AdWords Comparison Ads – What Might the Future Have in Store

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| 4th April 2012
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AdWords Comparison Ads – What Might the Future Have in Store

Since 2009 Google AdWords have been testing Comparison Ads.  They first tested Comparison Ads for finance products, including mortgages, in the US. Here in the UK credit card Comparison Ads were visible from February 2010 onwards.

Comparison Ads appear both below and above the top three PPC Ads. This ad type pushes down the organic results - a common theme with Google’s ad extensions. It is also worth noting that when a Comparison Ad is shown in the very top position it also pushes down PPC ads. 


The slightly different look of Comparison Ads to the regular ads is likely to mean higher CTRs.  Asking for small amounts of information from people after they have searched on a keyword will enable Google to deliver more relevant results. Google can assume the users’ search intent from both keywords searched on and also from interaction with the Comparison Ad.

The Comparison Ads are straightforward to use.  You simply state what you’re interested in within the Comparison Ad (for example all cards, balance transfer rates, purchase rates or representative APR) and you then click on the ad. There is then a very short form to complete which enables Google to present you with a list of relevant credit cards that should meet your needs.

You can click on the cards you’re interested in to compare them and explore them in more detail:


The whole process is very simple. The ability to compare different cards, side-by-side, is something other comparison sites often don’t do well. Many will simply list the deals without the details. If you find a card you like you can click “Apply Now” which takes you to a highly relevant landing page on the retailer’s website.

What Does the Future Hold?

The rise of the Comparison Ad is strongly noticeable in the US. Google’s Hotel Finder ads started appearing in there in December 2011. The Hotel Finder ad format may be different to the Comparison Ad examples above, but they too are being labelled as Comparison Ads and are ‘achieving’ those prime top spots in the paid ads:

If Google decides to expand on their Comparison Ad offerings, we may see them showing Comparison Ads for other verticals. Maybe Google will show Comparison Ads for highly competitive areas, like insurance, where existing comparison sites heavily compete against each other.

Google even has the potential to create Comparison Ads for retail products too. Within Google Shopping you are already presented with tables that compare prices for one particular product.

There is also the possibility of Comparison Ads appearing for travel related searches too - Google may use its Flight Search tool to present people relevant Comparison Ads in this area.

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