Google Starts Running Consumer Surveys About Select Advertisers, Highlights Data In Search Ads

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Google is launching a new feature for advertisers today that highlights data it gathers from its Consumer Surveys in their ads. These so-called “consumer ratings annotations” can appear under Google’s regular text ads and will roll out over the next few days.

The AdWords team runs these surveys on Google’s platform for the businesses that participate in this program. Currently, the company says, there are “several hundred businesses in the U.S., U.K., and Canada” that have ratings available for them.

There is no additional charge for adding these ratings to ads. During its beta tests, Google says click-through rates increase by 10 percent on average for ads that showed these extra ratings.

The ads will show “one or more strongly rated aspects” of the business, though it looks like the advertisers won’t actually have full control over what is shown to consumers. Businesses that want to opt out will have to contact Google, and those who want to be included in this program can submit a request here.

Google says each rating is based on at least a few hundred completed surveys, with the average above 1,000, and the company says it will re-run surveys regularly to keep the data fresh.

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Users who take the survey self-identify as customers of a given business. According to Google, these surveys will start with questions like “What airline have you flown with recently?” or “Which mobile service provider do you use?” They will then go on to ask about the user’s experience with that business.

Google has long been using ratings as part of its search results and ads, so the company has some experience with how important these are for click-throughs. It’s been using seller ratings in its Product Search since 2010, for example, and last year, it launched the ability to include brief quotes from third-party review sites to its ads.