Comparisons.org accumulates useful information about tens and thousands of products to help users in making the right purchasing decision.
With their unique “side by side” comparison functionality, they demystify the often complex world of credit cards, mortgages, auto insurance, refinancing and other similar services for an average person. Additionally, they also have simple, to-the-point articles on a wide range of topics that encourage readers to save money by being well-informed consumers.
Let’s take an in-depth look at what their online advertising strategy looks like in terms of ad spend, publishers, creatives, and landing pages.
Ad Spend and Ad Networks
In the last 6 months, Comparisons has spent $15.3M on online promotion of their brand, with the majority going towards native advertising and content distribution platforms like Outbrain ($5.8M), Yieldmo ($5.3M), and Taboola ($3.8M). Additionally, the company also dedicated a substantial budget to other networks, including, Revcontent ($263.7K), Yahoo Gemini Native ($83.6K), and ContentAd ($28K).
While there’s no money going towards direct ads, 66% of the company’s ads are native, and 34% are programmatic.
In the last decade, brand engagement practices have tremendously on account of consumers everywhere embracing new digital devices evolving. In order to reach the right audiences, marketers are increasingly relying on programmatic buying to create highly-effective, relevant, and measurable ad campaigns—at scale.
Programmatic combines the assurance and safety of reserved buys with the audience precision and automation of real-time auctions. As a result, ad booking is a much more streamlined process for both sellers and buyers that optimizes resource-consumption and boosts efficiency. For example, a recent Boston Consulting Group study found that using Google’s programmatic ad-buying tool is 60% less-time consuming for publishers and nearly 30% for agencies.
Considering that 80% of the total mobile display ads are bought programmatically, it comes as no surprise that most of the Comparisons’ ads run on mobile devices, and not desktop.
From the beginning, Comparisons has advertised prominently with CNN ($589.7K), Fox News ($407.5K), Rolling Stone ($354.6K), Someecards ($292.5K) and Hometalk ($2291.6K).
On all the platforms, most of their money goes towards ensuring that the ads appear on the homepage. Other than that, there’s no specific placement pattern that Comparisons adheres to, as their ads are displayed alongside arbitrary articles, author profiles, and landing pages on the publishers’ platform.
Most companies practice contextual targeting to attract their target audience and tend to put a lot of thought into their ad placement. In a previous post, we discussed how Mailchimp, a popular email marketing, and automation tool, primarily advertises with publishers that cover technology-related news. Not only this, their ads can be often seen on posts that are “latest smart home devices, upcoming innovations, and workplace productivity hacks”.
Comparisons has struck gold by following a simple online promotion strategy: Advertising on the homepage of some of the most-visited platforms in the United States.
Trying to initiate a conversation around insurance seems like a fairly boring and unattractive way to grab the customer’s attention, however, something about the headline makes you want to click and learn more.
The obvious cliffhanger—”Drivers Around California are Furious About This New Rule”—creates an information gap by implying that there’s a future problem or concern that currently are unaware of, but should know about. Most people are likely to click on the ad out of curiosity.
Although clickbait has certainly gotten plenty of bad reputation recently, one cannot deny that it continues to work in some cases by leveraging well-worn, psychological patterns that potential customers are drawn to. For example, by directly addressing “people born between 1953 and 1979”, they’re implying a degree of exclusivity that appeals to an individuals’ instinctual longing to feel special.
If you truly believe in the product or service you’re selling, you’re obligated to do whatever it takes to get the brand name out there. In Comparisons’ case, the clickbaity headlines seem to be working well, considering they’re included in almost all of their creatives.
The images accompanying the creatives make use of emotional triggers to connect with their audience and incite a favorable action. For example, the above ad features an image of a visibly-distressed old man. For an average viewer, this evokes fear and concern as the message is obvious—’Consider seeking help immediately, if you don’t want to end up like this person’.
In short, using audacious images to elicit a strong reaction from viewers can be a great way to increase engagement and brand recall.
Given that most of their ads are native, 80% of their ads are text/image, whereas, the 19% are image-based and 1% are text-only.
There’s a clear disconnect between the ad (that promises you an Insurance fact that’s apparently shocking consumers everywhere) and the landing page that people get after clicking. Turns out, the much-hyped fact is simply about how consumers can use the internet to compare prices of the different insurances available in the market before making an informed purchasing decision.
The content comes across as a thinly-veiled attempt to promote Comparisons and ‘trick’ readers into using the platform. There’s no real value proposition that the landing page offers, so people are more likely to leave after discovering that they’ve been misled and there’s nothing new for them to learn about insurance.
While Comparisons’ landing page (and ad!) uses a catchy headline to drives click-through-rates, the content doesn’t provide enough “meat” for anyone to stay. However, this combination seems to be working great for them. Even if people are not particularly impressed with the “fact” they were promised, they can simply move on to get a free insurance quote simply by entering their age.
Contrary to the popular trend of direct ad buying, Comparisons has chosen to use the entirety of their $15.3M ad spend to run programmatic and native ads.
For both creatives and landing pages, they’ve opted for a ‘clickbait’ approach, where they heavily rely on emotional triggers to attract a viewer’s attention and encourage them to click on a link.
Considering that 50% of people still fall for a well-placed clickbait despite knowing the risks of clicking on unknown links, running ads that appeal to the curious nature of the human mind is a valid marketing tactic that’s proven to work. However, it’s important to remember that while clickbait makes it easy to entice users into clicking on your ad, a person is more likely to feel let down by the content that’s presented to them on the landing page. For all you know, they might end up switching to your immediate competitor for a more trustworthy and authentic experience.
In the long-term, Comparisons can think about moving away from clickbait and adopt a slightly honest and reliable approach towards advertising.
As far as publishers go, they have a very straightforward strategy of going with platforms that get a reasonable amount of traffic from people in the United States. They are not picky about placement and are happy to spend most of their money on featuring ads on the homepage of their publishers.
Overall, Comparisons has figured out a few things that work great for them when it comes to advertising, however, there are still areas they can improve upon.