Google Launches Comparison Ads, Starting With Mortgages

Google’s now officially announced “Comparison Ads,” starting with a way for mortgage advertisers to have their products compared against each other but which may expand to other products in the future.

“If you’re looking for a mortgage, you really care about a specific offer. You want to know the APR and based on your specific circumstances, which is something that AdWords doesn’t provide today,” said Nick Fox, director of business product management for AdWords at Google.

In the new system, those search for “mortgage” or “refinance” or related terms may see an special ad from Google itself inviting them to view offers, like this:

Google Mortgage Ad

Note that while the product was just announced, not everyone may see these ads yet. Google says they’ll be fully deployed over the next week. They’ll be visible in specific states where the ads have matching content (more about that below).

Clicking on that ad takes them to a page where they can view a variety of related mortgage offers from various lenders, like this:

Google Mortgage Ads

You can also go directly to the comparison area here. The page allows you to filter rate offers based on size of loan, your credit rating, your gross income, state, county and other options.

The service is currently only offered in the US and even there, not for every state. For example, you won’t find offers for Alaska (and consequently, those in Alaska won’t see comparison ads triggered on mortgage-related searches).

Fox told me there are a variety of reasons preventing universal coverage at the moment, such as some regulatory issues plus that they simply don’t have enough advertisers on board in some places to provide a robust product. Google’s also experimented with a similar product in the UK in 2008. That no longer runs, but what Google learned from the test there was applied to today’s US rollout, the company told me.

Ads are sold on a cost-per-lead basis. When someone clicks to receive a quote, the advertiser is forwarded the information and billed. The advertiser also receives no personal information about the person. In fact, they don’t even get the person’s real phone number. Google provides a temporary bridging number that connects the advertiser to the customer. After that, it’s up to the customer to provide their own “real” number if they want follow-up, Fox said.

Having gone through a remortgage recently, I raised the issue that often rates advertised don’t actually match what you get in the end. Nick Fox said Google’s done work to help eliminate this.

“These are not teaser rates. These are real rates based on what’s used in the industry,” he said, saying that the system pulls back from current data.

The system also uses IP detection to automatically guess at your area. When I tried it, it correctly preset the filters to my state and county.

While mortgages are being offered to start, Google expects other products eventually will be added.

“We don’t have anything to announce in terms of the future areas this will expand in. We’ll learn from the mortgages experiment, how well it is working, where it is working and based on that, we’ll have a better sense of other places to expand the product to,” Fox said.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Top News

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • kmanish

    Nice Article…….visitor can also visit http://www.synapseinteractive.com/news for latest google news.

  • fire1

    While they have nothing to officially announce YET, Goggle has been making lots of inquiries into other types of financial websites to get into their space. I don’t believe Google when they say they are just trying to improve user experience, unless having to click hurts UE. I think Bankrate has done a mighty fine job on the mortgage product, building their business and rate quality. This is all about disintermeditating aggregators and keeping the higher yielding money. It must just piss Google off that aggregator businesses are making money off them even though they cpc advertise.

    Google is saying, “why don’t we just do, what they do? Now Google will use their leadership position to yield greater monies by culling the lead. Mortgage, insurance, credit cards, banking, travel, digital cameras… you name it = comparison ads.

    With 81% share, I hope that someone from the DOJ reads this as well as other vulnerable aggregators and considers what it will mean to the Internet’s existing strongholds as well as crushing any hope for new entries into the space. Kill off the aggregators and brands should care too, they will be paying more due to a site that will hold 81% of the leads.

    I think this is negative, monopolistic arrogance that needs to be dealt with before it takes down many businesses.

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