How We Leveraged Ads to Drive 393% More Conversions in Less than Eight Months
The client, Seacoast Bank, is one of the largest community banks headquartered in Florida, with approximately and provides integrated financial services including commercial and retail banking, wealth management, and mortgage services to customers through advanced banking solutions, and 50 traditional branches of its locally branded, wholly-owned subsidiary bank, Seacoast Bank.
They are passionate about providing a community-focused banking experience, with each of its locations frequently participating in local events, performing charity work, and getting involved in community gatherings alongside customers and neighbors. Their unique community commitment necessitated dual, complementary local search-focused campaigns: individual branch page optimization to showcase hyper-local content, and expert listings management.
The client came to us wanting to increase their lending leads. In the past, we had worked with them to leverage paid search advertising in driving new leads to their business in the form of calls, lead forms and applications.
Our marketing had helped connect Seacoast with significantly more lending opportunities, but there wasn’t enough money coming in to keep lending so aggressively. The result was a $500M deposit deficit in 2017, which caused the client to seek out new banking customers and reduce marketing budgets.
With bigger goals and tighter budgets, the challenge was to make every dollar count for our client to succeed.
To begin addressing this challenge, we audited Seacoast’s account to find opportunities. In doing so, we discovered three main areas to take on:
- Campaign Budget Allocation
- Ad Copy Testing
- Display Network Advertising
After the audit, we realized the client’s campaign budgets were being assigned based on location and business vertical; this distribution didn’t allow for optimal performance. Products with a low cost per conversion were underfunded, while highly-competitive keywords were eating through the client’s marketing budget.
The solution was to work with the client in reallocating campaign budgets to the campaigns that drove the lower cost per conversion.
This helped us steadily decrease cost per conversion from $44.66 in January to $22.79 by April and $8.89 by September… that’s a whopping 80 percent decrease in CPC!
Despite the reduced working budget, these fund reallocation improvements drove significantly more leads for Seacoast. More importantly, these budget shifts took into account which products drove the most revenue for the business, which not only helped increase leads but helped to improve the overall lead quality. These wins were significant for our client, but our work wasn’t finished yet.
Ad Copy Testing: Having addressed these issues and defining which target audiences to show our ads to, it was time to address message content. In determining how to engage the audience, we found our ads weren’t getting clicked as often as they needed to drive a sufficient number of new customers. The ad copy spoke to the client’s products and benefits but was not tailored to each set of keywords in a way that would attract searchers to choose our ads over a competitor’s ads.
By A/B testing ad copy variations featuring different competitive differentiators and more specific language, we increased CTR from 0.45% in January to 0.97% in April and 2.29% by the end of August.
We were also able to impact lead quality by featuring business requirements for loan application acceptance, such as “In Business 3+ Years” in ad headlines. As a result, we reduced the cost spent on irrelevant clicks and improved the quality of leads handled by the call center and underwriters.
This led to 180 new customer leads in August and 45 new customers for the business, a 25 percent close rate for applicants.
By influencing searchers not to click unless they met application requirements, we also saved money on clicks that never would have converted. By now, we were saving the client money and bringing in far more leads, but we had one more project to complete to get our client out of a tough spot.
Leveraging the Display Network: In most cases, search ads drive more leads than the display network, which is often used for brand awareness or early-funnel marketing activity. That being said, display ads are much cheaper per click than search ads, so we decided to take advantage of a new AdWords feature called in-market targeting.
This targeting method shows ads to people whose Google searches and web-browsing activity place them “in the market” for small business loans. Unlike traditional display targeting methods, in-market targeting is lead-focused, making it the perfect tactic for the client’s challenge. After implementation…
The client’s display campaigns began to outperform search campaigns, leading to 312 percent more clicks in August vs. January, despite increasing spend by only 35 percent.
More importantly, these leads were already qualified by Google’s in-market algorithm, making them more valuable to the client than previous display conversions.
New Customer Leads
The client had a significant business challenge and looked to our team to make the most of smaller budgets. By combining paid search fundamentals with the adoption of new features, we were able to significantly increase the number of leads our campaigns drove, including phone calls, website chats, lead forms and applications.
Through strategic management and working with the clients, we were able to improve CTR, decrease CPC and drive 393 percent more conversions in August compared to January, at less than a quarter of the cost per conversion.
When paid search performance is strong, clients entrust us with larger budgets to help grow their businesses even more. When money is tight, as true business partners, we work with the client to deliver results when they matter most, to help clients weather the storm.
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