Personal Credit Cards, loans and Mortgage PPC trends for 2019: What to do to stay ahead

Advertisers in the mortgage market will see CPCs soar this year amid greater competition with Google’s data showing an increase of 20.19% YoY, while in both the personal loans and personal credit card markets CPCs are set to fall.

Mobile is set to take further search share from desktop devices, this is most significant in the credit card market where Google Trends Reports show that mobile search queries increased by 38.42%.

When creating your media plans for 2019 you should take into consideration organic growth in search queries and clicks that needs to be reflected within your budget for the year.

Across personal credit cards, loans and mortgages search queries are set to grow by between 4 and 16% depending on the product.

There is significant seasonality in both the mortgage and personal loan markets, but less in the personal credit card market.

We would therefore suggest splitting budget allocation by credit product and then using the suggested quarterly budget splits we have provided in the sections below.

CPCs are set to decline YoY for credit cards and personal loans but rise sharply for mortgages

In a rush? here is a quick summary:

  • CPCs increased 20.19% YoY for Mortgages
  • CPCs Decreased by 6.01% YoY for personal loans
  • CPCs Decreased by 8.11% YoY for credit cards

Looking at auction data for Q1 2019 vs Q1 2018 across all devices CPCs have risen by 20.19% in the mortgage market.

Source: Google Mortgages Vertical Trend Report

Advertisers who are marketing credit cards and personal loans, however, will see a decrease in CPCs YoY.

In the personal loans market, Google’s data has shown that CPCs have fallen 6.01% comparing Q1 2018 to Q1 2019.

There is a similar pattern in the personal credit card market where CPCs have fallen by 8.11% Comparing Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, so advertisers should see CPAs falling YoY.

In terms of combating high CPC and CPAs we would suggest the following:

  • Focus on lifetime value through cross-selling different financial products. This strategy works by instead of decreasing CPC it increases the amount you can effectively pay. We work with finance providers that on average lend to somebody twice per year on average. Here as they are funded like most Fintech companies they can afford two spend twice the amount to acquire customers allowing them to bid more aggressively and grow as well as being able to absorb slightly higher CPCs. Cross-selling financial products also works well, we often see credit card providers that also provide business loans sell a credit card first and then a loan or overdraft after increasing lifetime value and allowing them to compete more aggressively on high volume competitive terms such as business loans.
  • Focus on improving Quality Score through improving relevance.Quality score directly affects CPC. In fact this study by Wordstreamshowed that increasing quality score from 5 to 7 on average would decrease your cost per click by 28.60%. Increasing quality score is quite an in-depth topic and we’ve discussed it fairly comprehensive in “how to increase quality score from 5.56 to 7.95 in 90 days”. If you’re not already tracking your Quality Score on a day to day basis then I would suggest implementing this Adwords Script, which is a tool that will do it for your automatically.
  • Consider allocating more budget to Bing. According to data from Wordstream clicks on Bing are 33.5% cheaper than clicks on Google. Although Bing’s market share is sub 10% in the UK it does still drive a reasonable amount of volume in the finance sector so we would suggest provided that CPAs are lower (which they almost always are) allocating as much budget to Bing first as it will take and then allocating the left over to Google.
  • Take a multichannel approach to your paid search activity. One of the key factors that affects Quality Score is click through rate, which is heavily affected by brand recognition. A strong cross channel branding campaign ran through, paid social, programmatic, print, TV and out of home will increase brand awareness, Google CTRs and reduce your CPCs. When making decisions on your budget allocation it’s therefore key to look at cross channel attribution and determine the impact of spend on branding on paid search performance. You should however look at branded traffic and non-branded traffic in isolation. Branded traffic will of course increase with branding activity, however what is of real interest in the effect on CTR, CVR and CPA of non branded activity.

Mobile will take even more share of searchers

In a rush? here is a quick summary:

  • Mobile searchers grew 18,78% YoY for mortgages
  • Mobile searchers grew 17.37% YoY for personal loans
  • Mobile searchers grew 38.42% YoY for credit cards

Google announced that in may 2015 that mobile searchers had overtaken desktop searchers and the percentage of searchers that are mobile is now increasing year on year in the finance sector.

In the mortgage market computer searchers fell by 8.29% while mobile searches grew considerably by 18.78%.

In the personal loans market computer search queries declined by 2.81% while mobile search queries increased by 17.37%.

The most drastic changes can be seen within the personal credit card markets where computer search volume decreased by 2.01% while mobile search queries grew by 38.42%.

Source: Google Mortgages Vertical Trend Report

Here are some suggestions for being more mobile centric with your paid search activity:

  • Build your UX around mobile as opposed to desktop first. Building your UX around mobile first as opposed to building a desktop site and then adapting it to mobile is a great step towards being mobile focused. It’s also key to make sure that your landing pages load really quickly as internet connection on mobile devices will not always be as quick as you would expect on desktop device. Data from the huffington post found that 57% of people will leave a mobile website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
  • Have a different bidding strategy for mobile compared to desktop.If you’re not using an automated bidding type like tCPA or tROAS then you need to consider how you’re going to bid differently for mobile compared to desktop as the performance will vary significantly. We would at the very least suggest using mobile bid modifiers, which you can calculate automatically with this script. You an also blend mobile bidding into bidding based on time of the day as different devices perform differently at different times of the day. We would suggest using this 24 hour bidding script to automatically change bids hourly based on your desktop and mobile performance.
  • Have mobile preference creatives but don’t segment ads by device. Siloing where you would create mobile-only campaigns by excluding desktop and tablet is generally not the best strategy when creating mobile-specific creatives as it will just mean your data gets spread between 3 campaigns meaning you can’t test as quickly and making your account bloated and unwieldy. We would hower suggest creating mobile preference ad copy where you may want to change your call to action to “call now” if you want to drive phone applications for example. Furthermore, you should look to create shorter ad extensions. Sitelinks on mobile should be kept under 15 characters to allow several to be shown. This has been shown to increase CTR by 15%.
  • Consider how people use voice search to search on mobile devices.2018 seemed to be the year of voice search with people projecting that 50% of all search volume being done by voice by 2020. How will this affect the finance sector? We would expect search queries to get longer and as a result advertisers will have to expand out keyword lists to improve relevancy and write more relevant ads. However, looking at the early signs of how people are using voice search it seems fairly conclusive that most voice activated devices are used to search for information as opposed to products. We would therefore expect voice search not to have a large effect on commercial searchers in the short or mid term future unless the way the technology is used fundamentally changes.

Forecast for 4-16% organic growth in searchers YoY

In a rush? here is a quick summary:

  • Mortgages searchers grew 3.89% YoY
  • Personal loans searchers grew 9.64% YoY
  • Credit card searchers grew 16.36% YoY

Across all three credit products there is likely to be organic growth that should be factored into your projections and media plan.

Source: Google Mortgages Vertical Trend Report

Over 2018 there was a 3.89% increase in search queries within the mortgage market which we would expect to see continue into 2019.

There was also growth in the personal loan market. Figures from Google show that searchers increased 9.64% YoY looking at data from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019.

In the personal credit card market there was significant growth with search queries growing by 16.36% YoY.

Media Planning: Budget around seasonality based on credit product.

There are clear seasonal trends when looking at search volume month on month when looking at Google’s Vertical trends reports for Personal loans, credit cards and mortgages.

Mortgage media budget trends

When looking at data for click volume for the last 12 months it peaks in January post christmas and then drops before picking up again in April.

It then falls during the summer months when people are away and then drops away again in November and December on the lead up to Christmas.

We would suggest that you split your budget so you allocate around 30% for the first quarter. 30% for the second quarter, 20% for Q3 and 20% for Q4 to account for seasonality.

Source: Google Mortgages Vertical Trend Report

Personal loans media budget trends

When looking at data for click volume for the last 12 months click volume and therefore budget will peak in October and April

There is a significant drop off in the first quarter post christmas where users are likely to be tightening the purse string after christmas. There is also a significant drop off in December where click volume and media spend will decline.

We would suggest that you split your budget so you allocate around 20% for the first quarter. 25% for the second quarter, 25% for Q3 and 30% for Q4 to account for seasonality.

Source: Google Personal loans Vertical Trend Report

Credit card media budget trends

When looking at data for click volume for the last 12 months there is less seasonality in the credit card market than there is in the personal loan or mortgage markets.

There is an increase in credit card searchers just after christmas as people look to borrow after an expensive christmas season and a decrease in searchers just before the Christmas season in December due to people being paid earlier.

We would suggest that you split your budget so you allocate around 30% for the first quarter. 25% for the second quarter, 25% for Q3 and 20% for Q4 to account for seasonality.

Source: Google Personal Credit Cards Vertical Trend Report


CPCs for advertisers in the mortgage market will soar by 20.19% YoY, while in both the personal loans and personal credit card markets CPCs are set to fall by 6.01% and 8.11% respectively

Mobile is set to further dominate search in the three different markets with search queries rising on mobile devices and falling on desktop which should further signal to brands that they should move towards a mobile first approach.

Looking at data for Q1 2019 vs Q1 2018 there has been significant growth in search queries and clicks which will need to be taken into account in your 2019 media budgets.

In terms of media planning it makes sense to stagger budget based on market trends for each credit product. We have made some suggestions on how you might do this in the breakdown of each product above.

wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Econsultancy, Campaign Magazine and Search Engine Land. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *