The Right Search Strategy in Banking: Google AdWords or Facebook?

With the right social media and content strategy, financial marketers can rank higher in organic search results, allowing them to cut their AdWords budget.

Most of the time, when financial marketers think of digital advertising, they usually think first about Google Adwords. But relying on paid search vs. organic SEO forces you to pay a premium for your referral traffic. Placing a heavy focus on paid search — without good, informative content and a strong social media presence to back up your strategy — makes you work harder for conversions.

Without integrating social media and content marketing into your search strategy, you’re not offering anything of value (i.e., organic relevance) to consumers. On the other hand, an active blog that publishes unique and useful content on a regular basis is an SEO force to be reckoned with. By using cross-platform distribution of your blog content through several social media channels, you can own your bank’s own traffic and enjoy results similar or even better than paid search marketing, just without the hefty budget.

Paid search marketing does have some value and positive aspects — there is definitely a time, place and role for it — but nearly everything it achieves could be more effectively accomplished with the right social media and/or content marketing plan.

Earning vs. Buying the Top Spot

Paid search lets you buy the top position in internet search results. You’re guaranteed a top spot on Google if you are prepared to open your wallet. But according to this report, most consumers eschew paid search listings in favor of organic results. When you use Google Adwords, you are effectively paying top dollar to be passed over.

Reports also show that consumers are conducting more and more web searches on mobile devices. They are also increasingly likely to find your financial institution through social media apps on their mobile devices than they are to find you via paid advertising on their mobile devices. This is what gives social media a significant edge over paid search on mobile devices.

Furthermore, a institution’s use of social media can help seal the deal. Nearly 70% of consumers say that they are more likely to pick a company they found through search if that business has information listed on a social media platform.

Better Keyword Use

The Google Adwords Keyword Planner — while primarily used to develop paid Adwords campaigns — can help give you a boost in integrating keywords into your social media and other content marketing strategies. It can help you figure out how people are searching for you, and while you are perfectly welcome to pay for the privilege of showing them results.

However, your best bet is to use those same keywords wisely in your content so your site comes up in organic searches, since we’ve already established that consumers ignore paid search results over organic results.

Brand Awareness and Trust

When you create content on a blog or social media site, that content is fixed no matter how many times you share it. It’s the same tweet, the same blog post title, the same Facebook status update.

However, unlike the lone consumer clicking a single ad (which you paid for, by the way), each social media post has the power to engage practically unlimited potential and existing customers.

And that’s not all. The beauty of social media is that you get to establish brand identity, grow brand loyalty, advertise your bank, and engage with your customers all at once.

Creating a connection with your customer is absolutely crucial, and social media gives you all the tools to get their attention and respond to their questions and concerns in real time. By comparison, paid search marketing leaves your customer out in the cold.

When you ditch paid search in favor of enhanced social content or figure out how to utilize social media to boost your search marketing efforts, you’ll grow both your bank’s customer base and profit.

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