Google Changes the Rules

Change once again is rocking the automotive digital marketing world as Google drops the third party review counts from its yellow stars. Only reviews directly posted on Google Places are now showing. This screen shot of BMW of Scherville showed all the DealerRater reviews last week in their star counts, but not today.


This is what their Google Places account looked like


last week:


PCG Article image 1


This is what it looks like now:


PCG article image 2


In fact, all BMW dealers in Chicago are impacted:


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In-store reputation management and Google Places


I've been coaching dealers to start using the Google Places App on their iPhones and iPads to increase directly posted reviews. The benefit? The dealer can use Google Boost to spice up their PPC strategy. I also warned dealers that if Google every dropped the review "counts" from the stars from third parties, they would be better protected by having a direct Google Places posting strategy.


Now keep in mind, Google is still showing the counts from third parties in brackets, but the key metric is that the yellow stars are what always, but the consolidated reviews do not always show.


A tsunami of change


Acton Toyota has over 1,227 reviews posted on DealerRater but they only have 10 reviews directly posted on Google Places. A few weeks ago I saw their Google listing and it showed over 1,000 reviews with their stars. That is now history!


In fact, Google is not even showing all of their reviews from as shown below:


PCG Article image 4


Dealers looking for direction on how to best adapt to these changes should start an in store reputation management process that include using 3G iPads and iPhone devices.


Dealers must set processes to identify consumers with Google accounts while they are in the dealership. 550,000 Android devices are activated a day and all have Google Accounts. Google empowered consumers can post reviews directly on Google Places, with their account, from a mobile device.


I told dealers this day would come and today is that day. If you need help with in store training, processes, and strategy on reputation management, give me a call. I'm here to help. We have the strategy and solutions.

Brian Pasch is the CEO of PCG Digital Marketing. For more information, please call732-672-2356 or visit





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