PPC for Financial Services: 11 Tips for More Leads & Sales

February 16th, 2023

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is an essential marketing tool for financial services companies. In the finance industry, paid search offers an average conversion rate of 6%, making it the second most effective channel (after referrals). So if you’re not already, you should definitely use PPC for financial services sales and lead generation.

PPC ad campaigns can be expensive, especially in the financial services industry. But if the right person clicks on your ad and becomes a customer, your investment will pay dividends. In this article, we’ll show you 11 ways to get more leads and sales from your PPC campaigns.

PPC covers a variety of ad platforms and formats, from the Google Network to every major social media platform. In this article, we’ll focus on Google Ads Search campaigns and retargeting, as these are the most commonly used formats. And they’re the most likely to rapidly generate leads and revenue.

So how should you use PPC for finance services? Let’s dive in.

PPC in Finance: Case Study

First, let’s look at a financial services business that’s used PPC successfully. New Century Financial worked with HawkSEM to refine and optimise their PPC campaigns, leading to:

  • A sixfold jump in conversions
  • 80% lower cost-per-acquisition
  • Conversion rate of almost 10%.

By implementing some of the strategies we’ll outline below, New Century Financial now achieve 50% more clicks with the same amount of ad spend — maximising their paid search marketing efficiency.

Google’s PPC Restrictions & Regulations in Finance

Google requires advertisers to follow their guidelines — as well as relevant legal requirements — to advertise financial services. Some products (such as credit repair services and high-APR personal loans) can’t be advertised full stop, while others are heavily regulated. So it’s important to make sure your ads meet Google’s terms of service.

Your ads must also disclose:

  • Any fees associated with your product or service
  • Your company contact information, including your location
  • Links to any implied or stated third-party endorsements.

If you don’t include all the required information, Google won’t run your ad. So double check you’re complying with the rules before launching your PPC campaign.

11 Financial Services PPC Tips for Lead Gen and Sales

Ready to generate more quality leads and sales? Here are 11 PPC strategies to get you started.

1. Research Competitors and Differentiate Your Brand

Competitor research is key. Identify four or five competitors in your niche, and analyse their PPC campaigns.

Tools like Ahrefs allow you to see which keywords your competitors are bidding on. Just search your competitor’s URL and use the PPC keywords report to see the search terms they’re bidding on:

When you know what your competitors are doing (and how much it’s costing them), you can research the keywords you also want to target.

If your budget is tight, choose keywords with a lower cost-per-click (CPC). But bear in mind that keywords with a higher CPC may drive more sales and valuable leads, especially if they’re highly relevant to your service or product.

When you have a list of keywords, search them in Google. Take note of the ads being served (especially on the first page). Click through to the landing pages. Make a note of:

  • The copy and tone they use — how does this resonate with their target audience?
  • What their offer is — how are they selling their product or service to customers?
  • What their price point is — how does the pricing map against their estimated CPC?
  • Their landing pages — what do they look like? Are they what you expected based on their ad copy?

Now it’s time to create your own ads to compete with these. Using your research, decide how to position yourself to people searching for keywords you’re both bidding on. What can you do to make them choose you, not them?

This video can help you find the differentiator that makes you stand out from your competitors:

2. Protect Your Budget From Wasted Ad Spend

When it comes to PPC for financial services, costs-per-click are often higher than in other sectors. Here’s how the average CPC for major industries stack up:

IndustryAverage Search CPCAverage Display CPC 
Legal $6.75$0.72
Technology $3.80$0.51
Finance & Insurance $3.44$0.86
eCommerce $1.16$0.45

Bear in mind that these are the average costs. In many cases you’ll pay much more than this to bid on relevant keywords, especially if they indicate high buying intent.

As long as you’re generating quality leads, your high CPC costs will be covered by your sales. But you must stay in control of your costs to get the most from your PPC campaigns. Make sure you’re bidding on highly targeted keywords in your specific financial niche. For example, if you deal primarily in accounting, don’t be tempted to bid on keywords related to banking or lending.

Also, because your cost-per-click is so high, the last thing you want is for fake users and bots to click your ads. They won’t convert, but you’ll still pay a premium for the click. This quickly adds up when you’re paying £5+ per click.

Lunio can prevent these fake users from clicking your ads, protecting your ad campaign budget and saving it for genuine users. Financial services firm Optimyzd save £3,800 in ad spend every month using Lunio. 

3. Be Careful With Broad Match Keywords & Avoid Auto-Apply Recommendations

Broad match allows search engines to serve your search ads to anyone whose search terms even vaguely resemble your keyword — reducing the control you have over your ads.

For example, if you add the broad match keyword “financial advisor near me”, your ad might also show in searches for “financial advisor salary” and “financial advisor jobs”. Your ad won’t be relevant to people searching for these topics, but they might click on them regardless, driving up your costs with zero gain.

Broad match can be useful in some scenarios to uncover new valuable keyword opportunities. But care is needed. You conversion tracking needs to be set up perfectly, your bid need to be set to Target ROAS, and you need to be confident in the relevance of the traffic hitting your website. Otherwise it’s likely spend will be wasted.

For most advertisers, it makes sense focus on phrase match or exact match instead. This will give you much more control over who sees your ads and reduces the risk of wasted ad spend.

In a similar vein, don’t automatically apply the recommendations Google gives you. In many cases, these drain your ad spend without giving you much value in return. (Don’t fall for the free credits trick — Google aren’t that generous).

4. Optimise Ad & Landing Page Copy

Crafting successful PPC campaigns isn’t just about selecting the right keywords. Your messaging also needs to resonate with your potential leads.

Here’s how you can polish up your ad copy to improve your PPC ads:

  • Speak to your audience’s pain points — tell them how you (and only you!) can address their challenges
  • Use target keywords in your ad headline and description — reinforce the relevance of your ad to their query
  • Stick to character limits — stay within the limit for headlines and descriptions so your entire ad is displayed
  • Take inspiration from competitors — see what they’re doing well, and which strategies you could use.
  • Create a clear call-to-action — know what you want readers to do, and ask them to take action in a direct and compelling way

Bidding on competitors’ branded keywords is another common tactic. Here’s an example of other brands’ ads being served on a search for “monzo bank”:

You must also optimise your landing pages for maximum conversions. These tips will help you refine your landing page copy:

  • Stay on brand — your landing page copy should be consistent with the tone and voice across your other channels
  • Use the same keywords as in your ads — create consistency between your ad and landing page to speak to their original query
  • Include social proof — customer reviews and testimonials show people real results
  • Use bullet points — avoid large chunks of text by using lists to show the benefits of your product or service
  • Include a form to collect leads — keep your form short and easy to complete.

ChatGPT now makes it more efficient to craft your ad and landing page copy. To try it out, paste your homepage/product/service page into ChatGPT, and use the following prompts:

  • Can you create 5 PPC ad headlines based on this copy?
  • Can you create 5 PPC ad descriptions based on this copy?
  • Can you create PPC landing page copy based on the copy below?

More prompt ideas are available at FlowGPT. If you’re struggling to get the right output, consider asking ChatGPT to “act as a digital marketing expert/content manager/marketing copywriter”, or even ask it to write in the style of a specific person.

5. Improve Your Quality Score With Better Landing Pages

Landing pages are linked with Google’s quality score. Better landing pages are rewarded with a higher quality score; higher quality scores can earn you a lower CPC. So improving your quality score can help you get more from your ad spend.

Improve your landing pages and quality score by:

  • Create individual landing pages for small groups of keywords — don’t use generic landing pages or your homepage; make your landing pages as relevant to the search terms as possible
  • Using target keywords in your landing pages — ideally include them in your landing page header
  • Improve load speeds — make sure any images load quickly to keep visitors on the page.

Following these tips (along with the copy improvements above) should help you reach those high quality scores, which Google may reward with a reduced CPC.

6. Add Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are essential for controlling ad spend in your PPC campaign. Adding negative keywords prevents your ads being shown for irrelevant search terms. This stops users who are less likely to convert from clicking on your ads, making your spending more efficient and improving your conversion rate.

7. Track Conversions in Google Analytics 

Good conversion tracking is essential for making the most of your ad spend, especially as PPC becomes more automated with the introduction of Google’s Performance Max.

Automated campaigns are most effective when they’re given high-quality data. So the better your conversion tracking, the more effectively they can supply you with quality leads.

Universal Analytics won’t be available from June 2023. So if you haven’t already made the switch to Google Analytics 4, now’s the time to do so.

Google Analytics 4 uses server-side tagging to track conversions. This is a new methodology that doesn’t rely on cookies. Server-side tagging must be set up correctly to feed the algorithm with the best possible data.

If you’re not familiar with this new system, read Lunio’s ultimate guide to Google Analytics 4. When you’re ready to set up GA4 for conversion tracking, this video will guide you through the process:

8. Make Use of Ad Extensions

Ad extensions give people valuable contextual information about your product. They make your ad stand out from competitors and organic listings. The best performing financial PPC ads make good use of extensions.

Here are three tips for creating effective ad extensions:

  • Be relevant — aim to include information that relates to potential customers’ needs, wants, or challenges
  • Be specific — highlight unique features of your service
  • Test and optimise — experiment with extensions to find the best performing options.
ppc for financial services

9. Test, Test, Test

Testing is one of the most effective ways to improve PPC campaign success for finance businesses. As Google Ads specialist Miles McNair says:

“Test, test, test. Don’t copy blindly what someone is telling you to do because it’s working for them. Run your own experiments to find what works for your business.”

Implement A/B testing as part of your PPC strategy. You can test:

  • Ad copy — including the headline, ad copy, and extensions
  • Landing page copy — make sure this links with the ad and resonates with readers
  • Keywords — remove keywords with high CPC that generate little return
  • Where your ads are served — experiment with desktop, mobile, and tablet formats to see which generates the best return
  • When your ads are served — if you’re not seeing a good return on ads at night or on the weekends, switch them off.

10. Create a Lead Scoring System

Implement lead scoring to improve lead quality. By automating lead qualification, you can save time and ensure your leads are strong before investing any significant time in them.

Lead scoring helps you determine how close someone is to making a purchasing decision. This makes your marketing efforts much more efficient, and saves time for your sales team. 

Here’s a brief comparison of the three major lead types:

Information-qualified leadsMarketing-qualified leadsSales-qualified leads
Also known asCold leadsWarm leadsHot leads
Buyer journey stageAt the start (awareness stage)Researching buying options (consideration stage)Almost ready to buy (decision stage)
Possible touchpointsMinimal engagement with your websiteHave usually visited your website multiple times, often looking at case studies and whitepapersRegular visitor to your website; may have booked a demo or downloaded pricing

Look at the touchpoints that convert most people into MQLs and SQLs. Then decide how much each touchpoint is worth. High-intent actions like viewing your pricing or watching product videos are usually worth more than accessing awareness-stage content. You can then set your qualification scores.

11. Use Retargeting for Display and YouTube Ads

If your ad budget has so far been spent on acquiring traffic, capitalise on this by retargeting past website visitors. Retargeting reminds people why they visited your site in the first place. This keeps your business front-of-mind when they’re ready to buy.

Retargeting is one of the most cost-effective ways to generate strong leads for finance companies. Use these five strategies to make it work for you:

  • Limit retargeting frequency — cap the number of times you show your ad to the same person
  • Retarget email subscribers — use your mailing lists to retarget warm leads with first party data
  • Change your ad format — experiment with vertical video and other ad formats
  • Use skippable ads — these are cheaper than non-skippable ads, and help you understand how effective your ads are
  • Don’t serve ads to bots — use Lunio to prevent bots from viewing or clicking on your ads, skewing your figures and draining your ad budget.

Book a Lunio demo to see how we can help you get the most from your financial services PPC strategy.

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