Last Thursday Google quietly rolled out a new feature in AdWords called Comparison Ads. The official explanation (via the Google AdWords blog) is that Comparison Ads “lets users compare multiple, relevant offers more easily.” Okay, I can buy that. Google trying to make things easier on users. They do that a lot. However, this should make a lot of AdWords advertisers uneasy.
Why Comparison Ads Are Good
The most obvious benefit is that given by Google; it allows users to make a quick comparison of different offers and take action easily. Also, for some advertisers, only having to pay once a lead or phone call comes in (instead of paying for lots of clicks that don’t convert) will be a blessing.
Why Comparison Ads Are Evil
Basically, Comparison Ads are evil because this gives Google more power and advertisers less power. Just look at the example that Google put on their own blog. The screenshot shows 9 lenders, all on the same page with their name, APR, fees, two lines of ad copy and call-to-action buttons all lines up in pretty little rows. How does a lender set themselves apart? Are two lines of ad copy enough to convey your competitive advantages?
As a consumer I would look at this page and the first thing I would do is look for the lowest APR (which Google has conveniently bolded and enlarged). Then I would look at the fees and payment info next to the APR. See what’s happening? Pure price comparison. You no longer have landing pages to convey your message. You will always be listed right next to your competitors. This should make AdWords advertisers very nervous.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts. Hopefully I’ve got you thinking and if I’m wrong I want to hear why because I would dearly like to be wrong on this one.