Is Google Compare Still A Threat in the Comparison Market?
Two years on from the launch of Google Compare in late 2012, has it become the threat that some digital marketers believed it would become? And has it taken away any market share from any of the comparison giants such as Money Super Market and Confused?
What is Google Compare?
By purchasing websites such as Beat That Quote, Google has required the necessary relationships and infrastructure in order to provide a comparison service for financial products ranging from car insurance to mortgages. Google promised that end users would benefit from improved transparency and protection for their personal information.
Google Compare can be viewed here
The Threat to Comparison Sites
With a perceived direct influence over the search results, and an authoritative brand – it seemed that Google would be certain to have somewhere between a significant share and a monopoly of the financial comparison market.
Indeed on the first day of its launch, Google Compare is reported by Greenlight digital marketing agency, to have snapped up 75% of car insurance related searches. Meanwhile confused.com’s share is reported to have fallen 83% to 31% during this time.
Added to this, the quality of service from Google Compare seems superior to that of comparison heavyweights like confused.com – as Google Compare strive to monitor insurance providers to make sure that quotes stay consistent, that customers receive a policy that is in-line with their requirements, and make sure that customers are not remarketed additional products.
While traditional comparison sites have the ability to cross-sell, Google have the opportunity to grow their ever increasing wealth of human information.
The more general and over-arching threat which applies to a larger proportion of digital marketers is that it appears that Google’s ultimate goal is to become the first and last stop for web users instead of a mere gateway to other websites. However the extent to which Google intends to delve into other services and industries is not yet clear.
Two Years On
With the recent crack-down on financial comparison websites, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is currently taking an interest in Google Compare.
Concurrently there have been complaints against Google’s service as its result listings include attention grabbing interactive tools which give it an unfair advantage over competitors by way of a higher click-through-rate. Added to this Google appear to have given artificially high rankings its services, Google ultimately has control over the rankings of its competitors, and also of their Adwords Ad Rank and quality scores. It seems like a conflict of interest for Google to compete with their clients…
While complainants complain further that the FCA has not acted quickly enough in controlling Google, Google have offered to change the way in which they display their services within the search results to less impede other providers such as Confused.com.
and after the past two years, and three years since the purchase of BeatThatQuote.com Google currently only possess 1% of the market…
Thus it seems that although Google are begging to step quite heavily on the toes of the big financial comparison websites, Google are not posing quite as much of a threat as first believed – and if they are posing a threat, it is a slow developing threat that is meeting strong resistance.