Google Compare to Be Phased Out by 23 March 2016

In an unexpected move on 22 February 2016, Google made an email announcement to Google Compare partners that the financial service suite will go in a gradual phaseout, starting immediately, and shut down a month later. The termination on 23 March 2016 concerns both the UK and US iterations of the financial services comparison utility. In the official announcement, the Google Compare team admitted its service failed to generate sufficient traction or steady revenue. Here is an excerpt from the email message to Compare partners: “Despite people turning to Google for financial services information, the Google Compare service itself hasn’t driven the success we hoped for. We greatly appreciate your partnership and understand that this decision will be disappointing to some. But 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.” Current partners of Google Compare can still rely on support during the transition period, as the announcement made clear. Although the decision may surprise some, for industry insiders there were also a number of telltale signs which spelt trouble for Google Compare on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, Google only recently rebuilt the Compare suite on the back of another dismantled program, Google Advisor. Shedding Advisor’s comparisons of savings accounts, CDs, and mortgage comparisons, the revamped Compare focussed on credit card rankings at first. It saw gradual expansions to other financial services with limited, area-specific rollouts. Despite acquiring solid partners such as Zillow and Lending Tree, the tiered relaunch of Google Compare clearly prevented it from achieving national relevance. In the UK, Google Compare offered more comprehensive service, covering car insurance, mortgage rates, credit cards, and travel insurance. Nevertheless, coverage remained patchy across the land, and a Google spokesperson admitted the limited availability of Compare services hampered the product’s traction and kept its revenue negligibly small in both markets. 2014 was especially difficult for Google Compare in the UK, as the Financial Conduct Authority started looking into complaints against the service from competitors. The UK’s financial industry regulator investigated claims Compare engaged in unfair competition by placing own products as top hits. While legal concerns did not play an official role in the decision to phase the service out, the episode hurt Compare’s performance and image further. Although Google vowed to refocus on AdWords, we expect the company to continue exploring other avenues in the niche which Compare will vacate. This assumption is bolstered by Google’s promise to retain all former Compare staff and help them find other suitable roles in the company structure.


Next article

AMP Results Now Live in Google In an unexpected move on 22 February 2016, Google made an email announcement to Google Compare partners that the financial service suite will go in a[...] Read article
Find Out How We Can Help Your Business

We specialise in implementing bespoke online marketing campaigns and building stunning responsive websites. Fill in the details below to find out how we can help your online business become a success.