Elizabeth Marsten // May 24 2011
First introduced in 2009 for mortgages, Comparison Ads have expanded into the promised additional areas of credit cards, CDs, Checking and Savings accounts. Rolled out today, the expanded Google Advisor tool is open for business.
I began immediately by taking test drives in both the user interface and in search to see what the ads looked like.
My first response on the actual Advisor interface was that is was pretty slick and easy to use. Especially since it’s stalking me and knows by IP address to show me mortgage rates for King County.
So the next question I immediately had was- how are these advertisers chosen? All I could find is that these providers are a “limited number” which we all know means closed beta. I for one, would love to know they’re filtering out the less than scrupulous lenders and not by charging a sky high fee so that they aren’t also eliminating the smaller lenders. From what I picked up on Search Engine Land today, there’s a Quality Score and bid process to determine placement in the results.
Currently Google is not collecting a fee for any of the services except for mortgages. Only if you choose to contact a lender does Google charge a CPA type of fee for the lead. And yes, your privacy is intact, a horde of lenders won’t be swooping down on you- in fact Google doesn’t even give them your real phone number.
But how does this impact PPC? Pretty significantly right now- at least in the visual sense.
They’re taking up the #1 slot of real estate. Or rather this special slot which I’ll call #1A. I tried several different searches and found that often the top ad was directing users to the new Google Advisor site.
Yeah I’m not crazy about that either. But at least they made it 4 slots over 3 and didn’t push whoever was #3 over to the sidebar. And they didn’t drop the 10 organic results to 9, they just made the page longer.
I tried to find out more from the AdWords Help Center and was greeted with only a definition of what a comparison ad is. So no help there. What I would like to know is if Google is going to continue driving traffic from the SERP to their Advisor site and will it always be in the #1A slot? What if you are a credit card comparison site yourself and your account has more history, good QS, bids etc;? Shouldn’t you outrank Google for position then? And shouldn’t the name be “Google Comparison Engine” or something?
Setting all that aside, how does tool itself work? I recently bought a house all of 3 weeks ago, so I ran my own personal purchase price, credit score, down payment and loan type into the engine.
No, I am not going to show you how much I paid for my house, but I can tell you that I was an excellent candidate for a home loan and that the rate I got was higher than any of the advertised rates- and I know we got a good rate. However, I think it’s just the same thing that all lenders do on any site (we used Lending Tree for comparisons) they put the lowest one that they can to get you to call. All in all, it’s fun AND informative. If you click on a lender and drill down, you can see the fees, principle, PMI and lock period. You can also select up to 4 lenders for side by side comparisons.
It’s a very slick tool. It’s very user friendly. Now- how do I get into it? Or at the very least, compete with it if my client isn’t in it and Google has given itself a special ad space at the top?
Check it out here and see for yourself: Google Advisor
Elizabeth supervises the overall search division at Portent, which includes PPC, SEO and Social Media. Check out her modest brag link bundle if you really want to know more: http://bitly.com/bundles/ebkendo/5 She has also written ebooks, is a regular on the Portent blog and speaks on PPC across the USA at various conferences. Read More