10 Tips to Maximize Your Bank’s Google Adwords Campaign

Most banks and credit unions use Google Adwords today, but many struggle to manage their campaigns effectively. Here are 10 ideas that will help you get more per click.

By David MacMoyle

Google Adwords is one effective way to target online users. You can target by which keywords people are searching, what location they are in, what times, and even which format (desktop vs mobile). You only pay for when someone clicks on your ad and you can see exactly when, and what a user clicked on. This is especially attractive to marketers because your ROI is fairly clear. At the end of the day you can show management how much you spent, and the results.

Google Adwords is also an attractive option if your organic SEO needs work. If you are not currently on the first page for your organic keywords, this is one way to pay to show up.

If you are managing your account personally, here are some ways to maximize your budget and lower your per click costs. (None of this is earth shattering or secret, but could help you save a bit of money and gain more qualified clicks.)

1. Negative Keywords

Using negative keywords is one way to eliminate wasted clicks. If you are targeting the word “bank,” you could potentially pay for keywords such as “blood bank,” “food bank,” and more. When typing in terms in Google, the possibilities are pretty much endless. You can find out what people are queries people are searching for by checking the “matched search queries” in your Google Analytics account.

2. Enable Goal Tracking to track Successful Conversions

If you are simply running ads, you are not effectively spending your company’s marketing dollars. You need to be able to track when an Adwords click turns into a successful lead. A lead can be a completed form, a successful download, or specific amount of time spent on that page. From here, you can see what keywords, and ads bring in the most results and budget accordingly.

( Read More: Google Data Reveals 2013 Banking Trends )

3. Target Specific Geography

This sounds simple, but If you are only in certain locations, don’t pay for ads in locations where you are not. If you have locations that are very spread out, target a small radius close to every branch. Google’s targeting allows you to select a specific mile radius around a certain point, states, zip codes, and even congressional districts.

4. Choose Manual Bidding

Although it may sound scary, choose manual CPC bidding within your setting. Do not allow Google to run your campaign for you. By selecting manual CPC, you can see how much the current bid is to appear on the first page. You can then see how much you need to spend in order to be competitive on your respective keywords. If you are set to automatic, you do not get to view this.

5. You Don’t Always Have To Be The First Position

Although being the first position is great, that doesn’t mean it’s the most cost effective (of course Google wants you to think that). For instance, if you are bidding on an keyword that requires $12 to be on the first page, but you are bidding $9.50 and have an average position of lower than 6, you are saving $3 a click and still appearing on the top half of the page. Underbidding slightly can extend your budget but still provide you great placement.

6. Choose Specific Geographic Keywords

Another way to cut down your costs is to target geographic related keywords. You will never be able to compete with Wells Fargo, B of A, or larger companies on generic keywords, but if you target down to the state, or city, or specific area, your costs will be decreased. If you are a credit union in Lynchburg, VA, try keywords such as “Home Equity Lynchburg,VA” “Checking account 24502,” etc. Larger companies are most likely not zeroing in on specific keywords. This is where you can really make an impact and show up on the first page without spending big money.

7. Improve your Quality Score

Adwords is not simply just based on how you much bid. It is also based on relevancy or your keywords, ads, landing pages, click through rates, and more. (To learn more about quality score, click here.) Simply directing clicks to a standard landing page will not cut it when it comes to quality score. Making sure all of your ads, keywords, and landing pages include the same relevant content will help improve your quality score in the eyes of Google.

( Read More: 5 Ways Google Analytics Can Save Financial Marketers Money )

8. Create different Ad Groups – Lot of Them

Separating your similar terms by Ad Group is one way to help relevancy efforts with quality score, but also help target your keywords better. Since ads are selected based on Ad Group, this allows you to cater what ads show up with certain keywords. If you have a general banking keywords and ads all included in one group, Google will select whatever ad has the best ratings. For example: you have an Ad Group with keywords such as: “checking accounts” and “savings accounts.” You have ads referring to both. If your “savings account” ad has a higher quality score within that ad group, and Google will most likely display that ad. It is best to create separate ad groups for both “checking account ,” and “savings accounts” so that only the specific respective ads will run with each. This ultimately leads to higher relevancy, and more qualified clicks.

9. Schedule Your Ads

Is anyone able to respond to your queries during the weekend? Try running ads Monday through Friday. Are you not getting clicks in the morning or late at night? Adjust your scheduling. This allows you to increase your spending for the times you are running, making you more competitive on keywords. Also, you can turn your campaigns off during major Holidays to save money.

10. Monitor Daily

Front page bid estimates change on a daily basis. By not manually adjusting can keep you from getting clicks. Also, by checking your account daily you can see if you need to add any negative keywords to prevent you from paying from unwanted terms.


David MacMoyle is a marketing manager for a mortgage bank, where he handles his company’s internal marketing, including their Adwords advertising. He also provides freelance SEO Optimization, Adwords Management, and other marketing. For tips on the above or to learn more visit his site at davidmacmoyle.com.

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This article was originally published on January 20, 2014. All content © 2018 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

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