Compare Car Insurance… the Google Way
Back in May I blogged about Google rolling out its new financial services comparison ad units within the search results. Well, they are at it again. As of Monday this week, Google has started serving a new advert allowing users to “compare car insurance” through…you guessed it, Google.
Whilst limited to Car Insurance at the moment, it is surely only a matter of time until additional insurance services are available for comparison through the service, which is being powered using BeatThatQuote.com technology acquired in 2011 for £38m.
Not only have Google implemented a separate ad unit to promote their service, below the main two PPC listings, but again they place this as a sponsored listing above the natural search results (notably above Moneysupermarket & confused.com). Google outlines in the search results for users:
“Based on your search query, we think you are trying to find car insurance. Clicking in this box will take you to our service that can provide you with car insurance quotes from car insurance providers. Our service is free to you but to operate this service, we are compensated by these providers.”
Beware of CTR Impacts on your search campaigns!
In addition to the new advert being placed competitively, Google has also decided to roll out a “Start a new quote” button in their advertising. This will undoubtedly boost the CTR of the advert within the search listings, potentially to the detriment of all other advertisers in the auction and across search as a whole.
For advertisers and search engine optimisation efforts, the following effects are possible:
- Lower CTRs could mean weaker quality score of your PPC advertising
- SEO position based on CTR could be impacted, resulting in less stable rankings
- Poorer quality score in PPC could result in increased minimum bid requirements to secure position
- This may increase average CPCs and further impact cost per quote and cost per acquisition
Forecasted volumes from page one positions could now be fundamentally altered, and will need reviewing once data can be collected on the impact this change is having.
As a brand new comparison engine, you might expect the quote process to be a little clunky. In actual fact it is relatively smooth, with Which? also outlining that their researchers had found that across a number of policy scenarios the tool was generally on a par with other price comparison engines in the market.
Who is going to feel this the most?
Whilst this is a significant development for all search engine marketers, it is also a significant threat to the already established hierarchy at the top of the search results for what has historically been the most competitive and sought after rankings/paid listings in the insurance space.
Direct providers such as Aviva, Direct Line, Churchill and Tesco will undoubtedly feel an impact following the addition of a fifth comparison service on the main page one results in Google, on top of the already established quartet of:
What opportunity does this present to advertisers?
The main opportunity outside of liaising directly with Google to establish a presence on this platform is the additional data that this development will present Google with on user behaviour, intent and future likelihood of requiring car insurance. The potential exists to optimise Google Display Network activity or even Search Engine activity to make sure that you are effectively targeting users known to be “in market” for car insurance, across the various advertising platforms.
GDN (Google Display Network) will have a great advantage as a network to target users who are in market, as rather than targeting contextually based on keywords , known audience or lookalikes, Google will actually be able to facilitate the retargeting of people who have completed a car insurance quote within a given time period. This is an element which other display network buys will struggle to compete with.
PPC (Pay per Click) advertisers may be able to target users who have previously interacted with Google compare with a different bidding strategy or even a different advertising format/structure. You might even be given the opportunity to exclude users clicking on Google Compare from seeing your ads on any future search activity.
All in all, this is a fascinating development, and one which we will be keeping a close eye on as the impact is felt across the marketplace, as the switching culture is fuelled further.