COVID-19 caused a stir for most business, but not in the least for the finance sector and especially in the commercial property market.
Pure Property Finance quickly witnessed the once broad range of lenders and loans available, disappear. All of a sudden, there was a limited supply of finance options which would hinder applications, upset clients, and consequently impact the value of traffic that we were delivering through our ongoing PPC strategy.
It was clear we had to change tact and get Google Ads to work in a whole new way.
The main objective was to generate over 50% of the previous Marketing Qualified Leads during the lockdowns, using less than 25% of the previous budget. This meant it was time to get creative. And that creativity needed to cover a lot more than just audience targeting and ad copy, but also in how we accessed and used their internal business data.
We had to quickly identify the people that were actually still in the market and only bid on them, avoiding spending a penny on anyone that could no longer be served. This wasn’t easy, as lending criteria changed by the day and many of the people searching within the market had no idea things had changed this much.
We have never had to navigate such a turbulent market, but by using real-time business data from Pure and their lenders, we were able to get a true reflection of the market to make informed changes to our bidding strategy.
The goal was to only show adverts to people that were searching for products available at that moment and, as lender appetite, criteria and rates were changing by the day, we put in place a system that took the pain away from managing this. These huge changes were fast paced so we needed to work in a different way to how things happened pre-pandemic.
Therefore, a dashboard was created that shared what we were advertising at that moment so the client could advise us if certain products were no longer available, if rates had changed, or if lenders had come back to the market. This sped up communications and made time allocation more efficient, which is vital when working to a much smaller budget.
As conversions were more vital than ever before, we also put in place a CRO project that focussed on key landing pages and tested out alternative messaging, page layouts and different enquiry forms.
Instead of the usual ‘always on’ searches, we only showed ads when we were certain that PPF could source that particular finance. To do this, we restructured the account, campaigns and ad groups within it to make it easier to quickly turn product types on/off during this period of constant change.
Advert copy was changed to reflect this, bids were adjusted depending on how valuable visitors were on any given day and we would negative any keywords for loan types, sizes or locations that were no longer available or attractive to lenders.
To reach the target clients during the turmoil of the pandemic we improved or added additional targeting, all aimed at maximising budget. This included a mixture of audiences:
- In-Market, for those showing signs of being ready to apply for property finance
- Custom Affinity, for those who exhibited long-term signs of being property professionals
- Custom Intent, for those looking at the websites belonging to lenders, auction houses or direct rivals
- Display Remarketing and RLSA, for previous visitors that needed alerting when lenders came back to the market
We also implemented tight location targeting. As lenders stopped funding properties and projects in certain regions of the UK, we closed off ads in those areas until funding resumed.
These new approaches to targeting and bidding meant that we were able to make the lower budget go much further, make the adverts much more relevant and only attract customers actually able to take out finance at that time.
Cost per conversion