Bancography | Branch Planning, Marketing Research, Brand Strategy, Products & Profitabilty

Google AdWords Costs For Banks And Credit Unions

Here’s The Financial Brand’s annual breakdown of who’s paying for what, how much it costs, how many keywords they use and how many clicks they get.

Every time someone types a financial related term into Google, there are banks and credit unions paying to have their ads placed atop the search results. The neat thing about Google AdWords is that you don’t pay until someone clicks. Some search terms only costs a few cents per click, while other more valuable and popular terms can run you a few bucks. With the Google AdWords interface, you can control how much you’re willing to pay per click, and how much you’re willing to spend every day. If you hit your spending limit, Google simply stops showing your ads. It’s a pretty slick system… if you have someone responsible for tightly managing and massaging your campaigns. A “set-it-and-forget-it” strategy probably isn’t going to pay off.

Earlier this year, The Financial Brand published results of its annual scan of the bank and credit union marketing industry. In that study, 57% of respondents said they were currently using “search engine marketing” (SEM), while 28% said no and 15% said they weren’t yet but were planning on it. But these numbers don’t seem to reflect what’s really going on. The Financial Brand has also extensively studied actual use of SEM, and it is highly improbable that even 5% of financial institutions currently invest any money in this area. What’s more likely is that financial marketers have SEM confused with SEO. SEM is most commonly associated with paid ads on a search engine (namely Google AdWords) — also called “paid search.” SEO, on the other hand, involves a set of strategies and tactics designed to organically boost your web pages up in search results.

( Read More: 50 Essential SEO Terms Financial Marketers Should Know )

Common AdWords Search Terms in Retail Banking

In today’s market where financial institutions struggle to lend out the deposits they bring in, it’s hard to imagine there are dozens of banks and credit unions willing to shell out $9.34 per click for the search term “checking account.” Remember, this is just a single click, so it costs nearly $10 just to get a consumer to your website… you still have to get a high percentage to convert and open an account.

Other expensive search terms include “business checking” ($10.76 per click), “credit score” ($9.84), “reverse mortgage” ($9.84), “business loan” ($9.00) and “refinance” ($8.68).

Keyword(s) Searches
Per Month
Cost
Per Click
Clicks
Per Day
CTR Advertisers
mortgage 40,500 $2.83 1,390 1.60% 62
mortgage rates 201,000 $5.18 4,430 NA 60
home loan 5,400 $3.83 2,450 3.30% 61
refinance 27,100 $8.68 1,560 NA 52
foreclosure 49,500 $1.54 5,530 2.00% 42
short sale 60,500 $1.72 503 2.90% 44
reverse mortgage 40,500 $9.84 296 2.30% 59
home equity loan 22,200 $4.52 483 4.10% 57
car loan 12,100 $2.75 1,650 4.50% 78
auto loan 12,100 $3.93 831 2.10% 77
credit union 49,500 $1.74 1,780 4.50% 16
bank account 2,880 $3.51 582 3.20% 59
checking account 9,900 $9.34 362  NA 56
debit card 9,900 $2.55 886 4.90% 33
direct deposit 6,600 $3.87 NA 2.60% 18
mobile banking 2,400 $5.69 NA 6.30% 32
money market account 12,100 $7.71 66 2.50% 40
cd rates 40,500 $4.39 477 1.70% 45
savings account 6,600 $3.70 389 3.30% 48
credit score 135,000 $9.84 1,360 NA 27
personal loan 14,800 $3.14 1,010 5.80% 83
boat loan 1,590 $2.06 31 2.70% 60
motorcycle loan 2,400 $3.58 14 NA 72
business loan 4,380 $9.00 304 2.20% 99
business checking 1,290 $10.76 40 4.80% 58
Kiosk & Display | Digital Merchandising for Financial Institutions

( Read More: 5 Tips to Maximize Google Adwords For Small Banks & Credit Union )

Comparing Search Terms Across Major Metro Markets

There is a big difference between what it costs per click to buy “mortgage rates” in Atlanta ($2.66) vs. Los Angeles ($8.16). You’ll also notice that even the slightest change to your search terms can have a radical impact on cost. In Houston, buying the term “auto loan Houston” only costs $3.43, but add the plural “s” to “auto loan” and it will run you $9.03 per click — nearly 3x more. Similarly, “auto loan Los Angeles” costs $9.81 while “auto loans Los Angeles” comes in at an unbelievable $18.13 per click.

Keyword(s) Chicago Tampa Los
Angeles
Houston Atlanta San
Diego
mortgage rates $4.78 $5.98 $8.16 $5.92 $2.66 $5.73
mortgage $6.36 $7.55 $8.53 $3.51 $4.84 $9.93
cd rates $4.58 $3.51 $4.94 $5.75 NA $2.70
car loan $5.27 $8.60 $5.69 $9.91 $4.76 $6.41
auto loan $9.11 $3.64 $9.81 $3.43 $7.61 NA
auto loans $8.49 $8.24 $18.13 $9.03 $7.85 NA
bank $1.03 $1.54 $2.10 $1.15 $0.98 $2.11
credit union $1.63 $1.15 NA $0.57 $0.92 $0.94

Retail Banks’ AdWord Budgets

Those financial institutions without a heavy retail presence in the brick-and-mortar channel have to invest more heavily in online marketing like AdWords. You’ll notice firms like Quicken, LendingTree, USAA and Bankrate.com are all atop the list of big spenders. While BofA is spending around $4 million annually on AdWords (about 2% of its overall marketing budget), there are other big banks like Citi who are hardly spending any: around $1 million, or 0.05% of its marketing budget.

Bank Daily
Budget
Paid
Clicks
Keywords
Used
Quicken Loans $120K-$198K 37,500 46,991
Bank of America $111K – $122K 43,500 63,605
LendingTree $74.2K – $74.5K 18,900 41,118
USAA $72K – $85K 18,600 61,341
Bankrate.com $32K – $48K 28,500 126,738
Wells Fargo $57K – $78K 22,700 99,737
Chase $29.2K – $41.1K 12,700 47,245
PNC $15.9K – $30.8K 7,050 23,009
Regions $9.9K – $20.5K 3,680 12,996
US Bank $9.6K – $16.8K 3,210 14,986
Bank of the West $8.6K – $14.5K 1,850 7,056
Citizens $6.1K – $13.8K 1,620 6,277
Fifth Third
$4.7K – $9.7K 1,300 5,533
Charter One $4.5K – $11.4K 1,190 6,227
SunTrust
$3.5K – $13.3K 2,280 14,789
BB&T $2.4K – $9.9K 1,410 10,604
First Tennessee $2.3K – $10K 1,460 7,875
Citi $1.1K – $4.0K 676 10,402
Harris $640 – $2.4K 164 2,176
Getty Images | Content Marketing

( Read More: Spy on Your AdWords Competitors with SpyFu )

Credit Unions’ AdWord Budgets

The Financial Brand estimates that only about 10% of the biggest credit unions in the U.S. invest in a Google AdWords strategy. Assuming Navy FCU is spending around $2 or $3 million on AdWords annually, they would be allocating less than 3% of their overall marketing budget. OnPoint’s budget would work out to less than $500,000, or less than 7.5% of their overall marketing budget. But the reality is that most credit unions using Google AdWords are only dabbling, allocating less than 1% of their marketing budgets.

Credit Union Daily
Budget
Paid
Clicks
Keywords
Used
Navy FCU $7,590 – $23,900 8,760 24,522
Virginia $1,480 – $5,380 639 2,068
PSECU $1,710 – $5,530 511 1,721
Pentagon Federal $1,550 – $6,920 978 8,470
Travis $1,230 – $3,730 450 4,303
Golden 1 $1,030 – $4,780 650 2,674
Randolph Brooks $1,010 – $3,270 355 1,184
Space Coast $972 – $2,680 320 1,034
ESL $846 – $1,660 171 433
OnPoint $721 – $3,020 357 2,350
TDECU $703 – $1,760 231 1,198
SECU $587 – $1,210 117 175
Delta $398 – $2,210 304 2,829
San Diego County $371 – $839 86 446
Desert Schools $278 – $795 81 505
Mountain America $243 – $505 58 138
Wings $218 – $542 73 628
Ent $192 – $451 62 302
Alliant $181 – $481 39 119

Vendors Targeting Banks & Credit Unions

Vendor/Association Daily
Budget
Keywords
Used
Paid
Clicks
ABA $616 – $1,250 149 2,217
ProfitStars $386 – $1,050 109 2,930
Financial Marketing Solutions $257 – $429 60 460
Backbase $201 – $512 56 390
CUNA $150 – $563 82 866
The BA Group $71 – $313 13 84
EHS Design $64 – $280 34 239
Weber Marketing Group $62 – $280 15 194
Credit Union Times $62 – $264 18 47
LKCS $38 – $63 11 115
Branch Xpress $31 – $104 4 33
CU iDiz $34 – $133 5 14
Cornerstone Advisors $30 – $47 9 1,067
CreditUnions.com $6 – $57 2 44
Online Banking Report $3 – $25 3 151

Common Search Terms Used to Target Banks & Credit Unions

Keyword Searches
Per Month
Cost
Per Click
Clicks
Per Day
CTR Advertisers
financial marketing 240 $6.82 6 NA 49
banking marketing 60 $4.92 5 5.30% 41
bank marketing 300 $4.11 10 3.00% 32
bank promotions 990 $3.88 13 2.70% 67
bank consultant 30 $3.68 11 5.20% 11
bank advertising 150 $3.39 5 2.20% 27
credit union marketing 210 $3.14 7 2.90% 38
bank marketing plan 30 $3.03 1 1.30% 51
credit union advertising 30 $2.89 1 2.10% 33
bank branding 60 $2.64 > 1 4.00% 22
bank merchandising 30 $2.21 > 1 1.30% 33

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All content © 2014 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

CUNA Mutual | TruStage Auto & Home Insurance

Comments

  1. Great post, thanks for sharing.

    I find that marketing professionals seem to define “search engine marketing” in a number of different ways, even within the search marketing industry. (I used to work at iCrossing, a search agency.) Oddly enough, someone referring to “search engine marketing” might either be referring to Paid Search advertising or both Paid Search and Organic Search (SEO). But someone mentioning “SEM” is almost always referring to Paid Search. Some still use “Pay-Per-Click (PPC)”, but that seems overly generic with the many PPC, CPC, and CPA advertising models in existance. In any case, we won’t be able to get away from defining those terms clearly for some time.

    I’m surprised more community credit unions and banks don’t focus on Paid Search more; it’s an incredible opportunity to target lower cost, more highly qualified consumers. If you have a branch in “small town, NY”, you should probably fight a pinch harder to drive a click from someone searching for the phrase “small town mortgage”.

    Thanks again!

  2. Thanks for your comment Michael. More and more financial institutions will probably wake up to the opportunities in paid SEM (i.e., Google AdWords). It takes a lot of massaging and TLC to make an AdWords campaign hum, but you could argue that would be time better spent than some financial marketers spend in other areas, namely social media. If you’ve got 10 hours to devote [somewhere], AdWords would seem to trump social — at least from the ROI perspective.

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