The Financial Conduct Authority released figures about mortgage lending in June, revealing that, although the lending market was down in Q1 2015 compared to the final quarter of 2014, the overall value of mortgages awarded by banks was up year-on-year.
Previously, mortgages were primarily dealt with by building societies, but now every bank offers at least some kind of mortgage product. It comes as no surprise, then, that the industry has become hugely competitive, with each institution battling to attract the eyes of potential homebuyers.
Here we take a look at how the top high street banks are faring when it comes to mobile PPC across a whole range of mortgage-related keywords.
[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/MortgagesMobilevsDesktopMay.png” title=”Top competitors mobile impression share for May, mobile versus desktop, Adthena data” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/MortgagesMobilevsDesktopMay.png”][/lightbox]
The three competitors we decided to explore in more detail are HSBC, Natwest, and Nationwide. All three are gaining more clicks from their desktop campaigns, as would be expected — mobile is not quite as established as desktop when it comes to PPC.
However, what’s clear is that HSBC is far out in front when it comes to performance across both platforms. Is this a case of all ships rise with the tide — as desktop clicks increase, so do mobile — or are the two platforms more independent? And should you treat them as separate entities when developing your campaign?
[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/mobilemortgages.png” title=”HSBC, Natwest, Nationwide, number of search terms, mobile versus desktop, Adthena data” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/mobilemortgages.png”][/lightbox]
Take a look at the spread of mobile and desktop keywords being used by our three competitors: just like on the impressions chart, HSBC is leading the charge. The company has more terms in its keyword portfolio for both mobile and desktop, leading to more clicks on both platforms.
The same can’t be said of Natwest’s and Nationwide’s performances. Although Natwest was bidding on more desktop terms than any of the other competitors, it achieved a much lower click rate.
Nationwide had the second highest number of keywords on mobile — they apparently assumed that volume was the only way to get to the top of the mobile search pages.
This is a key indicator that both Natwest and Nationwide have inefficiencies in their strategies that need to be ironed out.
[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/TopCompetitorsShareofMobileImpressions.png” title=”Top competitors share of mobile impressions, Adthena data” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/TopCompetitorsShareofMobileImpressions.png”][/lightbox]
This is perhaps displayed a little clearer in the 30-day trend chart, where you can see that HSBC is way out in front, with Natwest and Nationwide dragging their feet at the bottom of the chart.
HSBC’s performance shows a more precise strategy, ramping up spending on Mondays and Tuesday and pulling it back on weekends, when it may have found that searches were generally lower and adapted its strategy accordingly.
Although Natwest did show signs of better performance between mid-May and early June, its share completely dropped below Nationwide for the rest of the period. It decided to increase its spending during weekends, though, perhaps responding to the strategy employed by HSBC.
What Gave HSBC the Lead?
[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/HSBCAds.jpg” title=”HSBC Ads, Adthena” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/HSBCAds.jpg”][/lightbox]
Taking a look at the ad copy, it’s clear why HSBC is consistently so far ahead. Although two of Natwest’s ads performed well, logging 22% and 11% frequency, respectively, HSBC’s ads are all mobile-preferred, while Natwest’s are not. This resulted in their being served in the top position more often, which in turn meant they got more clicks.
Additionally, the set of keywords HSBC is using in its ads is much wider, appealing to those searching for low-rate mortgages, first-buyer mortgages, and remortgages. Although the low-rate mortgage deals gained most of the traction, the combined performance of them all allowed HSBC to take pole position in the overall performance charts.
Our third competitor, Nationwide, didn’t appear anywhere in the top ten adverts (ranked by mobile market coverage). It’s easy to see why the company dropped down to such a small market share when none of its adverts are getting coverage.
What Financial Organisations Can Learn
Our analysis demonstrates the importance of using mobile sponsored search to boost your campaign. More so than other areas of finance (take a look at our current accounts and insurance analyses) — where the mobile clicks are a lot lower — the mortgaging industry presents a huge opportunity.
Combining a wide spread of keywords like HSBC’s that covers all kinds of mortgages will ensure you stay on top of the search tree. Additionally, using attractive offers or nuggets of information, such as HSBC’s proclamation that it’s open between 8 am and 10 pm, will hopefully improve your quality score and see you rise to the top of the search results.
(Main image credit: Woodley Wonder Works/flickr)