Disclaimer: No client data was used to write this blog post.
Why does MoneySuperMarket dominate the PPC market for mortgages? Will the other aggregators fight back, or will MoneySuperMarket extend its lead?
The PPC market across all financial sectors is generally shrouded in anonymity, which has left the market for mortgages open to a brute-spend approach. But through clever keyword choices and a branding approach that connects PPC with other media, the losers can gain ground and the winners can increase efficiency.
In the meantime, there’s one winner in this game, and it’s not even close. We analysed mortgage-related keywords, not including brand terms across the four leading financial aggregators to find out how they are using PPC to attract attention to the range of products on the market.
Bland Ad Copy, but Smart Strategy
MoneySuperMarket dominates all the top keywords, with the highest share of voice (SOV) for the keyword group.
The majority of MoneySuperMarket’s adverts are pretty bland. But, as we’ll see later, MoneySuperMarket is winning this sector thanks in part to its enormous spend. It’s possible to be the David to MoneySuperMarket’s Goliath in a situation like this, but not if your ad copy is more or less the same as your competition’s.
If you want to do battle against a big spender, Adthena’s ad copy analysis is the tool you need to strengthen your ads and put up a real fight.
There are few customers who would want to get a mortgage without discussing it with a human being first and as comparison sites don’t allow you to sign up to a mortgage directly, rather forwarding you to the bank to complete the deal, it’s a tricky market to crack, because the aggregators don’t want to lose you as a lead in the process (ie., clicking off their site to go and seek advice, then buy direct).
As such, it would be wise to consider click-to-call PPC ads to grab the attention of those searching for deals on a mobile device, as I emphasised in an article for Search Engine Watch.
Our data suggests that many of the brands lagging behind MoneySuperMarket in the SOV rankings can thank their choices of keywords for the poor results. The breakdown above displays the keywords that have only a small number of competitors involved and, as such, would deliver a strong ROI to any new brand that might step in and bid on them.
The keyword “mortgage calculator” seems like a great choice in this mix – only MoneySuperMarket is bidding, and it’s serving them well. It stands to reason that the search term would work for another brand, especially if they produce stand-out ads.
MIA: Money Saving Expert’s Strategy Relies on its Partner’s Success
Money Saving Expert, owned by MoneySuperMarket, seems to have stepped back from paid PPC in this keyword group, to let the parent company do the leg work. But, for organic search, Martin Lewis’ baby still figures, being a popular and influential site.
This is a good example of how companies can use the different arms of Google search to cooperate and not waste resources by competing against each other.
What’s with MoneySuperMarket’s Dominance?
As we discussed in addressing another financial market, flood insurance, customers tend to get fickle when the product isn’t tangible. This rule seems to hold true for mortgage aggregators.
In this sort of market, people will naturally go for the company with the most ads and the most convenient service. And we can point to exactly that sort of market dynamic when explaining why branding exists. MoneySuperMarket understands this, as we can see from its quirky TV ads.
That said, why don’t we hear from Dave the strutting businessman or Graham the elephant rider at any point during any of MoneySuperMarket’s PPC campaigns? The aggregator may have earned a huge SOV, but its approach was ultimately inefficient, as it should have shifted some of that quirky and unique advertorial flair to its PPC ad copy.
After all, Dave the strutting businessman got more than a million views on YouTube, so maybe ads reading, “Dave, you’re so MoneySuperMarket,” would have earned a greater ROI.
Overall, all players in the mortgage PPC arena have a lot to improve upon, with big gains available to those who develop a stand-out strategy. No industry can avoid the necessity of effective branding and big data SEM, and the first ones to embrace them stand to profit first.
(Main image credit: Mortgage Simon Cunningham/flickr)