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Three stars for Google’s new Product Listing Ad rating system



File this one under: you mean that wasn’t there yesterday?

I would have sworn that Google sponsored results always had star ratings on them but apparently not – because Google just introduced the star rating system as if it were a brand new product.

Sofia the First

Tada! Product Listing Ads will now have happy stars underneath each qualified item. (Note that one retailer has no stars. . . why is that. . . let’s investigate. . . )

First, the facts. Star ratings and review counts will appear on both Google searches and on Google.com/shopping.

The data is aggregated from multiple sources including “merchants, third party aggregators, editorial sites and users.”

What’s very interesting is that the reviews actually pull from competing sites. For example, the second toy from the left comes from Walmart, but when you click through using the number of reviews link you get this:

Review Closeup2

Notice the top review, a bad on, comes from ToysRUs. From the POV of a shopper, this is a nice page. The color bar gives me a quick idea of how many people liked the products versus those who didn’t. Then there’s a break down showing a few specifics. In this case, not all that helpful but it would be on a piece of clothing where true sizing is an issue.

This page gives the customer all the information they need to make a decision at a glance and the fact that the information comes from a variety of sources, should make the consumer feel better about the validity of the information.

Though this particular review page isn’t doing Walmart any favors, the overall concept should lead more customers to the buy button.

Want ratings on your Product Listing Ads?

All you need to do is agree to share you product review content with Google “either directly or through an approved third party aggregator.”

So. . . is that why the Disney Store ad results don’t have star ratings? They don’t share their reviews outside of the site?

Now remember, the linked reviews come from multiple sources, so you could have a product review link even if no one has reviewed the product on your site. That’s good news for small businesses without much customer feedback. Google says they’ll let everyone play until October 2014. After that date you have to agree to share what you’ve got or you’re out. Here’s the form you need to fill out: Product Rating Form.

Right now, this all only works in the United States of America but they have plans to take over the world at a later date.

Google says that in tests, they’ve seen increased click-through-rates thanks to the product ratings on Product Listing Ads and I don’t doubt it.

What do you think? Will star ratings help the small business owner or only the big box stores? And what do you think about the cross-pollination of reviews?