to impact conversion rate positively. When shopping online, customers frequently abandon their orders before completing a checkout (44% of UK shoppers have done it!). This could be for a number of reasons. A common reason, however, is that the user doesn’t trust the website or it doesn’t come across as credible. I think review extensions could help with this problem as customers will read the review before even entering the site and therefore their perception towards the brand have already been influenced positively.

What are the negatives of review extensions?

In terms of set up, I found it very easy to write my review extensions and submit them. However, Google has quite a strict policy on what can and cannot be included, but I’ve had an excellent success rate for getting my clients’ ads approved.  When picking reviews in your extensions I consider the following regulations:


  • They must come from a third-party source. This cannot include individual user comments, paid endorsements or reviews from sites like Yelp or Tripadvisor for example.

  • The review must apply to your business/brand as a whole. It cannot apply to a particular store, product or service you offer.

  • Reviews must relate to a specific award or accolade.

  • The review must link directly to the third-party’s website where the quote appears. Therefore, you cannot use offline awards or recognitions in magazines, newspapers, etc.


Aside from the strict regulations surrounding review extensions, the only other negative I could see was the potential for customers to click on the third party link instead of ad titles. As shown in the ad example above, the third party link is highlighted in blue like the ad’s title which makes it stand out. This could potentially result in users clicking this by mistake or perhaps just recognising the brand and deciding to visit their site. I’m sure this has been intensively tested in Google’s beta testing, and even if a user does click on the third party link, you incur no costs, so I wouldn’t let it put you off trying review extensions.

Results from my Review Extensions experience

As promised, I’d like to share some of the initial results I’ve seen since using review extensions. As these extensions are still very new I must mention that the information is only based on 4-5 weeks of data – but I’ve seen great improvement in such a short time!

I have been running review extensions in a number of campaigns and have initially found that they show with about 10% of all ad impressions. I have therefore split my results to show the comparison between the CTR and conversion rate when the extension was and was not present:

Campaign X:

Ad CTR Conv. rate Variance in CTR Variance in Conv. rate
With review extension

5.42%

2.15%

+58.94

-17.93%

Without review extension

3.41%

2.62%

 

Campaign Y:

Ad CTR

Conv. rate

Variance in CTR

Variance in Conv. rate

With review extension

5.20%

1.69%

+78.08%

-56.33%

Without review extension

2.92%

3.87%

 

Campaign Z:

Ad CTR Conv. rate Variance in CTR Variance in Conv. rate
With review extension

6.37%

5.88%

+59.25%

+71.92%

Without review extension

4.00%

3.42%

 

As you will see from the results above the increase in CTR has been significant in all examples, rising on average by 66% when the review extension was displayed! I have used a number of ad extensions over the years and this is certainly the biggest increase I have seen as a result of one singular change in the ad.

The conversion rate in my examples doesn’t prove as conclusive as the CTR. In two of the three tests, conversion rate was actually worse when the review extension showed. However, in the first test there was an increase of almost 72% in conversion rates. I therefore plan to continue running these tests so that I have more data to base any decisions on. It is also worth mentioning that these examples are based on a non-commerce client so bear in mind review extensions may have a different effect on e-commerce sites.

Plus, often conversion rate can be influenced by how compelling your on-page copy is, so if you’re seeing higher click-throughs but those clicks aren’t converting, I would recommend that you re-visit your on-page copy!

Give it a try

In summary I would strongly advise that advertisers try review extensions. If you are lucky enough to have reviews, shout about them in your ads and let your customers know that others think highly of you! From my experience, this has the potential to significantly increase your CTR and overall AdWords account performance and is without a doubt one of the most effective ad extensions available.

Download our free PDF

If you’d like to know more aboutad extensions, download Receptional’s free PDF: The Complete Guide to AdWords Ad Extensions.

Or, if you’re interested in adding review extensions to your paid ad campaigns and want to know how to get the most from them for your business, feel free to contact us today and we’ll be happy to help.