The month in PPC: ch-ch-ch-changes

It’s been a busy month for PPC experts, with a series of high-profile changes to the appearance and functionality of ads in Google and Bing. Here’s the big news, and what it might mean for us all.

Show off your ratings

Despite the billions spent on marketing globally every year, the best form of marketing any company can have is word-of-mouth recommendations from their customers. People trust unbiased fellow consumers, for obvious reasons.

Either way, Google have now given companies using AdWords the opportunity to display consumer ratings on their paid ads. The annotations appear at the bottom of the ad and highlight highly-rated aspects of the business, such as customer service, discounts and so on.

SEL adwords image

Image credit: Search Engine Land

According to Google, including this data on your ad can improve click-through rates by up to 10%, which is obviously exciting news. But where exactly does this rating data come from?

Another Google platform, of course! Data is taken from Google’s Consumer Survey platform, which you might recognise as the ‘please take a short survey’ pop-up on websites. If you don’t have GCS set up, you won’t be able to include ratings on your ad – even if you have a million 5 star reviews on TripAdvisor or Yelp.

In fact, even if you do have it set up, you still might not benefit. The data is taken from an average of at least 1000 ratings, which means that many businesses won’t make the cut. It’s a move that appears tailored towards large brands, although Google has insisted brands of all sizes will benefit.

You also won’t have any control over what information is displayed in your ad, with Google choosing what is and isn’t included.

The annotations are only being rolled out for a select few brands (determined by Google) at the time of writing, but you can apply for inclusion here.

Knowledge is power (but advertising is more power)

The Knowledge Graph has caused a big stir among online marketing professionals, what with scraping other people’s content and directing away from organic search results.

Google’s latest graph-related move will undoubtedly cause even more furore, as they’re now using a Knowledge-Graph-a-like to serve up advertising in a move that appears to merge advertising and editorial.


Image credit: Search Engine Land

As shown in the image above, Google is drawing upon Google Shopping results to serve users a Knowledge Graph-esque ad with links to Google Shopping. This new version of Google’s Product Listing Ads is a lot more subtle than previous iterations and is arguably a bit misleading as it replicates the editorially-driven Knowledge Graph.

Still, it’ll be interesting to see what click-through rates are like on the new product listings, and how many users fall into the trap of mistaking ad for editorial.

Bing news…

Brace yourselves; it’s time for news about Bing! Wait, don’t go!

Bing are now serving up products ads in the US, much like Google have been doing for the past couple of years. Like Google’s Product Listing Ads, Bing Product Ads appear next to organic search results and are served up from merchant product feeds. To get involved, you need to set up a Bing Merchant Center account and import your AdWords product data. Oh, and be based in the US (for now).

So that’s this month’s PPC news. Join us next month for more exciting despatches from the world of paid advertising!


  • Written by on 28th March 2014 at 13:33
  • “Fluid Creativity is an award-winning, multi-service digital agency based in Manchester.”
  • Google+