It’s very common for marketing agencies and martech providers to include testimonials and case studies on their website landing pages. However, agencies must be careful when it comes to the claims which are made in these testimonials – one agency recently found out that its AdWords account had been suspended after Google decided that the testimonials on its landing page amounted to ‘misrepresentation’.
Google has strict guidelines when it comes to the claims businesses make about their products and services. As a result, any claims made in a company’s testimonials must have a corresponding disclaimer. This also applies to claims which are general, especially if they have been extrapolated from specific case studies.
Furthermore, if it is claimed that a product or service will achieve specific results then this must be backed up with evidence from a peer-reviewed study. It is forbidden to claim that the product or service’s results will be permanent, and the word ‘guarantee’ can only be used in the context of money-back guarantees.
These guidelines have been put in place to protect consumers, and it is clear why they are needed. For example, they prevent companies from making exaggerated claims about products like weight loss pills. These kinds of claims can deceive or mislead customers into buying products which don’t really work.
Some say the guidelines are not really relevant to marketing agencies, which tend to make heavy use of testimonials and case studies. Others have suggested that it is excessive for Google to require a disclaimer for all the claims made in agencies’ testimonials. However, Google points out that the services provided by agencies may have widely varying results, and so it is not reasonable to make general claims based on individual testimonials or case studies.
This should come as a reminder to marketing agencies to be as transparent as possible in the claims that they make. If a case study claims that the agency’s services increased sales, for example, a disclaimer must be made to clarify that these results are not guaranteed.
In light of this information, marketing agencies and martech providers should take action now to avoid running the risk of having their AdWords accounts suspended. Though it may seem like an inconvenience, greater transparency may lead to an increase in consumers’ trust and confidence in the businesses concerned. As a result, sticking to the guidelines will likely benefit both consumers and companies.