Pay Per Click (PPC) is one of the most reliable channels that multi-location and franchise brands use to generate more leads, build local awareness, and increase quality site traffic.
While it can be a powerful tool, one of the most important and often over looked channels that can affect the performance of your PPC efforts is online reviews and reputation management. In this post, we’ll discuss how reviews affect PPC conversions, why they have such a big impact on PPC campaigns, and what you can do to improve your online reputation.
Studies Link Online Reviews to PPC Conversion Rates
Reviews play a significant role in online purchase decisions. According to Google, 90% of its users express high levels of trust in online reviews. And in surveys, similar numbers show consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.
Most businesses understand the importance of online reviews. But many of them don’t realize how reviews can impact other aspects of digital marketing, including PPC.
Yet studies have shown that online reviews do influence PPC conversion rates. According to these studies, even a minor fluctuation in reviews can have a dramatic impact on PPC campaigns.
One study tracked the conversion rates of Google Ads compared against brands’ Google My Business ratings. Brands with ratings below 3.5 stars saw average conversion rates around 10.5%. But for brands with ratings around 4.5 stars, conversion rates were nearly 14%!
And it’s not just ratings that affect PPC conversions. The same study found that increasing your reply rate to online reviews can sway conversion rates. Brands that replied frequently to reviews saw conversion rates 30% higher than less responsive brands.
Why Reputation Management Matters on PPC Campaigns
The impact of online reviews on PPC can be surprising to some business owners. After all, if a user clicks on a PPC ad, they’re directed to a landing page. If a brand has weak reviews, they can leave their rating off of their landing page. That means the customer doesn’t see the rating, right?
Unfortunately, no. Many users will perform brand research before making any kind of purchase decision. Even when they make an impulse purchase, they’ll take a minute or two to conduct basic research. And that’s all the time they need to find out about your online reputation.
Let’s say a user clicks on one of your ads. They like what they see, and they’re thinking about making a purchase. But before they commit, they want to check your online reviews. All they need to do is open a new tab and Google your business name. As soon as that happens, they’ll see your Google My Business profile, which includes your Google Reviews.
And if a user decides to perform more detailed research, they’ll start looking at other businesses. That means they’ll be comparing your online reviews against the competition. As a business owner, you need to ask yourself: If my online reviews are compared side-by-side with one of my top competitors, is my business the winner or the loser of that comparison?
How to Boost Your Online Reputation and PPC Performance
If you’re serious about improving your online reviews — and boosting your PPC performance in the process — you’ll need a reputation management game plan. Here’s a snapshot view of what that game plan should include:
Encouraging Positive Reviews
A positive online reputation depends on lots of positive online reviews. So, you’ll need to find ways to encourage more positive reviews from satisfied customers. But you’ll need to make sure you don’t break rules about soliciting reviews.
Volume of Reviews
As a business, it’s easy to fixate on your average review rating. But if you do that, you might overlook your number of reviews. But customers pay close attention to this figure. The lower this number is, the less likely they are to choose your business.
Recency of Reviews
When customers look at your online reviews, they expect to find recent feedback. Newer reviews are perceived as more accurate, and they demonstrate that your business is still relevant.
Consistency of Reviews
An easy mistake to make is generating tons of reviews all at once, then throttling back on reputation management. If most of your reviews fall in a very narrow timeframe, that’s going to look suspicious. Reviews need to be generated sustainably, over a longer period of time.
Responding to Negative Reviews
Every business will eventually generate negative reviews. The important thing is how you respond to these reviews. Developing an effective system for responding to bad reviews can go a long way toward improving your online reputation.