Using Reviews to Bolster PPC Performance


Great reviews go a long way for any company. Businesses will always emphasize why they are better than the competition, but positive reviews from searchers’ peers is invaluable. For example, let’s say I’m doing a search on Google for “coffee tables” and I see these 3 ads:

Each advertiser tells me why I should click their ad; however, the two bottom ads also tell me that most consumers are happy dealing with these merchants (through the use of the seller ratings extensions). With this extra vote of confidence I’m more likely to click one of these ads. As a PPC manager, I want to ensure these positive reviews continue so I can stand out from the competition. Thus, it is important to read these reviews and make sure customers are happy. If they aren’t, it is imperative to find out why they are dissatisfied and how to rectify the issues.

Assessing Reviews

Reviews are collected from a variety of sites, including: Bizrate, Epinions,, and more. Any merchant who has reviews from these sites should have a seller rating page on Google. This page contains all reviews with a star rating. In fact, Google makes it easy to search by rating, date and source:

4 and 5 star reviews are great, but it’s in the 1-3 range that we’ll find why consumers are unhappy. Many reviews will show disappoint with either the customer service and/or product, however, by digging deep you can find issues with the site and visitor expectations. Let’s take a look at a few of these negative reviews that are easier to correct.

The Bad Coupon

It can be very frustrating to go through the checkout process, only to find that your coupon code does not work. In fact, some shoppers only buy from a specific site because of the coupon. Needless to say, this experience can leave a sour taste in the shopper’s mouth. It is crucial to always make sure your PPC ads don’t contain out of date codes. With larger accounts containing hundreds of ads, it’s not hard to miss turning specific promotions off. A good rule of thumb is to make a note in your calendar to pause ads when the promotions end. Additionally, if you know many of your coupon centric ads contain the term “code” you can set an ad text filter to find this copy. Thus, once a week (or more if you desire) you can run this filter.

Poor Shopping Cart Experience

Most customers who reach the shopping cart page are ready to buy. Maybe they see the total and decide to shop around more (hello remarketing), but generally, they have decided to buy. The checkout process should be simple and easy to understand. If it isn’t, we see reviews like the one above. A good PPC manager should review the checkout process and report any errors or inconsistencies. Even items such as button placement and number of steps in the checkout process are fair game.

Small Selection

Sometimes, searchers are unimpressed by the selection. A website may have over 10,000 products, but if inventory is lacking in a specific section, visitors may notice. In this situation, don’t bring PPC traffic to an area of the site with little product, especially if the competition does have the inventory. Use PPC ad budget in areas with the best chance to convert.


Not all negative reviews are from visitors coming to the site through PPC, but what they have to say can work to improve PPC performance. PPC managers should assess these reviews and determine if actions can be taken, such as a careful review of the text ads or shopping cart recommendations. When the issues in negative reviews are corrected, PPC performance can only get better.