Which Payday Lenders are Prepared for Christmas Spending?

Ian O'Rourke Posted by Ian O'Rourke

With this year’s Christmas shopping season just a few weeks away, let’s find out which payday lenders’ marketing efforts are most likely to bear fruit.

The Christmas holiday also introduces additional expenses, as people splurge on presents, food, trips, and gadgets – all extravagant burdens on household budgets.

Meanwhile, the credit crunch has drastically changed the financial marketplace. Banks are increasingly reluctant to hand out personal loans and credit cards, stiffening their requirements even as incomes have shrunk.

Furthermore, the public has justifiably grown wary of long-term loans, leaving payday loans as an attractive alternative for handling, among other things, the pressures of Christmas spending.

With spending season upon us, we give you the biggest players in the payday loan sector, as well as those most likely to hop on the Christmas bandwagon.

Market Situation

While mid-November usually kicks off the Christmas shopping season, payday lenders have already begun preparing for the impending craze, hoping to make the most of the golden quarter.

Internet Retailing reports that this year the British are expected to spend a whopping £13 billion on online shopping alone (an 18% increase from last year). Additionally, Mintel forecasts total retail sales amounting to £36,5 billion (3% more year on year).

Meanwhile, Open University Business School’s dedicated research centre claims that one-third of all Brits regularly overspend their incomes around Christmastime.

As online retail trends upwards, it’s easier than ever for consumers to buy anytime and anywhere. With household budgets subsequently operating at a deficit, payday lenders have reason to focus on strengthening their online campaigns.

Although only a handful of companies invest in paid search throughout the year, the holiday hype changes the equation, and has produced several notable industry shifts.

Prime Payday Players

Based on their share in paid search metrics, five major players have emerged in the UK payday loan market: QuickQuid, Wonga.com., WageDayAdvance, PaydayUK, and Payday Express.

The undisputed leader of the sector, QuickQuid invested steadily in PPC campaigns between mid-September and mid-October. More interestingly, though, after a fortnight of slight ups and downs, the company’s spending stabilized at the top while the other players lost ground.

Wonga.com presents a unique case. The lender previously demonstrated little interest in or capability of PPC campaign analysis, resulting in a weak share of voice.

In this period, however, its PPC budget shot up, surpassing the spending of its closest competitors, WageDayAdvance and PaydayUK. Evidently, the company saved its resources in preparation of investing heavily in the golden quarter.

Finally, Payday Express’ prospects are, frankly, pretty bleak this Christmas. Its spending has been verging on zero for the better part of 2014, as has its online popularity.

However, an examination of total spending does not paint a full picture of who’s bringing the house down this Christmas. We must also consider marketing efficiency.

Campaign Efficiency

QuickQuid has established itself as the most successful lender not only because it spends the most, but also due to its highly efficient budget management. With excellent traffic in proportion to its total spending, the company obviously makes the most of every quid invested in paid search.

Wonga.com is at the other extreme. While ranking second in spending after QuickQuid, the efficiency of its PPC campaigns plummeted over the past month, leaving the company trailing QuickQuid, WageDayAdvance, and PaydayUK in share of voice (SOV).

It seems that the lender’s massive spending inconsistencies negatively impacted its overall performance.

If Wonga.com wishes to maximize its PPC efforts this year, it should broaden its search term portfolio, which is slightly narrower than those of QuickQuid and WageDayAdvance.

With many vital terms left untargeted, the company should consider using analysis tools such as as Adthena’s ‘Missing Keyword’ option, which helps boost traffic by adding fresh and formerly unknown keywords to a company’s portfolio.

Meanwhile, WageDayAdvance and PaydayUK keep the golden mean: Their budgets are managed well and bring them relatively stable traffic. WageDayAdvance’s noticeable interest in the festive spending can be traced through a slight increase in spending that began in late September.

After launching a massive campaign in the heat of summer, PaydayUK seems to have lost its financial stamina. While the rest of the lenders were starting to prepare for Christmas, this lender capped its budget, entering a prolonged plateau through the latter half of September.

However, its renewed campaign efforts made a noticeably positive impact in early October.


With a quarter of all Brits claiming that they will be doing more online shopping and one-third regularly overspending their incomes this Christmas, the competition amongst lenders over advertising with paid search will only get tougher, as growing customer demand will serve to drive up the price of bids.

At the same time, the top advertisers in paid search need to invest more in boosting campaign efficiency, either by introducing bid management tools or by focusing on other resources – like competition analysis and long-tail keywords – that provide essential market insights.

(Image credit: Soerfm/Wikipedia)

About the author

Ian O'Rourke
Ian O'Rourke
Ian is the CEO and Founder of Adthena. After 22 years being involved in technology businesses and start-ups, he has driven Adthena forward since 2012 and it is now experiencing rapid growth. Ian likes to foster a culture of common sense and self-reliance at Adthena, and ensures everyone has the tools they need to succeed, His flair for innovation and business has been recognised with the Developing Entrepreneur Award at the WCIT Enterprise Awards – commonly regarded as the Oscars for technology entrepreneurs. A graduate of the University of Queensland, Ian is also a fluent Chinese speaker having lived and studied in Taiwan. He is married with two children and is an avid rock climber in his spare time.