Google seems to be offering yet another option in the realm of AdWords ad extensions. Yesterday I noticed Ratings displayed as line 5 of the AdWords ad text. (click on link to see full-size image)
This appears to be a new, unlisted product, as I haven't seen it discussed on Google's Ad Innovations Page. We've previously discussed the benefits of SiteLinks and Product Extensions (Plusbox), and the various pros and cons of those offerings. This product seems to dovetail with a recent announcement regarding their partnering with Bazaarvoice on this initiative.
The line 5 font appears to be formatted as a "grayed" line of text, which strays from their default black and/or blue hyper-linked formats. Only certain advertisers seem to have the listings, while others seem to be displaying other ad extensions, and still others without a line 5 altogether. Clicking on the "rated" hyper-link within the ad extension displays a list of recent reviews from a collection of popular comparison shopping engines, such as; BizRate.com and Epinions.com. (ex. here)
I personally like the look and feel of these new ratings ad extensions. We're seeing these ratings for a number of our managed clients without any action on our part, or the part of our clients. Indeed, we’re not aware that permission has been sought to display these ratings, though perhaps none is needed (or exists in current Google Merchant Center / AdWords Terms and Conditions). It's too early to know whether these ads are here to stay, and how beneficial they will be from a CTR perspective. After asking a number of colleagues, I'm finding it to be targeted to a very small test audience. Anyone else seeing ratings in ads?