Google’s mortgage comparison service of little threat to incumbents

Leading independent digital marketing agency, Greenlight, says Google's latest entry into mortgage comparison poses little threat to incumbents in its current form. It bases this on how things have played out in the car insurance and credit card sector. In addition, the agency points out the brand is still not one consumers immediately associate with financial services and has some way to go yet before it becomes a more established player in consumer minds.

Following on from its move into the competitive car insurance price comparison market in September, Google has re-launched a UK mortgage comparison service allowing consumers to compare 5,000 different mortgage deals in any one search, online. The comparison service lists products that are available direct from lenders and via brokers.

Currently, Google's comparison service does not appear at the top of sponsored search results for all mortgage-related terms. However, there will likely be apprehension among competitors that Google will in time use its online search to position its comparison tool at the top of search results whenever any mortgage-related search is conducted using its engine.

In the case of car insurance, Greenlight's latest quarterly insurance report (October) which charts the most visible insurers online for home, travel and car insurance, found that a month after its entry into the car insurance comparison space in the UK, the search giant was the eighth most visible advertiser, (compared to second in September, shortly after launch), enjoying a 75% share of visibility (and 33% for insurance overall).

However, research from Greenlight shows that Google's entry into both credit cards and car insurance had less than a 1% impact on what people clicked on when they searched Google for those products. According to Andreas Pouros, Chief Operating Office at Greenlight, initial evidence suggests the same to be true for mortgages.

Pouros also points out that Google is as yet not a brand consumers immediately connect or associate with financial-related services and has some way to go before it achieves that status. What's more, any above-the-line advertising to raise its profile would arguably need to be kept to a bare minimum if Google is to avoid stoking further antagonism with the EU Commission.

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