Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is introducing a new ad format that lets consumers compare offers from multiple advertisers. Initially, the feature is being aimed at the mortgage market, so that mortgage advertisers — who have historically been among the biggest search advertisers — can better target their ads. Users who search for certain words, such as “mortgage,” will have the option to specify some additional information, such as what type of loan they are interested in and what their income is. They will then see a list of offers that match those criteria (Click on screenshot above for an example).
Google says the new feature is part of the company’s efforts to make “ads more relevant and useful.” And indeed, the company has been testing other ad formats lately that are aimed at specific types of advertisers. For instance, in late August, Google started letting some entertainment advertisers include videos in their search ads — and Google has also let e-commerce advertisers include images in their ads. In its announcement of the comparison ads, Google hints that it may introduce the format for some other categories, saying it will “increase … the number of advertisers able to participate.”
There had been rumblings for several months that Google was set to launch some sort of mortgage-related service, which would disrupt the established mortgage quote market — and it will be worth watching how mortgage quote services, like LendingTree (NSDQ: TREE), react to this, considering that they are also major search advertisers.