Introducing Google’s Review Extensions – AKA Information Overload

There was a time (not too long ago) when a PPC ad was simply just a text advert, containing nothing more than a headline, two lines of text and a display URL.

Nowadays there’s a bit of an information overload. Just have a look at all the Google Ad variants that are now available to us:

  • Sitelinks
  • Phone numbers
  • Seller reviews
  • Location extensions
  • Offer extensions
  • Social extensions
  • App extensions
  • Google Shopping
Leaving us with a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) that looks something like this:


The difference is quite substantial. Also note how much real estate is now made up of paid content.

And if that wasn’t enough, Google are introducing yet another extension to their armoury: Review Extensions

This is where advertisers can include reviews from third party sites into their ads.

Like so:


On the face of it, it looks like a really good idea.

But like many of these digital surprises, it seems that there might be reason for all but the biggest brands to be sceptical. 

In fact we set up some ads for clients using third party site reviews.  We were part of a Google beta pilot for these and at first they were allowed, but later disapproved.  Why?

The reviews should be from third party sites and not individual shoppers.

Personally I think it’s more credible to have reviews from individuals posting their comments on websites such as ‘Feefo’ or ‘ResellerRatings’ than from a third party source.  

This is the ‘source’ from the Samsung PPC ad I showed you earlier:


As you can see, this sort of thing can only be possible for big brands like Samsung. (When did The Times last review your product or service?).

And also if you click on the source link, you are taken to a third party website instead of your own. 

Why would you want to direct potential customers to another website? Where potentially you end up advertising your competitors.

Guess what Samsung, Apple won some awards too! (To be fair at least you don’t pay for that click.)

Google are pushing the organic listings further and further down the page. 

This generates more revenue for Google, but demotes the brands that aren’t advertising with them.  Evil? Not really.  Cynical? Maybe a bit.

Are Google thinking of the big picture though?

I often wonder how far Google tests its products for usability and design. The Samsung Ad above for instance points to six different landing pages.  That’s a bit confusing.

And what does the consumer make of the word ‘source’ (source of the quote).


Bit of a miss in our book. For brands like Samsung though – it might be a good idea (as long as they keep winning more awards than Apple!).

At Pull we often speculate about what or who will break Google’s hegemony.  What could drive people to use search alternatives.  In the same way that Microsoft’s ‘hairball’ of complexity in Windows opened the door especially on mobile for simpler more elegant solutions, we can’t help feeling that Google might be creating a hidden garden of search results that aren’t paid for and therefore don’t exist.  Might this be an opportunity for Bing, Yahoo and others?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Contact us now for more advice on Google’s review extensions and other paid search advertising.


Wonderful post... Very informational and educational.
26/11/2013 09:51:28

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