Did You Know: Google Reviews Affect Your PPC Ads
In previous Compass guides, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of reviews when it comes to boosting your reputation, improving your local SEO, and more. But did you know that the reviews your business receives can also affect your pay-per-click advertising success?
Whether you’re just getting started with PPC or you’re currently running ads, it’s important to understand how positive reviews can lower your costs and increase your conversion rates, and on the flip side, how negative reviews can increase your cost and lower your conversions. This guide will cover how reviews impact your PPC strategy and how to leverage them.
Conversion is at the core.
Before we dive into how reviews affect PPC costs, let’s explore one of the most important metrics of any effective advertising strategy: CONVERSION RATES. The primary purpose of PPC ads is to convert searchers into customers by driving users to complete a transaction, such as booking a tour. Ideally, you want to keep your conversion rate cost as low as possible to maximize the ROI of your PPC ads.
It’s helpful to have a general idea of what the average conversion rates are in our industry to help gauge how your ads are performing. In the travel industry, the average conversion rates are (Wordstream):
- Average conversion rate for the search network: 3.95%
- Average conversion rate in the display network: 0.39%
Perhaps understandably, the search network has a better conversion rate because these ads are targeting users who are actively searching for the product you’re advertising. (You can learn more about the different networks in this guide.)
- Average cost per conversion for our industry is $27.04 in the Google search network (Wordstream).
These are just averages, so the numbers might be quite different for you. It’s useful to create your own baseline data to get a better idea of how your ads are performing.
There are many factors that determine the final cost of your PPC ads, but one of the most overlooked ones is your online reputation. We already know users put a lot of stock in reviews, influencing how much they trust a business and ultimately whether they decide to make a purchase. Many studies have linked online reviews to conversion rates and costs. According to Quiigo, one study found that:
Brands with a rating below 3.5 stars saw a conversion rate of 10.5%.
Brands with a rating around 4.5 stars had a conversion rate of 14%.
Brands that regularly responded to reviews had a conversion rate 30% higher than those who were less responsive.
These correlations point to the importance of managing your online reputation.
Your reviews can also impact how much you pay per result on your Google Ads. Even if your ad appears at the top of the Local Map Pack, as in the example below, searchers are sure to look at the star ratings and number of reviews for all the top-ranked businesses before deciding which one to click on.
Having positive reviews and a good star rating leads to more people clicking on your ads, which in turn will lower your cost per result. On the other hand, negative reviews and a lower star rating can lead users to click on a competitor’s ad instead of yours, lowering your clickthrough rate. This, in turn, lowers your quality score, eventually leading to a higher bid to get the same ad placement as a competitor with a higher quality score.
Placing an ad is not enough to ensure that users will click on your result over others. It’s important to still follow all the best practices for improving your organic SEO, as this can result in better click-through and conversion rates for your ads.
Leveraging Your Reviews to Boost Your PPC Performance
Now that you have an idea of how your reviews can affect your PPC ads, you’ll surely be wondering what you can do to improve your ad cost and performance. The good news is, if you’re following reputation management best practices, you’re already well on your way! Here are a few things you can do to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success.
- Have Consistent Listings: Make sure your listings on all the major review sites — Google My Business, Tripadvisor, Facebook, etc. — are complete and consistent with your business name, contact information, and website so Google and users alike can easily find your business.
- Most importantly, you want to optimize your GMB profile because Google Reviews are the ones that appear in the Local Map Pack.
- Get a Lot of Reviews: A consistent influx of reviews helps keep your reviews fresh, which is important to both customers and search engines. The more reviews you have, the more users will trust your star rating. The best way to consistently get reviews is to solicit them from every customer after their tour or activity.
- Respond to Reviews: As we discussed earlier, actively responding to your reviews could have an impact on your ads’ conversion rates. This is an important part of your reputation management as it affects how users perceive your business.
- Learn more in our guide on how to respond to negative and positive reviews.
Your online reputation is important in more ways than you might realize. Reviews have become one of the main ways in which users evaluate a business, helping them decide whether they trust you and want to book with you. Luckily, keeping up with reputation management best practices can also have a positive impact on your PPC strategy, helping lower your costs and improve your conversions.