In a June 2010 report, eBusiness Leaders: It's Time To Take Financial Service Comparison Web Sites Seriously, we showed that 26% of comparison site users were drawn to comparison tools because of advertisements and 22% came via an Internet search. The launch of Google’s savings account comparison tool will only increase the exposure of comparison tools and sites in the US and other markets (the tool became available in the UK in 2010), mostly because of its strong tie to the buying process and prowess as a search engine.
Google’s comparison tool covers other retail banking products as well as mortgages, credit cards and checking accounts. The focus on personal finances instead of solely investment products — which for some US companies is a missed opportunity — increases the pressure on smaller firms like Bankrate.com or CreditCards.com, since it aggregates information for all key retail banking products and will likely benefit from greater exposure by virtue of being associated with Google.
The only major downside of Google’s tool is the lack of major players in the space like big traditional banks. This will be more an issue for less rate driven products like checking, where choice is based on factorsother than just interest rate.
Once again, Google has upped the ante. Its advertising power and younger audience will no doubt increase traffic to its tool. If it wasn’t before, it is now time for channel executives to think about the role comparison shopping services and sites need to play in their overall marketing and sales strategy.