December is usually quite a fallow month for the finance industry. This is of course the busiest time of the year for retailers, and a time of excess for consumers during the hugely indulgent festive season. With presents to buy, family gatherings to plan and vast quantities of food to devour, its little wonder that the consumer mindset drifts from the mundane practicalities of credit cards, insurance and pensions but instead, to more exciting things to search for.
However, come January finance is very much back on the agenda. With 9% more finance queries being made in the UK in January compared to the monthly average. You can see from the chart below there are particular peaks in interest for the insurance, loans and tax verticals, with investments seeing a huge seasonal growth in March and April.
Not only does January signal the beginning of a new seasonal peak for finance, research from Lightspeed GMI & Mintel shows that consumers are increasingly optimistic about their finances for the future. According to the research, there is a 2% increase in the proportion of people who are confident with their finances, whilst fewer people are worried about what the future holds.
With consumer confidence on the rise, increased optimism for the future and the seasonal peaks just around the corner, now is the best time to be planning ahead for the influx of search volumes come the start of 2016.
Extensions, Timings and Ad Copy
So what can you be doing now to plan ahead and prepare for the New Year in your Bing Ads account? I’ve focussed on three simple optimisations you can adjust in all of your campaigns to make them more effective in 2016: Extensions, timings and ad copy.
One of the best ways to make your ads bigger, clearer and more useful for your customers is through the power of extensions. With the growing number of ad extensions released on Bing ads, including the latest App Extensions, we have even more planned for 2016!
However, what is interesting to see from the above chart is that if you use multiple extensions at once, you can get an increased average CTR for your ads than if you were to only use one. For example, just using location extensions on their own yields an average CTR of 2%, whilst adding sitelinks into that ad can boost the average CTR to 9% - a 4X increase. If you use location extensions, call extensions and sitelinks together that goes up to 12% CTR!
Now clearly not every business will be able to use every extension. An online-only finance site like Moneysupermarket.com for example will have no use for location extensions as it has no stores to direct people to. However, by maximising the number of extensions you can use across all your campaigns, the more your CTR is going to increase. This is especially true on mobile devices where the limited screen size will push competitors further down the SERP and increase your chances of receiving a click.
Getting your ad in front of the right people at the right time is crucial, and using Bing Ads you can now optimise your campaigns at hyper granular 15 minute intervals.
Even without going that deep on timings, at the very least you want to optimise your campaigns by days of the week. I’ve chosen Automotive Insurance as an example here, using data from our Bing Ads Insights team which shows that the biggest volume of searches in this vertical typically comes on a Monday.
Search volume then declines throughout the week with significantly lower numbers of queries over the weekend. Understanding the weekly demand of your industry and therefore when is the best time to remove caps on your daily budgets, or bid boost on key terms is essential.
Sticking with the Auto Insurance vertical we’ve seen new emerging trends of keywords that perform well in terms of attracting high CTRs but are not often used and are therefore good opportunities to differentiate your ad copy from the competition. Whether it’s to endorse your brand with keywords like “voted best” or to highlight a USP like “instant cover” or “cashback” there are always new ways to write your ads more effectively. The word cloud below highlights some of the best performing but underused keywords in the auto insurance vertical. Try testing out different ad copy tactics to see which one performs best for your campaign.
The Bing Benefit
All of these recommendations could just as easily be applied to your Google AdWords account as well as to Bing Ads, but it is always worth remembering the additional benefit of advertising on Bing. Our audience is more suited to the finance industry with a slightly older demographic who are also more affluent than the average Google searcher.
The latest Marin data shows that Bing Ads continues to be exceptional value for money, offering CPCs that are 11% cheaper than Google, and whilst our CTR is not as high, the gap between Google and Bing is closing.
Happy new year!
I’ve shown you just a snapshot of some of the insights that our wonderful Insights team has gleaned from the Bing Ads data. If you optimise your campaigns now by adopting as many ad extensions as possible across all campaigns, prioritising key days of the week and adjusting your ad copy to make the most of new keyword opportunities then you are all set for an incredible start to 2016.
If you want more data from the insights team, please contact your account manager and they will be only too happy to share that with you.
Enjoy the festivities ahead and we look forward to a sparkling 2016.
For more financial insights for the New Year have a look here.