April 20 2020

Why Financial Institutions Need to Invest in Paid Search

paid search campaigns financial institutionsAs a financial institution you know the value of a good investment. You also know how competitive the market is for acquiring new customers and members. Successful financial marketers plan a mix of marketing tactics to achieve their goals, and more and more, marketers are realizing how important it is to invest in paid search campaigns through Google and Bing. Paid search engine marketing campaigns, also known as pay-per-click marketing allow your institution to attract targeted audiences immediately on relevant search terms, and importantly offer the ability to track results down to actual conversions. Learn why all financial institutions need to consider paid search campaigns as part of their marketing toolkit.

What is paid search?

Pay-per-click or PPC, is an advertising strategy that places businesses ads on search engine results pages or on other sites with the goal of generating more traffic back to the advertiser’s site. PPC is built upon a keyword bidding process. If a user types a keyword that is a broad or exact match to a business listing, an ad may appear, and the business pays if the user clicks on their ad. Let’s get a little more granular with the different types of paid search advertising available.

There are several different types of paid advertising through search engines, each with its own unique capabilities. The type of PPC ad you do will depend on your audience, potential and current customer or member base and other digital marketing tactics you are doing alongside this strategy.

Search ads

One of the most popular types of PPC ads is Search Advertising. As a search engine user, you have seen these ads above the organic results when you type keywords and phrases into Google. Ads display based on keyword matches that an advertiser is bidding for, their budget and a few other factors. Administrators of the ad campaign can specify whether they want to bid on terms with a ‘broad match’ or ‘exact match’, - referring to the variations of the key term the ad is triggered by.

Search ads have gained their popularity and are highly recommended because of there ability to place ads in front of people who are already searching for relevant terms within your desired geographic area. In turn this sets a business up for high-quality leads when visitors are in the comparison and purchase phases of the sales cycle, and ultimately ROI.

Display ads

Popular because of their reach, Display Ads target users who move beyond the search engine results and are surfing the internet for their answers. These are the ads you see at the top, on the side and in the middle of web content on any website within the Google Display Network.

This ad type reaches over 90% of people on the internet, according to Google. This visibility gives advertisers a wider reach, with less competition and allows you to spend less money than you would with Search. Display is also dynamic, meaning that an advertiser has the ability use a mix of images and text to produce an ad that speaks to a specific audience. There are also fewer limitations with this type of ad, giving you the ability to personalize it for your brand. Similar to Search, through the Display network an advertiser can choose to target through keywords. You can also target on pages within that Display Network that are related to topics, as well as ages and gender.

Within Google’s Display Network there are several different types of ads including responsive display ads, engagement ads, Gmail ads and remarketing ads.


Have you ever visited a website then seen corresponding ad on other sites to the original site you were on? Well, you have then been targeted by a search engine remarketing ad. Remarketing ads are part of the Display Network but can be performed on Search and only show text ads to users within a specified audience.
Remarketing is a great way to re-engage the interest of users who have previously interacted with your website or mobile app. Since these users were already interested in your products and services, this ad strategy can help them to reach the final steps in the conversion process. This is especially helpful for topics that require a longer sales cycle. On top of being a focused advertising strategy remarketing has a large-scale reach, efficient pricing and well-timed targeting methods.

Benefits for Financial Institutions

In today’s climate, where users expect to be able to do everything online, paid search engine marketing can help financial institutions to stay ahead of local, regional and national competition or at least be part of the consideration set. While paid search bid prices for financial keywords are typically expensive, paired with a organic SEO strategies, search ads can get produce strong return on investment.

SEO strategies, particularly for promoting your new financial products or services, can take time to increase rankings especially considering that only 75% of users never go beyond the second page of the search engine results. Additionally, organic SEO for financial institutions is extremely competitive. While a well-defined SEO plan is highly recommended, paid search can help you to get immediate results for timely promotions and supplement the results that aren’t guaranteed with SEO. PPC gives financial marketers the ability to launch a campaign quickly and make tweaks as needed. As we know rates can change fast, so with a paid search campaign, updating rates in ads is a breeze as compared to other types of marketing tactics.

Brand visibility is another advantage of paid search. For banks and credit unions it can be a challenge to find a competitive edge in a large pool of financial choices. With PPC, banks and credit unions can gradually introduce their brand and services to the ad portion of the search engine results page. According to a Google survey, users are more likely to remember brands of a specific category that often appear as ads across Search and Display networks, than those who do not utilize paid search. A PPC study performed in 2020, also found that 65% of users who are searching for a product or service, hit a pay-per click ad and view them as a trusted source.

Search engine marketing also gives financial institutions the advantage of real-time analytics tracking. Easily track the ROI from your specific PPC ads for new products and timely promotions, right in your Google Analytics account. The analytics provided with these ads also gives advertisers an efficient way to test the performance of that a highly competitive home loan rate for example.

Lastly, the advertiser is in complete control of the budget when it comes to paid search. While bid prices for financial topics are generally expensive, an advertiser can choose how much visibility to have based on their budget. While most institutions cannot afford to have their ads visible 100% of the time on the most popular searched terms, there is room in the bidding market for nearly every budget. Additionally, the advertiser chooses where the budget is spent on paid ads and has the ability to edit or pause campaigns at any time.

Paid search is an effective marketing tactic for financial institutions to develop steady traffic to their website through a variety of portals, giving visibility to their website, app features and promotions while users are searching the internet of exploring related terms. Let us help you develop the right paid search strategy for your institution. As an agency that works with mostly financial clients, we can help with paid search campaign strategy, keyword research, campaign copywriting, design support, as well as campaign setup, management and reporting. Get in touch today.

  • Paid Advertising
  • SEO

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.
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