New Google AdWords Review Extensions - An Opinion

TeamJEMSU, January 21, 2014

In late 2013, Google introduced new “Review Extensions” for AdWords to the general public. At first glance, review extensions look pretty awesome. From the mouth of the beast…

“There’s nothing better than getting a good review, and customers like to see them too when searching for products and services online. With review extensions, you can share those positive write-ups, awards, or third-party rankings with potential customers in an additional line of text beneath your Google Search ads.” (Google Support)

They look pretty cool, too. Giving your ad a bigger appearance with a positive review sounds great… until you get into one tiny little detail — if you’re a small business, most of your reviews won’t be eligible.

An example of review extensions (Inside AdWords)

When our PPC team first met up to go over the new opportunity, we looked over all the policies. Review extensions will only be approved when the review comes from what Google deems a “reputable third party site”, meaning all your positive Yelp reviews or even quotes from a video testimonial you have on your own site will be disapproved. “Individual customer reviews,” are also off limits, which seems like it automatically disqualifies 99% of positive reviews. For example, the local carpet cleaning franchise will most likely be getting reviews from happy customers, not a big magazine (a.k.a a “reputable third party source”) reviewing the company as a whole. All of the review extension policies can be seen here.

So while I was initially excited about this new feature, I feel that it is heavily biased against small businesses, especially small businesses that are service oriented. I understand why these policies are necessary – fake reviews are definitely a concern, and only allowing reputable third party sources to be used negates that risk. However, that doesn’t make me less sad that I can’t use this cool new feature as often as I’d like to.

How do you feel about the new review extensions? Have you gotten a chance to use them, or are you encountering the same problem as us?

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