Search Engine Marketing For Banks & Credit Unions

Harness the power of search engines to reach people actively seeking financial solutions.

What Is SEM?

Search engine marketing (SEM), or search advertising, is a pay per click advertising method whereby advertisers pay a fee for each click received from text ads placed in major search engine results pages. Google, Bing, and Yahoo still remain the top 3 search engines in the US based on usage. Advertisers can enter Google search results by way of Google AdWords, while Bing and Yahoo can be entered via Bing Ads.

Should Your Bank Run Ads In Google Or Bing/Yahoo?

Google is by far the most popular search volume, so your ads will likely receive many more clicks than they would within Bing. That being said, while Bing has lower search volumes it does also have less advertiser competition. You can expect to pay around 30% less per click when running search ads on Bing in comparison to Google search. Bing can also offer a slightly different demographic than Google; with nearly 40% of Bing users being in the 35 – 54 age range. The majority of Bing users will be using Internet Explorer, which is not typically the browser of choice for younger demographics.

How Much Will We Pay For Each Click?

The cost per click is determined by a number of different factors. Competition for the keyword you are targeting is a major part of the price paid for each click, but search engines also reward better performing advertisers and ads with lower click charges. The more relevant your ad and landing page are to your targeting the cheaper your ads will be. The specificity of your keyword targeting will also affect your click cost; targeting the keyword “bank loan” could cost you around $7 per each click, while targeting “business bank loan calculator” could cost $18. Financial services are extremely competitive which drives up the cost of many keyword combinations. Finding the right keywords that convert for your bank and properly attributing those clicks to new business is key to ensuring your PPC campaign generates a positive return on investment. Ultimately, so long as your PPC campaign is bringing in more revenue than it costs, the individual cost per click you pay for various keywords becomes irrelevant.

How Can We Make Sure Our Ads Don’t Go Over Budget?

Search engines are quite effective at spending ad dollars quickly. Without proper oversight, monthly ad budgets can be used up within days. An effective PPC agency with make sure your monthly budget is split evenly across the month, capped at a certain dollar value each day to ensure you stay on budget.

How Can Search Advertising Help Our Bank?

Google and Bing PPC search ads offer your bank a cost effective way to selectively target highly qualified people. With search engine advertising, you choose the search queries (or keywords) that ads show up for and only pay each time someone searching for that particular query clicks your ad. The keywords can be extremely specific (longtail) and also exclude searches that include keywords you’d rather not show ads for.


With search ads you also have control over the physical location your ads will be displayed right down to a zip code or mile radius around your branch locations. Ads can even offer users a click to call option for their nearest branch or click for directions so they can navigate with a mobile device.

Your bank or credit union can use search ads to make sure people looking for your bank by name actually make it to the right place on your website instead of a competitor’s website. Conversely, search ads can be used to target people looking for your competitors by name; an effective means of new client acquisition.

Other uses for Google and Bing ads include helping customers of a bank merger find their new bank, promotion of events at your locations, and increasing awareness of your mobile app to customers who may not have used it in a while. Click to install ads also offer users a chance to download your app straight from search results.

These targeting options and more are available to banks who want to pay search engines for each click in exchange for immediate visibility and laser targeted ad placements.

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