What is Google Compare? What happened?
With less than a year under their belt, Google is calling it quits, for now, on their Google Compare tool. The tool lets consumers compare car insurance, mortgages, credit cards, savings accounts and CDs. The compare tool gave the consumer the ability to comparison shop from the comforts of their own home and all on one site, great in theory, but maybe a bit ahead of it’s time. Let’s remember, the insurance industry is still the top industry people want to be reached by phone.
Google stated in an email to Compare partners, printed by Search Engine Land, that Compare “has not been as successful as hoped.” A few issues that may have led to this are the fact that major insurance companies, like State Farm and Allstate, did not become partners. Additionally, the regulations to offering insurance comparisons had to be approved on a state-by-state basis limiting the market that could use the Google Compare tool which limited the usage and, most importantly, the revenue generation.
Google Compare is offered in the United States and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom’s version was started in 2012 and has been under the watchful eye of regulators since 2014 while the United States’ version trailed behind and was launched in 2015. Both of these offerings will close down during the month of March.
The tool allowed a consumer to search a term such as ‘car insurance’ and have rates pop up, much like how Google Shopping works, where the results come up with images across the top or along the side of the search results. Or a consumer could go straight to google.com/compare where they were able to enter their zip code and start the process of getting estimates. Once the form is completed, you are shown estimates from Google’s partners, and you also received an email with a reminder of the rates.
The default only shows you the rates without details, but there was the ability to expand to see the details. A comparer could then click through and purchase the plan online at the partner’s website. Google profits on a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model, which meant they make a commission on the successful referrals.
So what’s next?
Focusing more on Google AdWords and future innovations says Google. But what does this mean for insurance agencies? It’s time to play in the Google Business and AdWords realms.
First, claim your agency on Google. It’s a pretty simple process, and it makes you a quicker find on a Google search and easily contacted.
Then on to Google AdWords, which is a way for an agency to control the message that goes out and the market they are reaching by geographic, demographic or keyword information.
Control Your Message
How do you want to portray your agency? Do you wish to focus on your agents or a particular service you offer? This is your opportunity to determine this and create ads that differentiate you from other agencies.
You’ll have three different platforms to target your audience:
- Search ads: the text-only ads you see when you search on Google
- Display ads: image-centric ads that you see on the Google ad network sites (these types of ads let you reach your audience on other sites they may be visiting)
- Video ads: show a video on Google ad network sites
I would recommend starting with Search ads before branching out to the rest; you can get started here.
Targeting Your Market
You have the ability granularly target your audience. If you’re a local agency, target the area you serve; if you serve more than one area, put them all in. This keeps your ads focused and not wasteful by showing the ad in a region you wouldn’t be able to serve well.
Setting Your Budget
Here’s the best part—you can determine how much you want to spend daily! And when the amount is reached, it shuts off the ad for the rest of the day so as not to exceed your budget. Of course, you will want to monitor this, and if you see that one ad is doing better than another at driving people to visit your site or contact your agency, then you may want to put more money towards it.
There are a few ways to determine your goals & how you will accumulate costs on Google AdWords:
- CPC = cost-per-click. You will pay an amount each time your ad is clicked.
- vCPM = cost-per-thousand viewable impressions. You will pay an amount for every 1,000 times your ad is viewable
- CPA = cost-per-acquisition. You pay an amount every time a specific action is completed on your site; this requires using conversion tracking.
- CPV = cost-per-view. This is specifically for video ads, and you are paying an amount each time you video is watched.
Google Adwords works on a bid system, so when setting up your ads, you will give an amount you are willing to pay for the action of your choice, you may or may not pay that amount each time.
When you do get to setting your budget or ads, I would recommend sticking with CPC amounts first and then branching to the others.
Reviewing Your Results
During your Google AdWords campaigns, you can measure your results through the Google AdWords dashboard. In the dashboard, you will be able to see how your ads are performing during specific timeframes by reviewing the number of times they have been viewable (impressions), the number of times they have been clicked on (clicks), the average amount you are paying for the consumer actions (Avg. CPC, in the case of CPC), and the total cost of each ad (cost).
Want to learn more about online insurance marketing?
We co-authored a book with Rocket Referrals all about the modern insurance consumer because we believe in the importance of meaningful communication between insurance agents and their clients and prospects.