The price comparison market has been extremely competitive for many years and a very difficult market to improve the search engine optimisation. In this article, we talk about one of the success stories and explain how they did it.
Back in 2008, there were several price comparison websites on the market and like we often see in a category, advertising was more similar than different. Each brand made similar claims on the benefits of price comparison and how you can save X amount on your insurance. There was no differentiating factor to make one brand standout.
Comparethemarket.com was one of the smaller players and one of the least visited price comparison websites, languishing in 16th place. They also had the challenge of possessing an unmemorable brand name that was very generic and therefore hard to find in search results, making it difficult for them to grow their brand. The cost per click for the word ‘market’ was over £5 and the word ‘compare’ was confused with GoCompare. They needed a creative strategy to enhance their brand name so it was memorable and also easier to search.
Introducing the meerkat
This was when Aleksandr Orlov was born. The Russian meerkat who initially talked about the confusion between ‘comparethemarket’ and ‘comparethemeerkat’. The ‘comparethemeerkat’ website was built as a microsite that linked to the company’s main website. The word ‘meerkat’ had less competition in search and was considerably cheaper at the cost of 5p per click compared to £5 for the word ‘market’. Aleksandr was also equipped with a strong social media presence with his very own Twitter page and a takeover of their Facebook page.
The play on the words ‘meerkat’ and ‘market’ combined with a highly salient and lovable character with his very own catchphrase ‘simples’ proved to be hugely successful. Brand awareness rose to 59%, costs per visit reduced by 73% and quote volumes increased by 83%. Comparethemarket.com jumped up the search rankings to be the 4th most visited website within price comparison and sales doubled. In addition to this, Alexsandr built his very own fanbase with over 700,000 Facebook fans and 22,000 followers on Twitter. His catchphrase ‘Simples’ even entered the English Dictionary.
If done right it is a long term sustainable solution
The campaign is still going strong today and now features new additions to the Meerkat family as well as merchandise featuring the characters. The company’s success also revolutionised price comparison advertising with many brands following their blueprint. GoCompare introduced the opera singer Gio Compario and Moneysupermarket have various outlandish characters that rarely mention the benefits of price comparison anymore.
As Comparethemarket.com have shown, a small media budget does not necessarily mean brands cannot compete with larger brands with bigger budgets. The key is to ensure maximum effectiveness by using memorability and emotion to get the most out of your campaigns and improve search engine optimisation. Our decades of experience within this sector means we can help brands achieve this goal regardless of your budget size.
Spark Emotions is a global market research agency specialising in truly understanding the emotions and behaviour of your consumers, to find out how we can help you get the most out of your campaigns, please get in touch by clicking here