Our data for the insurance aggregator market shows that, since March 2014, Compare the Market and Money Supermarket have experienced a declining share of voice – how can they turn this troubling trend around?
With the March number plate change encouraging new car purchases (and hence searches for car insurance) – people rush to keywords like car insurance. However, in April of last year, big players like Money Supermarket and Compare the Market took historically large hits to their respective performances. Let’s take a close look at this trend and see how these companies can stay ahead this March.
The March Descent
As you can see from the share of voice graph above, in 2014, Money Supermarket suffered through significant losses following a March peak. While Compare the Market’s fate was similar, it managed to bounce back significantly, overtaking its main competitor, GoCompare, for the majority of the year.
As Glass Business explains, the new registrations issued by the DVLA in March are more attractive to customers because they more clearly show the car’s age, translating to a huge peak in new car sales.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, dealers sold 464,824 vehicles in March 2014, the year’s highest total, compared to 68,736 in February.
This month, therefore, represents an extremely competitive time for PPC. But that doesn’t explain why Compare the Market and Money Supermarket suffered so terribly afterwards.
As you can see, traffic for the keywords car insurance and cheap car insurance rocked back and forth in March, the former dropping from 64,000 clicks to 24,000. Still, all of the top competitors – with the exception of Money Supermarket – bid on these keywords.
Insurance, however, proved quite a bit more stable, establishing itself a useful bolt-hole once the March rush was over for competitors trying to claw back some revenue on other types of insurance.
The overall estimated cost per click shot through the roof in March, then plummeted afterwards along with overall spend. In March, brands spent seven times the February total on cheap car insurance, with Money Supermarket’s jump in spend proving even more extreme.
So did Money Supermarket burn its PPC cash in the prime month, forcing it to tighten its belt in the months that followed?
As you can see from the head-to-head above (comparing the keywords on which the top three brands bid) their keyword portfolios are pretty similar, so it’s likely that the difference in performance is down to the weight of bids across their whole keyword sets.
As such, it looks like Money Supermarket and Compare the Market blew a whole load of cash in March, grabbing traffic from keywords that soared during this month, then holding back afterwards.
Looking at GoCompare’s performance, we see that, while clicks from car insurance fell in April, they bid such that insurance hits stepped into the breech. The traffic is there; the two giant brands just aren’t bidding on it.
So, how can Money Supermarket and Compare the Market restrain their spend while getting results this March, allowing them to keep it up in April and beyond? Working on the ad copy might help.
Take a look at the copy above: only one of Money Supermarket’s ads made the top 10. Great ad copy is indispensable – the right wording will boost your quality score and render clicks cheaper. Meanwhile, once Google sees that a particular ad is doing well, your CPC for that ad will drop as well.
Large brands like Money Supermarket and Compare the Market risk, in creating a huge campaign with lots of ads and a wad of cash, that some of the all-important PPC subtlety could be lost. So learn from their mistakes and check out Adthena’s ad copy analysis to keep your PPC subtle and cheap, and the money saved on the CPC can then be pumped into other keywords.
It looks like our two top brands adopted a drastic hit-and-run approach for the car insurance season – forcing them to dial it back somewhat over the following months. Resources are finite, of course, but the dropoff doesn’t have to be this extreme.
Adthena’s competitive analysis system can locate opportunities and niches that put your PPC ahead of the game and help you to predict and master seasonality such as new car registrations.
(Main image credit: David Hilowitz/flickr)