How Do Reviews and Ratings Affect Conversions?

How Do Reviews and Ratings Affect Conversions?

Savvy online shoppers rely on customer reviews and ratings, which makes those reviews an important part of many digital marketing strategies. A recent study by Uberall set out to understand exactly how important: the study compared data from the first halves of 2018 and 2019 for more than 60,000 online listings and broke down the findings into three categories: small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs); enterprise locations; and global brands.

“By focusing on review star rating and reply rate, brands can massively impact their overall conversion rates,” Uberall’s SVP of Marketing, Norman Rohr, said in a company release.

The research found that companies with a 3.7 star rating on Google receive significantly more conversions than companies with a 3.5 star rating, for example. It also found that enterprise locations that replied to at least 32 per cent of reviews achieved an 80 per cent higher conversion rate than direct competitors and SMBs that replied to just 10 per cent. In other words, digital marketing agencies should actively optimize and update listings where reviews can be aggregated.

Interestingly, conversion rates decreased for SMB and global brands at five stars compared to 4.9. Overall, Uberall found a correlation between the size of a business and the importance of ratings and reviews.

“SMBs, more so than bigger brands rely on customer reviews to drive brand awareness and visibility,” Rohr said. “As a result, they are performing better than the enterprise and global brands, who typically have lower review rates and lower reply rates. To outperform both larger and smaller businesses in the area, SMBs need to be focused on replying to a large majority of reviews and keeping their rating above the third star rating benchmark of 4.4.”

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing and local search agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is equipped to attract reviews and ensure your My Business listings are comprehensive and responsive. For more information about how we can help run your digital listings, feel free to reach out at any time.


Image credit: Shutterstock

Facebook Introduces Paid Search Ads

Facebook Introduces Paid Search Ads

Facebook has introduced a new paid social advertising tool for businesses to “reach and connect with audiences” who are in the “discovery mindset,” according to a company release. Ads in Facebook Search Results will display when users search for products in Marketplace, Facebook’s platform for buying and selling items in your area, and in general search results.

A full rollout of this ad placement type has been a long time coming. Facebook began testing paid social search ads with select advertisers in early 2019 before expanding the test in late July. Search Engine Land called the full rollout “a boon for any advertiser running a product sales or conversion-focused campaign.”

Search results ads will be automatically included in new campaigns that use Facebook’s Automatic Placements tool; advertisers that don’t use Automatic Placements can manually select or de-select the option.

“Internal Facebook research showed that opting-in to Facebook News Feed and Marketplace generally results in a lower cost per incremental lift for mid-funnel brand metrics than News Feed alone,” Facebook said in its release. “This research also showed that consumers’ perceptions of brand favorability and brand quality remained neutral or positive.”

As Search Engine Land’s Amy Gesenhues noted in an October 18 article, the new placement option also creates opportunities for businesses that are new to Facebook advertising.

“As Facebook’s ad inventory becomes even more saturated,” she wrote, “new ad placement options – such as search – give advertisers an upper hand by allowing them to run their ads in areas of the platform not yet overrun with competitor advertising.”

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with significant experience in paid social media advertising and social media management, GrowthEngine Media can help you plan and execute an efficient social strategy that bolsters your online brand and gets you found by your target audience. For more information about our full suite of digital marketing services, feel free to reach out at any time.


Image credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker 

Amazon is Rising in the Paid Search Field

Amazon is Rising in the Paid Search Field

Google has dominated the paid search ad market for as long as PPC has existed. In the constantly-evolving digital world, this sort of longevity is remarkable – but how long can it last? In October, eMarketer reported that Amazon is slowly eating away at Google’s paid search supremacy. A changing of the guards is a long way off, but Amazon’s rise should be on the radar of ever digital marketing professional.

“The US search ad market overall will grow nearly 18% this year to reach $55.17 billion,” eMarketer reports. “Google will obtain a 73.1% share translating to $40.33 billion. But, while Google will remain the dominant player for the next several years, its share is dropping. By 2021, it will capture 70.5% of the market.”

Amazon’s paid search platform, meanwhile, is booming. eMarketer predicts 30 per cent year-over-year growth, translating to roughly $7.09 billion in revenue, and market share growth from 12.9% today to nearly 16% by 2021. The bulk of the growth is attributable to Amazon’s product search supremacy.

“Amazon’s ad business has attracted massive increases in spending because advertisers can reach consumers during product queries, a time when they’re ready to buy,” said eMarketer principal analyst Nicole Perrin. “Amazon has also rolled out better measurement and targeting tools, making it even more attractive for advertisers.”

For advertisers in the retail business, Amazon’s paid search platform is an opportunity to keep an eye on. Combined with Google Ads, an Amazon advertising campaign could expand your reach and improve overall online visibility.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with significant experience managing paid search campaigns, GrowthEngine Media can help you maximize ROI on Google Ads while advising on the viability of alternative digital marketing avenues. Reach out today to learn more about Google Ads’ latest features or to discuss social media, display advertising, Live Chat, and other online advertising options.

Does Your Small Business Still Need a Website?

Does Your Small Business Still Need a Website?

Most small business owners take for granted that their company needs a website. However, it has become easier of late for consumers to learn about small businesses and their products or services elsewhere on the web – on social media, for example, or via Google’s local listings. This growth of website alternatives has led some businesses to ask their digital marketing agency, “Do I still need to invest time and money into developing and maintaining a website?”

Website Alternatives

 The most viable alternative to a company website is a carefully curated and consistently updated Google My Business (GMB) profile. Interested consumers can find information on the business’s hours, services, location, social media presence, and standing in the community by way of Google reviews.

A Facebook business Page can also stand-in for a website. These pages provide similar information to a GMB and can be used in tandem with a robust Instagram account. Interacting with customers may be easier on social media business pages, but Google reviews are more authoritative than Facebook reviews.

The Virtues of a Website

 While maintaining a website is more expensive and time-consuming than maintaining GMB listings or social media profiles, it also offers unique rewards. Consumers tend to see company websites as more trustworthy than GMBs, Facebook pages, and other listings. They also provide your company with a sort of ‘headquarter’ on the web, a single location to which traffic may be directed and where information is stored and content shared.

 We Can Help

 In other words, we believe that company websites still play an important role in small businesses’ digital marketing plans. As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, we can help you build, maintain, and optimize your website to get it found by valuable customers. Reach out today for more information about our web development and maintenance services.

A Look at Google’s Latest Algorithm Update

A Look at Google’s Latest Algorithm Update

Google updates its search engine ranking algorithm several times each day and thousands of times per year, as every good SEO agency knows, but large-scale updates, known as broad core algorithm updates, are relatively rare. Last month, the search engine announced the September 2019 Core Update on its Google SearchLiaison Twitter account (@searchliaison).

It took a few days for the impact of the September update to be felt by webmasters and SEOs, but soon results were pouring in. The consensus view is that this update was less impactful than the update rolled out in June. However, it has had a significant impact on certain niche industries, particularly in the “your money – your life” (YMYL) categories, according to Search Engine Land.

SEMRush describes YMYL content as “the type of information that, if presented inaccurately, untruthfully, or deceptively, could directly impact the reader’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability.” Understandably, Google wants the content it serves in this category to be beneficial to users, and the September update seems to reflect that. RankRanger found that the “Heath and Finances niches [classic YMYL areas] took the brunt” of the update.

In general, though, the September 2019 Core Update appears to be a relatively minor by major update standards. When search industry personality Barry Schwartz asked his twitter followers who had seen significant changes, 52 per cent said they’d seen none.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing and SEO agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is ideally positioned to help you weather the rankings storms caused by algorithm updates. Our SEO strategy relies on foundational elements like site performance, strong links, and high-quality content, elements that Google has continued to favour during the past several algorithm overhauls.

If you are concerned about your site’s rankings or have questions about how we can improve your site, don’t hesitate to reach out today.