To compare or not compare

by Stratton Craig

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The last few years have seen a boom in comparison sites, helping you to choose the best deal on everything from home or car insurance to energy providers, credit cards and holiday cover. You’re told to ‘go compare’ and to appraise the relative merits of an entire pet shop’s worth of meerkats, and browsing the many aisles of the nearby money supermarket could well leave you even more than when you went in.
Two prominent brands in this space, GoCompare and Compare The Market, are currently doing the most promotion for their respective sites, battling it out to create the wittiest, most creative ads and win the top spot on Google.
So far in the battle of the comparison sites, we’ve seen Gary Barlow serenading meerkats, the annoying Italian tenor Gio Compario, with as catchy a phrase as Birdseye Potato Waffles (anyone? ‘They’re waffle-y versatile?’ No? Just us, then…), more meerkats in collectible plush versions, and now the latest GoCompare adabout a mythical Welsh land of savings.
But we’re naturally more inclined to see something special in the words as well as the images, so we decided to dig a little deeper into the language and tone of both brands to see who’s more effective. A comparison of comparison websites – we’ve gone a bit meta here.
When you land on the homepage of either site, there’s a clear tie-in with the advertising – you’re ether greeted by a cutesy meerkat or you step into the make-believe world of GoCompare (I won’t take up more space by naming it!).
Both of these styles are aiming to generate more confidence in the reader. Compare The Market does this with ‘safe’ copy that’s meant to reassure, and GoCompare leads with ‘encouraging’ copy that tries to inspire.
Whereas CTM (my fingers are getting tired!) uses quite generic language to describe what they do (save you a bundle, take the strain off you), GC talks to you as an adviser would using words like value and results. You can see from the Wordle that, in the case of GoCompare, the most commonly-appearing word on the page (not including language staples like ‘the’ and ‘to’) that is ‘right’ or ‘you’. For Compare The Market, it’s ‘deals’.
Which of these approaches is more effective in getting customers to go ahead and evaluate their money-saving options? On the face of it, GoCompare has the more approachable and sympathetic style. Even so, the Compare The Market wording does symbolise practicality and a no-nonsense attitude to saving money. We suppose it comes down to the reason you’ve searched for a comparison site in the first place.
Does the tone of voice for comparison websites appeal to you – or do you find yourself switching to another provider whenever you read it? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.

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