Reviews – are they really that important?
The importance of having reviews on product pages has already been demonstrated in a myriad of surveys and scientific reports. The main benefit is an overall increased conversion rate, but there are also other reported positive benefits to e-commerce such as; fewer returned products, SEO benefits, free branding, increased brand awareness, and increased customer loyalty and engagement.
So, by adding reviews to product pages, e-commerce companies are likely to see a multitude of positive factors.
But running an e-commerce business is not only about what happens when or after a visitor has landed on a product page. It is at least as much about creating strong marketing activities which drive a constant flow of relevant visitors to product pages (keyword “relevant”).
Could it be that reviews content is also valuable for marketing campaigns?
Little research has actually been made regarding the effect of using review content in ads. However, Yotpo (yotpo.com) found that Facebook DPA campaigns which included review content resulted in 4 times higher CTR than normal and 50% drop in cost per acquisition, which are indeed impressive numbers. Reseller reviews provider Trustpilot (trustpilot.com) found that 88% of consumers believe ads are more trustworthy with online reviews.
So how are brands and e-tailers using reviews in their digital marketing campaigns in 2019?
In the digital advertising world, we have seen banner ads that contains product awards from expert review publications since the early days of the 2000s.
We still see these banners in this day and age and the reason is simple; it works. Consumers want to feel safe (trust) in their product selection and seeing an award from a well-known and respected expert reviews publication like (cnet.com or pcmag.com) goes a long way.
But there are more opportunities out there, some of which can also be combined with very powerful effect of retargeting!
Google organic search results with review data
Let’s start with a free but very powerful alternative; adding review data to organic search results:
Nothing new, but if you are not doing it already, it’s time to start as this is a 100% free way to get more visitors to your online shop. This is achieved by using something called “structured data”, you have two options to choose from, both of which will be picked up by Google:
Both work equally well in my experience!
Google search ads with reviews
For Google shopping ads and regular search ads, it is possible to add review content of two different types; “seller ratings” and “product ratings”.
Seller ratings are ratings about the company itself, i.e. the company’s clients have rated the entire shopping experience on websites like Google shopping, Ekomi or Trustpilot. Google uses this information to be able to show the seller rating in its search ads, here’s an example:
Product reviews can be sourced from either the seller’s product pages or can be a review of exactly the same product from other sources like other retailers or other review aggregators with which Google is working with. This review data can then be transformed to an average review star rating and are often displayed in Google shopping ads like this:
Google offers several ways to automatically (after setup) add reviews to ads. The guys over at Adaplo have made an excellent overview if you are not already setup.
Ads with reviews from the Amazon ad network
So, we have covered Google which is of course a very important marketing channel for OEM brands and e-commerce companies. A newer (launched in 2018) but very similar looking alternative is Amazon’s remarketing (remarketing = retargeting) ads:
I think it’s very exciting that Amazon has adopted a pixel/remarketing setup very similar to what Google and Facebook have already offered for quite some time. Amazon offers a compelling product for brands selling products on Amazon for sure, especially in the countries where Amazon has a larger footprint.
Ads with reviews on Facebook and Instagram
Facebook’s ad network (includes Instagram) is really interesting as it is in my opinion severely underutilized by brands and retailers.
The Facebook ad network offers a top opportunity to make ad campaigns that are truly data-driven. Facebook can offer this thanks to the fact that they know so much about its users (more so than even Google I would argue). This is good news to savvy advertisers which know how to utilize the data to their advantage. Here are a few examples of Facebook and Instagram ads with review data:
You can add review content to basically any ad type which Facebook employs but Facebook DPA doesn’t currently support to do it in an automated way like Google or Amazon does.
Finally, some tips for successful usage of reviews content in ads
There are several things to remember when using review content in ads, I will here highlight a few.
Number one; if possible, in the ad format you use, try to get some text in there. Text from a review is far less intrusive than a marketing text and also, having only the star rating doesn’t bring as much weight.
Number two; mix review content from expert reviews and user reviews because both are valuable. Expert review content (like an “Editor’s Choice” logo from a well-known review publication) tends to affect technical people more than it affects non-technical persons which tend to rely on the word from their fellow consumers to a larger extent.
Number three; for higher-priced products, reviews are even more important for reaching high CTR and high conversion levels in ad campaigns. This is natural because people tend to be more hesitant when the price is higher.