Google Adwords credit union campaign example

An example of a Google Adwords campaign for a credit union.

Below is an example of a Google Adwords campaign for a credit union. Michigan State Federal Credit Union is a real credit union, but not a real client. I just used their name and sites for this example.


Creative Brief

August 2, 2010
Presented to:
April M. Clobes
Vice President of Marketing and E-Commerce
Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
Nicole Finkbeiner
Michigan State University Graduate Student
Department of Communication
Re: Google Adwords Campaign
Goal for the campaign
  • Increase the number of home mortgage applications completed through MSUFCU during the months of August and September 2010 (as compared to last year and surrounding months)

Target Markets

  • People living within the Greater Lansing (including East Lansing and Okemos), Auburn Hills, and surrounding areas who are interested in purchasing a home and looking for a mortgage for their home.  The majority of these people are first-time home buyers.
  • People living within the Greater Lansing (including East Lansing and Okemos), Auburn Hills, and surrounding areas who are interested in refinancing their current mortgage that is held by a different mortgage lender. 
In order to meet the goal of increasing the number of home mortgages written or refinanced by MSUFCU, this campaign will seek to drive warmed traffic to the MSUFCU home mortgage application site and related sites using Google AdWords.
I chose this strategy because:
  • When people are looking for information, such as home mortgage rates and mortgage lenders, they look online. And, for many people, the Internet is their ONLY source of information. For example, from May 2008 to May 2009, online searching “increased 20.3 percent year-over-year, from 7.8 billion in May 2008 to 9.4 billion in May 2009” (Source: Nielsen). 
  • Google is the number one search engine used in the United States.  For example, in May 2009, Google was responsible for 63.2% of Internet searches (Source: Nielsen).
  • Google Adwords allows MSUFCU to target prospects effectively without the advertising spillage that is present in traditional forms of advertising. 
    • Adwords will allow MSUFCU to target potential prospects demographically.  Using previous data on successful conversions, MSUFCU can narrow who sees the ads for MSUFCU to a specific geographic location, a specific gender, age, etc. to optimize results.
    • Adwords can specifically target prospects who are searching for information about home mortgages.  By using the Google Keyword tool, MSUFCU can see the key phrases that local residents are using to search for home mortgage information, target the ads to show at these times, and include the key phrases in the ad copy for maximum results.
Ad copy
After using the Google Keyword Tool to analyze MSUFCU’s mortgage websites and reviewing the chart below, I determined that there are two main key selling points that can be used in the ads:
  1. The low interest rate. Currently, MSUFCU has mortgage rates as low as 4.0%. This is an incredibly low rate and many competitors are slightly above at approximately 4.1-4.2%.  Buyers know that, over a long mortgage, the point variation on a mortgage will amount to significant dollars, so even a .1% advantage is truly an advantage.
  2. As shown in the keywords below, another top-ranking search term was a mortgage calculator. People thinking of purchasing a home or refinancing a home will use a mortgage calculator as a deciding factor on whether or not to move forward in the application process.  So, MSUFCU’s free mortgage calculator may lead to mortgage applications after they use it.
 Keyword ideas for MSUFCU
Using the top keywords above (mortgage, mortgage calculator, interest rates, first time home buyer, and home mortgage), I developed the following ads. These ads are developed using direct calls to action and multiple keywords to have maximum impact. Each, when clicked on, takes the potential customer to the page that most directly relates to their search term and the ad.
4.0% Mortgage Rate New Home Buyer Google Ad
4.0% Mortgage Rate Refinance Google Ad
Free Mortgage Calculator Refinance Google Ad
Free Mortgage Calculator Owning Your Own Home Google Ad
Low Interest Rates Apply now Google Ad
Low Interest Rates Google Ad Refinance
First Time Home Buyer Google Ad
Low Home Mortgage Rates Apply Now Google Ad
Low Home Mortgage Rates Refinance Today Google Ad
Ad set-up
  • When using Google Adwords, the best way to set-up the ads is as follows:
  • Locations: For locations, I recommend using the custom location feature and creating a 10 mile radius around each branch location by entering each location’s address.  Although some may overlap, this approach:
  • Allows the nearest branch address to show in the ads
  • Geographically targets areas near branches (people trust businesses that are local).
  • Limits the amount of advertising spillage. For example, if we chose the Greater Lansing DMA vs. customizing, the geographic area is much larger than from what MSUFCU pulls. These are wasted impressions.
  • Language: English, unless a significant amount of mortgage applications come from those with another language as their primary language.
  • Networks and Devices: Choose all. With mobile technology becoming the primary way that people access the Internet, it’s important for your ads to show on mobile and other devices and networks.
  • Bidding: I advise to keep this as simple as possible and let Google’s time-tested algorithms work for MSUFCU. Focus on clicks, automatic bidding, no CPC bid limit
  • Budget: To stay within the budget given, this should be set at $166 per day. This can be readjusted during the campaign if necessary.
  • Ad Extensions: Again, because of the rise of the mobile phone web-surfing, I recommend adding a Phone Extension to make it easy for potential customers to call.
  • Advanced Settings, Start Date and End Date: Schedule the ads starting today through the end of September.
  • Advanced Settings, Demographic Bidding: Chose the ages and gender (or both) that most fit the target market (and are typical of the majority of your best customers).
  • Keywords: Click on the link that helps you choose your keywords. They are all pre-loaded. Cross-reference these with the keywords and text/intent of the ad and the above Keyword Tool chart.
  • To make your ads as effective as possible, I recommend adding a call-to-action button (Apply Now!) to all of the web pages linked to your ads. For those sites where the button is currently present, I recommend moving your call-to-action button to above-the-fold; meaning on a place on the page that is visible without scrolling when the customer initially sees the page.
  • To maximize effectiveness, I recommend reviewing the campaign daily.  It is difficult to tell as first what ads will perform well and what ads don’t.  By monitoring the ads, MSUFCU will be able to make adjustments to the ads that are under-performing to maximize their effectiveness.
  • Measuring advertising campaign effectiveness is not a perfect science. However, to best measure effectiveness, I recommend the following:
    • Monitoring the performance of the ads using the Google Adwords tools available in your account
    • Adding a feedback mechanism to your online application asking where the applicant last saw or heard about MSUFCU and how they arrived at the site.
    • Training your mortgage processors, the ones that develop relationships directly with the clients, to solicit feedback from applicants about their decision-making process and any prompts (advertising, family & friends) that encouraged them to apply through MSUFCU.
Brief respectfully submitted by: Nicole Finkbeiner

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