Google Shuts Down Its Insurance Comparison Product
Google recently confirmed that it would eliminate its financial and insurance comparison tools. These tools have been available to people seeking credit card, insurance, and mortgage services since last year. Despite the relative success and helpfulness of these tools, Google has still decided to withdraw them and instead offer answers for such services through Adwords.
Reasoning Behind the Move
Google's primary reason for withdrawing its Compare services centers on both the lack of customer conversions and revenue. The services were designed to help customers shop for car insurance, mortgages, and credit cards by providing a comparison among the various local and national companies that participated in Google Compare. Google in turn would receive a portion of the proceeds of each purchase based on a flexible cost per acquisition model.
However, Google confirmed to Search Engine Land that the services have not performed as expected, and in fact have proven quite unsuccessful in meeting Google's goals for them. Stating the lack of revenue coming in through the services, Google has thus decided to eliminate them entirely.
Corporate Reaction to Google's Decision
Business leaders whose companies participated in Google Compare state that they are not surprised by Google's decision. Joshua Dziabiak, COO of car insurance marketplace The Zebra, stated, "A lot of people aren't super surprised. Some of us kind of saw it coming."
The element of surprise arguably was lost in the fact that Google failed to provide any in-depth details about how the comparison tools determined the prices quoted to customers. People who shopped for mortgages, credit cards, and insurance rates using the comparison tools received glossed over details rather than the extensive information they needed to understand what factors were used to provide them with the quotes.
Because of this lack of helpful customer information, many companies refused to participate. Those that did acknowledge that more could have been done to help customers figure out what financial services were right for them. As a whole, however, companies' decision not to participate and Google's resulting decision to remove its Google Compare tools indicates that Google will experience a setback in its desire to expand its money-making services outside of its online search and display ads.
Interpreting Google's Decision
Even if removing the Compare tools is a bit of a setback for Google, the company still continues to make money through the insurance ads that it displays. In fact, Dziabiak notes that online insurance ads have some of the highest cost-per-click amounts, which allows Google to a significant amount of money from them. Because Google's name appears above the ads, it is possible that the company was losing money with its Compare services.
A recent email to Google's partners appear to confirm this suspicion. The email states, "After a lot of careful consideration, we've decided that focusing more intently on AdWords and future innovations will enable us to provide fresh, comprehensive answers to Google users, and to provide our financial services partners with the best return on investment."
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