Part 1: Setting the Foundation for Success in Marketing Financial Products & Services on Google

To pay or not to pay for marketing traffic — that is the question. Will customers find you if you don’t pay for traffic from Google? Will you lose customers to larger competitors? Worse, will you lose them to an upstart who’s more aggressive?

Implementing Google Ads as a financial services company means you have to follow certain processes and guidelines while other advertisers, well, don’t.

You have a compliance department where other companies do not. 

You are in a category that cannot personalize ads based on certain criteria, while other categories do not have this restriction.

There are rules that prevent you from implementing certain tactics within Google Ads, but it should still be one of your top performing media channels. At Mindgruve, we recognize the effectiveness of Google Ads for financial services companies, so we’re dedicating a three-part blog series to examining how to make sure your advertising on Google Ads is productive and profitable.

Which Products Are Your Best Products

If you are just getting started with Google Ads for your financial institution, we recommend first identifying your best products.

For example, we work with a regional bank in Southern California. When they were getting started we did not run Google Ads for all of their financial products. Instead, we took a more selective approach. Coordinating with their marketing and business teams, we evaluated which of the bank’s products we should advertise — that is, which ones performed the best with their audience and aligned with their top-level business priorities.

Out of that effort, we determined that we could start with a small subset of their products along with branded phrases where the desire of the future customer was not yet known. (“First Horizon,” one of our clients, is a branded phrase, as is “First Horizon Checking” — phrases containing the name of the company or a product. A non-branded phrase is more general, such as “finance company” or “regional bank.” Paid search teams often incorporate branded and non-branded phrases in their campaigns.)

Which Products Do Your Customers Love (It may not align with your best products from your view)

You may have a product that customers love. When we say “love,” we are talking about the product that customers love to have even if a more competitive product exists in the market. 

We once worked with a financial services company with a mortgage offering that customers loved. But it wasn’t because of a lower rate. The rate was competitive, but other banks had lower interest rates.

Apparently, customers loved having a mortgage from this institution because they serviced the loans themselves. It was a local bank and customers had a sense of pride that their mortgage was with a business they knew and felt comfortable with.

This type of information allowed us to develop a Google Ads program where customers of the bank were made aware of the mortgage product and our client did not have to directly compete against large national banks for keywords like “home loan.”

Who Are Your Best Customers

When you know who your best customers are, you can build your Google Ads program to find more of them.

For our financial clients, the best customers tend to share a few common themes:

  • They have more than one product with the bank.
  • They have been with the financial institution for a while.
  • Most of the time, the financial institution, our client, is the customer’s primary bank (either business or personal).

Your paid search team will want to know which customers are the best so they can build keywords and audiences around finding more of these customers.

What is a Customer Worth (Short Term & Lifetime Value)

Paid search teams love a goal and having a number to target. As the Google Ads platform has evolved over the years, the more information you can feed into it, the better you are going to perform.

For financial institutions, looking at what a customer is worth can get complicated. To provide your paid search team with the correct information, determine the average worth of a client by product type. 

You might know that a checking account client is worth $700 over the lifetime of the account and $200 in the first year. Those two numbers represent how much a client is worth in the long term ($700), and how much a client is worth in the short term ($200). A paid search team can craft campaigns depending on your ROI goals — that is, whether to make your money back earlier, or whether to wait longer and earn more as the customer’s lifetime value goes up. 

Let’s return to the example above. If you know that a customer is worth $700 after two years, you might offer a $400 bonus and still net $300 whenever a customer opens a new checking account. 

But whatever the numbers are, because products have varying values, we recommend working with the business leaders within your company to determine what a customer is worth.

Understanding customer value helps you determine how much you should pay for a lead. 

All of this information is critical for any marketing team, especially a paid search team, to determine what they should set as targets for bid strategies, max CPC values, and methods to measure success.

Who Gets The Final Say & The Source of Truth

A great performing Google Ads account can be measured. If you can’t measure the performance of a Google Ads account, especially as a financial institution, the CMO won’t be able to convince the CFO to provide additional funds.

We encourage you to visit the analytics section of our blog and read more about how our teams build analytics frameworks for clients of all industries.

Connecting Your Google Ads To Banking Systems

This is our ultimate analytics and Google Ads dream for financial services clients: Helping you connect a click, a keyword, and a moment in time to a new customer who opens a checking account with you. When you have 100% online control, such as providing an online account opening option, establishing an accurate analytics framework becomes easier. 

Connecting all of the touchpoints along the user’s journey — digital and brick-and-mortar — should open up opportunities for you to track and measure consumer behavior when they stop into local branches, dial into call centers, or fill out forms online.

That’s the first installment of our three-part blog series. Look out for Part 2 next month, where we cover:

  • Part 2: Building Out Your First Set of Google Financial Marketing Campaigns
  • Part 3: Making Sure Your Financial Services Google Ads & Messaging Are In Compliance

Want to ask a question or learn more? Get in touch with us today.