Rocketing brand interest helps boost comparison market

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 23 January 2015

As more brands look to leverage performance-based marketing tactics, Australian comparison site is experiencing the knock on effect as it witnessed a record year for growth in 2014.

The site, which allows Australians to compare and apply for better financial products such as credit cards, home loans and life insurance, as well as save money with shopping discount coupon codes, has invested $2 million in its website and in 2014 it hired 12 new full-time staff.

The recent recruitment drive takes the total team to just over 70 people and its co-founder Fred Schebesta attributes the growth to not only the increasing savvy consumer, but the growing number of Australian brands keen to work with comparison sites as part of their marketing strategy.

The iSelect challenger company experienced its best year in 2014 - both revenue and web traffic-wise.
Last year it had more than six million visits to, which is 58% higher than 2013 (3.8 million) – not bad for a company which hasn't launched a major advertising campaign yet.

“We are experiencing a huge amount of growth and we see 2015 as a really big year for us,” Schebesta said.

“We saw an 88% increase in the number of new clients on board last year, from a mix of new categories and expanding our existing offerings.”

Schebesta said 2014 was about gearing the company up for 2015 and the business focused on its growth in service offering, from technical to customer and client services and invested more than $2 million in development of the website – by making it faster, a redesign, building back and front-end improvements, better functionality and better tools and platforms for our customers

It launched three main areas last year: travel insurance, which features a live quoting engine, international money transfers and business insurance.

Schebesta said he is also open to exploring new verticals and following the launch of a comparison of online shopping coupon codes he said this has also grown “phenomenally” - an area that is a huge market in the UK and US.

Looking at growth rates for existing categories, where brands such as Virgin, AXA, Coles,Westpac and The Iconic appear, Schebesta said its money area grew by 40%, Insurance increased by 58% and shopping grew by 168%.

The concept is a performance-based model so when the shopper has compared and found the best offer for them, and completed the transaction, that's where makes its money.

Although consumers are increasingly turning to comparison sites and brand interest is growing, not all brands want to appear on comparison sites and due to certain legal legislation, not all types of insurance can feature on comparison sites either.

Schebesta looks to more mature markets such as the UK, where comparison sites are widely embraced and are seen as 'the channel to drive volume sales', and says Australia is quickly heading in that direction.

“Some people struggle over here as it's a new concept, however we are seeing brands showing far more interest than ever before and we have more than doubled our share of traffic to comparison websites in Australia in 2014 from 2013, and tripled our growth since 2012. This is a clear indicator we are giving people what they want – and they want more.”

Schebesta said the key plan for 2015 is to expand its service into new categories to become the most comprehensive market place for their financial product.

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