Paid ads have long been a core strategic component for digital marketers in B2B and consumer-facing organizations alike.
Google advertising in particular used to be the bread-and-butter of elite marketers and their lead generation strategies.
Namely because it consistently provided promising results relative to its affordability.
But in recent years, the costs of paid ads have continued to soar – but more so for Google than the likes of YouTube, Facebook, and other leading digital platforms.
This rise in costs, coupled with other regulatory changes that have served to disrupt certain strategic practices of finance marketers raises a serious question: is it still worth investing in Google Ads?
Google Ads and finance marketing
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not cut and dry.
Depending on your size, service offering and budget, how well Google Ads work for your finance organization can vary greatly.
What we can say with certainty however, is that if you are assessing the efficacy of Google Ads as part of your overall marketing strategy, you need to know:-
- whether you are impacted by specific advertising rules and restrictions,
- which mistakes to avoid in order to minimize losses,
- and which best practices will help you to maximize ROI.
Need-to-know #1: Google restrictions on targeted marketing
In October 2020, Google updated its personalized advertising policies to introduce new restrictions on customer targeting practices.
In short, these new changes prohibit financial marketers from targeting customers based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or area code.
While this regulatory change represents a positive step towards fairer marketing practices, this will force many financial services to change how they operate.
Need-to-know #2: Promotion of financial products
Google also applies a number of restrictions to a variety of financial products. Although, the advertising of financial products such as cryptocurrencies is allowed, but there are stringent rules around how this can be done.
So, it is worth looking into the rules and regulations around paid advertising of financial services.
Another important factor that few people take into account when looking at the costs and returns of Google Ads is that substandard practices present one of the biggest threats to your potential returns.
An article by Disruptive Advertising found that, in the typical Google Ads account, only 6% of the keywords targeted actually secured a conversion.
When broader, more competitive keywords can charge upwards of £30 per click, it’s easy to see how finance marketers without experience or specialist knowledge in PPC can create a sinkhole for their advertising budget.
But using Google Ads needn’t require you to spend several hundreds of pounds per lead.
There are a number of practices marketers can adopt that will exponentially improve the value and success they yield from Google Ads:-
Bid for more specific keywords
One of the biggest mistakes finance marketers make with Google Ads is bidding for the keywords with the highest search volume.
This creates two problems:-
- It places you in a direct bidding war with the biggest players in your sector
- It makes you more likely to receive quantity of web traffic rather than quality (giving you a high percentage of visits, with a low percentage of conversions).
Focus your effort on bidding for niche, longtail keywords. The more specific the search term, the clearer the searcher’s intent is.
You can then look to respond to this more effectively with your content, showing an understanding of your customers’ complex problems and needs
Let your successes define your strategy
Choosing a select few keywords represents a significantly lower cost per lead compared to spreading yourself too thin across a larger set.
Start slowly with a low budget and a handful of keywords, and then adjust your strategy in line with what works and what doesn’t.
If you start seeing some favourable returns, you can scale things up. If not, try something else.
Target warm leads
You will always get more returns from paid advertising if you focus on targeting people that have already interacted with your brand.
Many experts refer to this as ‘remarketing’.
It might be that they have visited your website or clicked on some of your content before, but this never led to a sale at the time.
Target people who are already familiar with you and watch your conversion rates go up.
All in all, whether Google Ads are worthwhile to you is down to the size, scope, budget and service offering of your organization.
But regardless of how much advertising spend you allocate towards it, finance marketers should be using Google Ads as part of a broader, multi-faceted strategy of customer acquisition and growth.
The proportion of that which you choose to dedicate to Google advertising should be dictated by how much ROI it brings you compared to other digital platforms.