Google Correlates Consumer FICO Score Data with Online Search Behavior

The company researched the search behavior of different groups based on their FICO score

By on June 29th, 2009 11:15 GMT
Google has conducted a study correlating FICO scores categories with sites in its Google Content Network. It found that more than half of those looking for a new credit card online have a high FICO score, according to MediaPost, citing Google's Masha Korsunsky.

"Let's say we have an advertiser who wants to reach consumers with a high FICO score who applied for mortgages in the first quarter," Korsunsky, senior industry marketing manager, financial services for Google, says. "We can provide the advertiser with a list of Web sites on our Google content network that index against this segment."

Based on the research conducted with Compete, Google's Content Network could reach a large percentage of people with a high FICO score, as much as 70 percent of credit card applicants, 87 percent of mortgage applicants and 90 percent of those using small business sites.

The research looked at the search behaviors of people before applying for a credit card and grouped the subjects into three categories: Super Prime (with a 720 or above Fico score), Prime (600 to 719) and Sub-Prime (those below 600). It found that more than half of those applying were in the first category and that they performed significantly more searches than the other groups. This group was also found to be much more thorough in their searches for a new credit card.

The data could help advertisers deliver ads that are more likely to interest those in a certain FICO score category, but could help other businesses disseminate what users to cater to. While this could prove useful for some companies and even for the users, as with any type of targeted ads, the issue of privacy comes into discussion and, while there are no plans of delivering the technology for commercial use yet, it could prove difficult for Google to convince some users or even the authorities.

UPDATE: Google pointed out that it hasn't conducted any tests with targeted ads based on consumer FICO scores as was originally implied, and we have made the corrections accordingly.

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