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Google's search visibility for car insurance comparison has leapt from 0% to 75% in the space of two days since it launched its own rival to the likes of Confused.com. 

According to stats from Greenlight, Google’s car insurance comparison service is now visible for at least 500,000 relevant UK searches per month from this point onwards.

This will obviously have competitors in what is a fiercely competitive market worried... 

Presumably to avoid losing revenue from the top two PPC ad slots, Google has invented its own just above the organic results: 

The Google car insurance listing is closer in style to an organic result than a paid listing, even if it is marked as 'sponsored'.

Stats from Greenlight’s latest quarterly insurance sector report found that GoCompare.com, Confused.com and MoneySupermarket.com were the three most visible car insurance advertisers achieving a 92%, 83% and 78% share of visibility respectively.

At that time, Google had no presence.

Stats from yesterday show that Google has leapt to 75% visibility and Greenlight predicts that, if Google maintains its current level of integration within search results, it will become the second most visible car insurance comparison provider. 

According to Greenlight COO (and Econsultancy guest blogger) Andreas Pouros, it isn't necessarily a disaster for existing comparison sites:

For the incumbent price comparison sites, Google’s move would have come as no surprise and the next few weeks will be a period of intense data gathering to ascertain how this will impact their businesses in the short, medium and long term.

Anecdotally however, when Google entered the credit card market, it had absolutely zero impact on one of our credit card clients – so it is not a given that Google’s latest move will be a disaster for the existing players as some have prematurely speculated. The market has room for Google too, and it may just mean that everyone has to share it with just one more competitor.

Graham Charlton

Published 12 September, 2012 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Emma Wright

Scary stuff, but this is the power Google has.

If it fancied branching into any market - absolutely anything, it could get a site set up, place it at the top of Google and, like magic, they have a huge stranglehold on the market.

about 4 years ago

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Chris S

It's an interesting development, the platform is theirs to do with as they please. As Emma says, if they want to launch into new areas and position themselves right at the top, they can.

It'll be interesting to see whether consumers actually make use of it.

about 4 years ago

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Sceptic

Where does the 'visibility' metric come from? It seems to apply arbitrary values based on position. Money Supermarket being in top SEO position see their 'visbility' drop from 78% to 38% - how?

about 4 years ago

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Peter E

The visibility is for paid media (PPC), not natural search (SEO).

about 4 years ago

Andreas Pouros

Andreas Pouros, Co-founder & COO at Greenlight

That's correct Peter - thanks.

You can access more complete data, including SEO visibility in our sector reports which can be requested here: http://gossip.greenlightdigital.com/sector-reports-insurance/

about 4 years ago

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Jim Moody

In the short term great news for consumers, another way to find a better deal.

Unfortunately the long term benefit to consumers is less positive. If Google takes away significant revenue from the other key players in the comparison market then the end result is likely to be less choice as they may not still be in business.

On the plus side, its on comparison sites, consumers can just spend a little more time and go direct!

about 4 years ago

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mark

This really does put google in a different light, they just seem to be money grabbing, its not a service that isnt being offered elsewhere let alone putting themselves at position 1, slippery slope.

about 4 years ago

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Aimee Carmichael

Google could do this for anything! this is scary! is this the next change!? But it is good for consumers more choice and the consumer will ultimately decide its success.

about 4 years ago

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Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum Ltd

Jim is spot on.

Short term consumers benefit - which makes it impossible for anyone to argue against it!

Long term... choices are reduced.

Google here has parallels to the potential destructive power of Amazon: where there are stories of companies selling through Amazon: and of course Amazon see exactly how many you sell and at what price! So the day comes when Amazon decides to stock that item themselves on their own warehouse... and your own Amazon sales plummet as Amazon magically manages to be a tiny bit cheaper than you!

about 4 years ago

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Car insurance

It is an interesting, however not surprising move from Google. We have already seen this in the credit cards, bank accounts and saving accounts verticals.

about 4 years ago

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@duh_sponge

As said above, this is a predictable move from Google. The Amazon example from Deri is perfect. See market potential, use your platform to take market position, undercut and capitalise.
What option does it leave the competitor? Increase spend on the platform and reduce their prices? This will impact margin and they are fighting a losing battle - Google will always rank between PPC and Natural, with a box that doesn't look quite so much like an advert. Their competitors will also be paying Google more to maintain market visibility with the sponsored campaigns.
Alternatively, they can remove spend from Google, focus sponsorship on other platforms and rely on natural search for Google, but they will quickly disappear from consumers' view - again significantly impacting their business.
Looks like insurance comparison providers could be damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Google to launch brand character and cuddly toys next?
Simples.

about 4 years ago

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Crutcher

Thanks in support of sharing such a pleasant idea, post is
pleasant, thats why i have read it completely

about 4 years ago

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Simeon Linstead

I suspect that Google may be very concerned with how the EU competition commissioner views this behaviour.

Watch this one closely as it will determine to what extent Google can pursue this type of activity.

There's an interesting article in the Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/sep/21/google-warned-antitrust-charges-europe?newsfeed=true

about 4 years ago

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purva patel, Self Employed

Ahh the power of Google! Quite scary to say the least. As long as they don't dip their hands into the auto insurance market in the US though, I'll be fine with it ;) - http://www.4autoinsurancequote.com

almost 3 years ago

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