Brand recognition: PayPal beats Google

I offer both PayPal and GoogleCheckout as payment option on my pounds sterling payment page (GoogleCheckout only allows me to price in pounds sterling, unfortunately). As GoogleCheckout is effectively free to me at present[1] I put the GoogleCheckout button on the left in the hope of getting more payments through Google. But 70.5% of purchasers clicked on the PayPal button.

I have since then become a bit disgruntled with GoogleCheckout for their slow processing times, chargeback fees, lack of multi-currency support and use of anonymised email addresses[2]. So I swapped the button order in the hope of increasing the number of purchasers using PayPal. 69.3% of purchasers now click on the PayPal button.


From this I conclude that GoogleCheckout still has a long way to go to beat PayPal in brand recognition, positioning on the left may not be more prominent (although 1.2% may be statistical noise) and button order is less important than I thought. Or perhaps the PayPal icon is just more compelling. I wonder if GoogleCheckout have tested their icon against the PayPal icon?

[1] Google currently process £10 of payments free for each £1 I spend on Adwords.

[2] The user can opt to have their email anonymised at time of purchase. The vendor then recieves an email address like Google forwards email from this address to the purchaser, until they choose not to receive further emails. In theory this protects the purchaser from vendor spam, but in reality it makes support more difficult. For example, the purchaser can’t retrieve their key from your online key retrieval system unless they remember to use the anonymised address (they never do).

8 thoughts on “Brand recognition: PayPal beats Google

  1. Doug

    Just to give my lay opinion on the buttons… The PayPal button looks like something that needs action (needs to be clicked to make a purchase). On the other hand, the Google Checkout button looks more like an ad. Of course, it may just be that I’m used to seeing the same Google Checkout button used in the Adwords ads on (where it is non-clickable).

  2. Adam

    Have you considered that maybe its not so much “brand recognition” winning it for PayPal (I mean c’mon… almost everyone and their grandma knows who Google is), but the simple fact that PayPal has been around for much longer.

    What I am getting at is that many people who have shopped online before already have a PayPal account set up, and probably don’t care to give their banking/card details to yet another company if they don’t have to… I don’t think its strictly a preference of PayPal over Google if a shopper has neither set up prior to the purchase, but then I do agree that the PayPal button/icon is much more “click me to pay for stuff” :)

  3. M Raja

    Adam, it doesn’t really matter how many people know Google to increase their share of checkout. Buyers are very choosy these days. Believe it or not, majority of the Google users don’t know what Froogle is.

    Google Checkout may provide some new features, but persuading buyers
    to jump to a whole new checkout service when PayPal already doing the exact job is a bit too much to ask for.

    PayPal has been around for a long time now and they dominate some of the key areas like listing / auction sector. Probably its next to impossible to compete in these sectors.

    In particular, Google needs to do a lot of work in their checkout product since PayPal is getting very aggressive and the soon to come Advanced Risk Predictors proves that PayPal already recognises the value of transaction data in reducing fraud and there by giving merchants more information and control over whether to accept payments,

    Sometimes i just think Google just wants to grow more and more and doesn’t want to get any better. Actually it’s getting worse in some areas like targeted advertising and checkout.

    I’ve tried both GC and PayPal in buying and also integrated to a few websites. Not happy with GC because of its slow processing and lack of customer support. i couldn’t believe there is no phone support for GC. So i always prefer PayPal which atleast respond to my emails when i am in trouble.

    If you’re a merchant and accept Google Checkout just because it’s free this year, you’re part of the problem. Fix the issues Google, then you will have my support.

  4. Braiman

    What were looking at in regards to GC and PayPal, is similar to Honda (Acura), Toyota (Lexus), and Nissan (Infiniti) trying to catch up to Mercedes Benz and BMW. They keep pushing but the new brands can’t compete with the history and established names of the ladder companies.

  5. Patrick McKenzie

    I think the single biggest issue with Paypal vs Google, I kid you not, is that Paypal has the sense to put recognizable credit card logos on their buttons and the Checkout team does not.

  6. Pingback: PayPal vs GoogleCheckout revisited « Successful Software

  7. Amy

    I think all these comments are likely to be true, and probably each contribute a few percent. Combined, they might account for how much more people choose Paypal.

  8. Jeff

    Though I believe the “Left vs. Right” issue is most likely, as you said, “statistical noise,” this may be an explanation if not: Considering that the majority of the world’s population is right-handed, maybe the location on the right is simply more accessible for most people?

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