Google Compare for Auto Insurance: Performance Implications & Recommendations for Paid Search Campaigns

Post by Bhavna Shewakramani, Media Director, and Andrea Mann, Media Director

Google recently entered the increasingly competitive online auto insurance shopping space, launching “Google Compare for Auto Insurance” in the U.S. Its new tool allows searchers who are in market and shopping for auto insurance to easily compare quotes and purchase policies. The tool provides a side-by-side comparison of insurance providers and can generate a quote within minutes.

Google’s new tool is easy to use.  Once a searcher has entered personal information and selected preferred coverage, the tool procures results from up to 14 insurance providers. Google has already signed a few big players like Metlife and Mercury as well as some local providers, but many other large, well-known insurance carriers have yet to explore this opportunity.

Currently, Google Compare for Auto Insurance is only available in California, but plans to roll out to additional states within the year. As the tool expands its geographic reach, expect new features such as reviews, ratings and local agent support to be layered onto search results.


We aren’t surprised to see Google launch an insurance comparison tool, it’s in line with our past prediction of the prevalence of niche search experiences. Google is accentuating focus on vertical specific search engines, starting with retail and PLAs (Product Listing Ads), moving into the travel industry with Google Hotel Finder, and the finance vertical with Google Advisor.

An important question for brands to understand is: Have similar products disrupted the search space and harmed competition within their vertical? Based on the recent antitrust complaints in EU, it seems that most advertisers would argue that Google isn’t exactly playing fair. However, in response to these allegations, Google released an interesting blog post pointing out that its travel and shopping products haven’t negatively impacted top advertisers’ revenues and that consumers have more choices and channels to search on than ever before.

THINKING AHEAD: How Google Compare Could Impact Paid Search Strategy

As of now, the program is still in its infancy, so any direct impact that Google Compare has on a brands’ paid search campaigns has yet to be proven. However, based on the concept, we can hypothesize that it will have an impact on non-brand search traffic. Google’s intent is to provide a one-stop-shop for searchers by giving them a tool to price comparison shopping across several carriers. Therefore, auto insurance companies can expect to see a decline in high-funnel keyword traffic such as “Auto Insurance,” “Car Insurance” and “Auto Insurance Quotes.”

With all of the major carriers and insurance aggregator partners already bidding on these high-volume, high-competition keywords, cost-per-clicks (CPCs) will continue to rise with increased competition. So, another giant (Google) entering the search engine results page (SERP), will only make CPCs trend upwards. It will be difficult for auto insurance companies to maintain real estate, and we imagine impression share for high-volume, non-brand keywords will decline.

At a high-level, it seems that auto insurance advertisers have a few options in response to Google’s Auto Compare tool:

  1. Bid aggressively to remain competitive on the SERP
  2. Participate in the Compare product pilot program and ensure their policies are priced competitively, or
  3. Strategize an alternate way to make up the lost volume elsewhere


Brands and advertisers should keep the following in mind as Google’s Auto Compare Shopping Tool matures and becomes more acclimated amongst search activity:

  • Stay informed about the tool’s roll-out across the U.S. and determine whether it makes sense to join the pilot program
  • Audit brand campaigns and ensure they are optimal performers:
    • Brand campaigns are always important, as brand queries typically capture deeper-funnel traffic, reeling in shoppers on the tail-end of the research phase who are ready to buy a policy. Now, with Google Compare eating into non-brand traffic, brand campaigns will prove to be extremely significant. Make sure to capture as much traffic as possible. Are you maintaining 100% impression share? Are your brand’s quality scores high?
    • Review brand ad copy performance. Pause performers and rotate in new ad copy to test.
    • Are you providing unique experiences for mobile and desktop searchers?
  • Create a remarketing strategy to target segmented audiences:
    • Because Google Compare is making it easier for consumers to obtain a competitive quote from multiple carriers simultaneously, it’s possible that more customers will begin shopping around during their renewal period. While this could increase search traffic, it might also negatively impact customer retention rates. Therefore, you may want to segment out your current customers so you can give them special attention.
      • For example, you can add a remarketing tag to the customer login page to begin building a list of customers. Then, set up a remarketing campaign that bids higher or serves differentiated ad copy (such as: “Stay with brand X for low rates”) to current customers who are searching relevant non-brand queries. This could help retain customers who are potentially shopping around for a new policy.

To learn more about Google’s Auto Compare Shopping Tool, please contact your performance account team today.

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