Google is testing the effect of adding “Trusted Stores” badges to qualifying advertisers’ search ads, as it considers deploying the badges more widely. The experiment was first reported by Internet Retailer.
A Google spokesperson, asked to comment on the test, sent a statement that said: “As part of the Google Trusted Stores program, we’re currently conducting a test with a small set of advertisers to help users identify online merchants that offer a great shopping experience. In our ongoing efforts to provide ads that are useful and relevant for users, we’re experimenting with different ways to communicate information about the quality of the shopping experience for a particular advertiser in the search ad itself.”
Trusted Stores is a program Google announced last year which aims to improve consumer confidence in ecommerce by certifying that stores with the badge abide by certain minimum standards in customer service — and even offers purchase protection for buyers.
To be a part of the program, etailers must apply and provide a range of data to Google. To qualify, Trusted Stores must have a track record of on-time shipping and reliable customer service, including quick resolution of any customer issues.
In the AdWords test we’ve seen, a medal-like badge appears to the left of the URL and the first line of text in the ad. When a user hovers over the badge, a panel appears with information about the etailer’s qualifications and rating, along with a “Trusted Stores” logo. In the Internet Retailer story, Google group product manager Tom Fallows said the company is testing a number of different implementations. Not all Trusted Stores are currently displaying the badge with their AdWords ads, presumably so Google can compare badge-free with badged ads.
Google said the advertiser’s participation (or not) in Trusted Stores won’t affect ad rank in the AdWords auction.