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Online Search Advertising

This report looks at online financial service advertising and serves as a step-by-step guide for launching and maintaining online advertising campaigns.

Executive Summary

It’s 10 p.m. on a Tuesday. Jane Smith, 22, has been packing all day. On Thursday, she and her best friend are moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, and the sixth item on her to-do list reads, “Find a checking account.” She grabs her laptop, types “Charlotte checking account” into her browser’s search bar, and she’s off, enticed by the Google search results: Bank of America’s free checking; a 3.75% savings APY from Capital One; and a Washington Mutual link that promises quick enrollment, 100% online. Welcome to the world of financial online search advertising.

What is the research about?

Online search advertising allows you to buy advertising space next to search results on popular sites like Google, Yahoo, and MSN. The greater the competition for the term you want, the higher you have to bid to get your ad in an attractive location on the results page. This step-by-step guide for launching and maintaining online advertising campaigns shows you how even a little budget can go a long way toward member and product growth.

What are the credit union implications?

Financial online search advertising is the most competitive and expensive segment of the search market, with general search terms in the credit, mortgage, and auto finance sectors selling for as much as five times more than terms in the travel, retail, or dating industries. Financial services advertising represents nearly a quarter of online ad impressions. If you’re not reaching potential members in their day-to-day browsing, somebody else surely is.

This report is sponsored by PSCU Financial Services, the Credit Union Executives Society (CUES), Fiserv, and the Corporate Credit Union Network.