Preface

Advertising is a major factor in the mortgage industry. More so than other areas of business, the mortgage industry is especially reliant in getting the word out about financing options for potential homebuyers. Potential homebuyers cannot just go to a store and acquire the financing they are looking for, making advertising and visibility that much more important for the company offering mortgages. While traditional advertising has its place, a more efficient, cost-effective form of advertising lies in Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

 

Starting Point

Today’s Business began performing a SEM campaign for a mortgage company in December 2016 in order to increase exposure of the company and achieve conversions. Conversions can vary depending on what the goals of the campaign and company are, but in this case, conversions come in the form of calls and form submissions.

A mortgage company needs a way to compete with banks that give out home loans as well. Today’s Business believed a crucial competitive advantage could be to excel at SEM and increase the customer base that way. There seemed to an opportunity in this space for the mortgage company to differentiate itself from its competition. While Today’s Business’s SEM campaign for this client is still in its infancy stages, the initial month of running the campaign showed the immense promise in delivering real results for this client through SEM.

 

Results

The results of this campaign that will be examined come from the month of December 2016, the very first month of introduction. While there is nothing to compare the results to since this marked month one of the campaign, that also means that the numbers stand by themselves as indicators of the kind of difference a SEM campaign can make for this client.

The first thing that should be examined is the amount of conversions that can be attributed to SEM and the cost associated to acquire them. Below are the conversions for last month:

 

Conversions:

  • Calls: 143
  • Calls from ads (Call extensions):  59
  • Forms: 469

Total: 671

 

Overall

 

Cost/Conversion: $33.18

  • Clicks: 3,925
  • Spend: $22,268.48
  • Impressions: 242,872
  • CTR: 1.62%
  • Avg. CPC: $5.68

 

As can be seen, in one month, the mortgage company received 143 calls, 59 call extensions (calls from ads), and 469 form submissions! That’s a total of 671 conversions that can be attributed just to employing a SEM campaign. On top of that, there was a total spend of $22,268.48, which equates to an average of $5.68 cost per click (CPC). A $5.68 CPC and a $33.18 cost/conversion are both very solid numbers within the industry and is an especially good mark to achieve on the very first month of running the campaign. If one conversion leads to a customer financing their home, the cost has been covered easily. These are promising numbers that are certain to improve once the campaign gets refined.

On top of conversions and their cost for the overall campaign, the data can be distilled even more specifically, which can demonstrate how certain narrower aspects of the campaign fared. Below is data outlining this:

 

Display (Remarketing)

  • Impressions: 3,720
  • Clicks: 25
  • CPC: $0.49
  • CTR: 0.67%

 

Local

  • Cost/Conversion: $85.20
  • Clicks: 182
  • Impressions: 9,751
  • CTR: 1.87%
  • CPC: $7.02

 

National

  • Cost/Conversion: $32.12
  • Clicks: 3,718
  • Impressions: 229,401
  • CTR: 1.62%
  • CPC: $5.64

 

Top Converting Keywords

  • FHA Loans (141 Conversions)
  • Investment home loan (125 Conversions)
  • USDA loans (89 Conversions)
  • VA Loan (52 Conversions)

 

This is a lot of data to digest. To start, Today’s Business’s SEM campaigns can be broken into two main categories: local and national. Local search ads are more focused in the area of the mortgage company whereas national ads cover the whole country. Cost/conversions and CPCs are going to vary for these campaigns because of differences in the number of users the campaigns are exposed to as well as the generality in demographics in a national campaign compared with the potential narrowness in demographics of a local campaign. With that being said, cost/conversion and average CPC are definitely good starts in both these categories, with tremendous room for growth and improvement.

What can also be discerned from this data is that Today’s Business included a remarketing campaign for the client in addition to the customary search ads. It was initially decided to not dedicate too many resources to this segment due to an emphasis on the search network only ads. Despite not being an initial focus, remarketing was included in the campaign because it is a great way to bring prospective customers back to the specific landing pages, leading to better conversions.

A very important thing to focus on is the top converting keywords. The above keywords are ones that performed best for driving traffic and, ultimately, conversions to the mortgage company’s site. This is very important to know because a greater emphasis can be put on these words going forward. Additionally, Today’s Business set up unique landing pages for the different type of loans, so when people clicked, they were brought to a page displaying the exact information they wanted. This helped facilitate conversions and ensured the clicks being garnered were not being squandered by a poor page setup.

 

Finally, there is some very important demographic data that could be discerned as a result of the SEM campaign. The data follows:

 

Demographics (By Clicks)

Gender

  • Male: 32%
  • Female: 38%
  • Unknown: 30%

 

Age

  • 18-24: 5%
  • 25-34: 13%
  • 35-44: 13%
  • 45-54: 14%
  • 55-64: 8%
  • 65 or more: 5%
  • Unknown: 42%

 

This data can be extremely valuable going forward because it enables the client to identify what gender and age group the user clicking belongs to. This data can be used to tweak ads in future campaigns to better target an audience that is already interacting with the company.

 

Conclusion

As can be seen, the SEM campaign Today’s Business ran for a mortgage company was a huge success from the start. In just the first month, the company experienced very positive clicks, conversions, cost/conversion rate, and CPC, as well as valuable data to be used moving forward. Combining the solid basis established in the launch of this particular SEM campaign along with valuable data like top converting keywords and integral demographics will enable Today’s Business to further strengthen the campaign into a robust channel in which the mortgage company can expect positive returns. If the SEM performance of December 2016 is an accurate harbinger, the ROI for this client will come very quickly.

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