On Monday 22nd February, while the market was processing the effect of the removal of ads from the right hand side of search results and adding a fourth ad above the natural results, Google announced that they are shuttering the Google Compare product.
Google Compare has existed in some countries on some verticals for a few years, but has never achieved consistency. In some countries it compares insurance, in others mortgages, and in others credit cards. Many territories did not have all the comparisons available, even within the US different states had different experiences.
In the announcement yesterday Google’s reasoning focussed on a lack of user engagement with the tool. “Despite people turning to Google for financial services information, the Google Compare service itself hasn’t driven the success we hoped for.”
The product will show to fewer and fewer searchers from Tuesday 23rd, and be completely removed by the 23rd March.
This is a very high query volume sector for Google, and one with high costs per clicks on advertising, so the cost-per-lead format of Google Compare wasn’t effective enough for Google without the product attracting a lot of volume, which it didn’t.
Replacing this real estate on search result pages with advertising can be a good move for Google, and a positive move for brands if it focusses attention and priority back towards the formats that attract user interest. It’s a positive move for consumers that were ignoring the previous format anyway.
Different queries might find that this increases the prominence of organic results and the importance of SEO. We will be immediately making sure that PPC campaigns, keywords and bidding strategies are correct and appropriate for the landscape without Google Compare.