What percentage of your marketing budget should go to search campaigns on Google? This study from The Financial Brand runs the numbers.
Every year, The Financial Brand looks at what banks and credit unions across the U.S. are investing into their Google AdWords campaign. For this study, we analyzed 50+ financial institutions, looking at how many keywords they use, their monthly/annual AdWords budget, and then comparing their investment to their asset size and overall marketing budget.
- On average, banks spend $1 on Google AdWords for every $53,300 in assets they have.
- Average % of bank marketing budgets dedicated to Google AdWords: 1.9%
- Median % of bank marketing budgets dedicated to Google AdWords: 3.9%
- Average annual Google AdWords budget as a percentage of assets: 0.00188% (median = 0.00293%)
- Banks using Google AdWords buy an average of one keyword for every $37.8 million in assets they have.
Credit Unions At-a-Glance:
- On average, credit unions spend $1 on Google AdWords for every $9,500 in assets they have.
- Average % of credit union marketing budgets dedicated to Google AdWords: 7.4%
- Median % of credit union marketing budgets dedicated to Google AdWords: 9.7%
- Average annual Google AdWords budget as a percentage of assets: 0.01057% (median = 0.01705%)
- Credit unions using Google AdWords buy an average of one keyword for every $5.6 million in assets they have.
( Read More: 10 Tips to Maximize Your Bank’s Google Adwords Campaign )
Insights and Analysis
Three of the four biggest retail banks in the U.S. invest relatively little in Google AdWords. BofA, Citi and Chase only allocate around 0.5% of their overall marketing budget to search marketing. Wells Fargo is the only exception: they invest approximately 2% of their marketing budget into AdWords campaigns. In all likelihood, organic search results are so strong for big banks — a byproduct of their size and brand awareness — that they don’t need to pay for ads on search engines. They are probably only investing in geographic areas and particular keywords that need a boost.
Many of the most successful financial institutions on Google Adwords (based on click-through rates) allocate roughly 2-3% of their marketing budget to the initiative.
There is a wide array of variables that can affect an institution’s AdWords budget: number of keywords used, competition for keywords used, keyword bids, daily budget cap, search volumes, geographic targeting, and whether you’re buying broad terms or exact phrases. There can be significant variance in cost between two very similar, subtly different terms (e.g., “checking account baltimore” vs. “free checking accounts baltimore”). You should thoroughly research your options using tools like SpyFu.com and Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner before committing to any course of action.
Financial institutions focused on issuing credit cards spend significantly more on their search marketing campaigns than others. The credit card market is fiercly competitive, and keywords for “credit card” related terms on Google AdWords drive budgets higher.
Financial institutions without branches like Ally, Schwab and USAA have to compensate for their lack of any physical presence with a greater investment in marketing — not just Google AdWords, but across the board. On the low end, Schwab and Ally are spending roughly 10% of their marketing on Google AdWords, while USAA could be spending up to a third or more.
Credit unions spend proportionately more on Google AdWords than their bank counterparts — over 5 times more. Smaller institutions might have to stretch (or even overextend) to find any real traction with paid search campaigns. Another explanation might entail the geographic specificity of a credit union’s footprint.
( Read More: Spy on Your AdWords Competitors with SpyFu )
Banks Using Google AdWords
|Wells Fargo||$2,101,514||35,405||14,900||$1.3 trillion||1.9%|
|Capital One 360||$242,302||3,394||1,140||$234.8||1.2%|
|1st Bank (CO)||$147,692||1,256||1,050||$13.4||13.3%|
|Bank of the West||$127,896||574||719||$65.1||2.4%|
|Bank of Arizona||$90,901||487||410||$4.6||23.5%|
( Read More: How Pay-Per-Click Ads Pay Off for Financial Institutions )
Credit Unions Using Google AdWords
|Cross Valley FCU||$35,409||1,041||270||$159||150.7%|
( Read More: Google Data Reveals Banking Trends )
Average Bid for Keywords on Google AdWords
|home equity loan||33,100||$10.19||65||2.00%||78|