Redefining Sponsored Ads: Introducing Google AdWords Comparison Ads

Redefining Sponsored Ads: Introducing Google AdWords Comparison Ads

Google is constantly experimenting with new ways to improve search results and yield the most relevance ads possible to consumers. Now they’ve just released Google AdWords Comparison Ads which mix valuable at-a-glance data with advertising and even elements of lead generation.

How Do Comparison Ads Work?

Google uses an advanced amount of targeting and relevancy signals to determine the best ads to display for every query. These signals, however, aren’t always sufficient to deliver very specific ads, especially with broad, general search query terms. Take the search term “mortgage” for example. When people type this into Google are they looking to purchase or refinance? Do they want an adjustable rate or a fixed rate mortgage?  By selecting a few basic options, these comparison ads allow users to specify what they’re looking for and help them quickly compare relevant offers side by side. The goal with these comparison ads is to target user’s at the most granular level, in order to increase the amount of well qualified leads that you gain as an advertiser.

Taking that example of “mortgage” a little further, below you will see an example of how the comparison ad would show up in a sponsored link.

If some one checks off which option they want, they refine their search criteria and Google delivers more detailed and relevant sponsored links. Searchers can then choose from offers on that page or actually refine the original search further by identifying additional information such as price, credit rating, location, down payment, and income. Of course the additional information options used to refine the advertising would depend on the original query.  A search for autos or hotels would be refined with different data fields than mortgages.

What Are The Extra Benefits Of Comparison Ads As An Advertiser?

Even though Comparison Ads are still in an early stage of development, Google has focused on multiple ways to enhance the user experience such as:

  • Speed – Targeted offers are shown in less than a second. There are no long forms to fill out and users only need to fill in additional information if they wish to further refine their search.
  • Transparency – Only real, genuine products are shown as opposed to teasers or bait and switch offers. Also, all of the information in presented in a standardized format which makes it easy for users to sort and compare offers on a side by side basis.
  • Privacy – Advertisers will not receive any user information, unless the user explicitly requests more information about an advertiser’s offer.  Google Comparison Ads deliver their basic relevant information while maintaining user anonymity.

Where Can I See Comparison Ads In AdWords?

Comparison Ads are currently only being shown to a small amount of users in select states in the U.S. and in limited to a number of advertisers in the mortgage/refinance industry. Over time, Google anticipates to open up the amount of advertisers and industries that are able to participate.  While it’s only personal speculation, it seems logical that Comparison Ads will have many varied, useful applications, like perhaps hotel and travel reservations, real estate listings, car shopping, or insurance quotes.

It will truly be exciting to see which industries capitalize on this opportunity to refine search and therefore increase their user’s experience.

By Jerrold Burke

Paid Search Analyst