Its amazing watching how Google is evolving their presence across the search engine landscape. Yesterday we saw Bas’ post on State of Search regarding the continuing takeover of the SERPs with Google+ results, and at the same time we saw the introduction of the Google Comparison ads across the pond on many hotel based search queries.
Source: Search Engine Land
Google’s usage of these comparison ads is nothing new, we have seen similar products roll out here in the UK for secured loans for example for a couple of years, and more recently Google have taken advantage of the ITA purchase through the rollout of the flight search functionality. There have also been examples of further seperate vertical specific rollouts such as boutique.com over the course of the 12 months, in what appears to be a wider plan to dominate vertical aggregated search as well as the main piece itself dealing often with end users rather than middle men as much of the recent acquisitions have suggested (I would suggest we are not far away from seeing similar forays into Insurance (Beat that Quote) and Real Estate at some point in the very near future.
The hotels extention is however a sort of natural progression of what they have been doing less obviously over recent months. Many people would have noticed the more prominent maps on hotel centric queries, and further to that the categorisation of many of these hotels underneath (see below).
The new comparison ads would appear to merely make this more prominent within relevant searches, offering Google valuable real estate on the page in which to further monetize applicable searches.
As I have said before, I doubt this is the least time we will see Google monetize vertical search. Whether or not advertisers beat a path to their door is open to debate however the continued strategy would appear to be here to stay