Financial Marketing

5 Google Ad Errors to Avoid in Financial Services Marketing Campaigns

By September 1, 2020 No Comments

Most financial services firms in the UK have likely at least considered Google Ads for their marketing strategy. They can be a great way to increase brand reach and engagement.

Yet they’re also a common area where financial firms make mistakes – sometimes very costly ones. It’s a shame when we see financial marketing campaigns go to waste, so our team here at MarketingAdviser offers this short guide on how to avoid 5 common Google Ad mistakes in 2020.

We hope you find this content useful and invite you to get in touch to arrange a free, no-commitment consultation if you’d like to discuss your own campaign with a member of our team.


#1 Not checking regulations & trademarks

One of the alluring ideas of running a Google Ads campaign is to go after your competitor’s keywords. For instance, if your main rival is called Company FX and they have more Google traffic than you do, it might be tempting to run an ad targeting the keyword “company fx” with ad copy like the following:

“Forget Company FX – Try Us Instead”

This runs into multiple problems. First of all, if Company FX has trademarked their name then doing this will likely land you into big trouble. Best to avoid that! Yet it’s still surprising to us how many companies do this.

Secondly, even if there are no copyright of trademark issues at stake, this is still a risky strategy since your competitors are likely to see what you’re doing and possibly reciprocate. In which case, the likely result is that both of you end up driving up the cost of one another’s keywords. The only winner here, therefore, is Google – who takes all of the ad spend!


#2 Poor choice of “match type”

If you’ve ever run your own Google Ads campaign then you may have noticed some strange results when looking over your Search Terms report from the last 30 days. Here, you can see which search phrases in Google have resulted in your ads showing up and getting clicked on.

Many financial firms are likely to choose the default Match Type option for their keywords – Broad Match. This usually results in your ads showing up in places where you would not like or expect. For instance, if you target the keyword “financial adviser” as a Broad Match keyword in, say, Reading, then you may end up finding example searches such as the following triggering your ads:

“Why doesn’t my financial adviser communicate with me?”

“How much do financial advisers make?”

“Advice to help with financial statement”

Some of these might be more relevant than others. Yet the point is to try and minimise waste in your Google Ad campaigns. In other words, try to be as focused as possible with the keywords you go after. That might mean using a mixture of Exact Match and Phrase Match keywords, for instance.


#3 Single-ad groups

Sometimes we look under the hood of a Google Ad account for a financial firm and discover lots of ad groups, but only one ad within each one. This, unfortunately, is a recipe for campaign strangulation.

If you only have one ad in the group, then Google will only offer one version of your ad to a user when they type in their search phrase. If the ad is poorly-constructed and few people engage with it, how can you compare its performance against other ads you are running to try and make improvements?

Instead, consider running at least 3 different ads within each group. Make sure, moreover, that there are discernable differences between each one so that you can “split test” them properly. For instance, perhaps you might run three variations of the headline to see which of the three does best.


#4 Not separating campaign types

Another common mistake found amidst the Google Ad accounts of financial firms is mixing search and display campaigns together. In brief, a search campaign should serve up your text-based ads within Google’s search engine results for certain phrases typed in by the user. A display campaign, however, shows your graphical ads on other websites – such as a news publication or blog.

Quite often, Google Ads will suggest combining these two approaches into one campaign when you’re setting one up. The problem, however, is that this often results in either the search or the display campaign taking all of the budget. Usually, it’s the former (after all, the clicks are typically more expensive!).

Here at MarketingAdviser, we suggest splitting up your search and display campaigns. This makes it much easier to see how each type of ad is performing compared to the other, from a bird’s eye view.


#5 Incorrect keyword density

Google generally likes consistency. If, for instance, you are targeting the phrase “financial adviser Reading” in a particular ad group, then Google usually expects this phrase to appear in your ad in some form – as well as on your landing page.

Problems arise, however, when a financial firm either “stuffs in” too much of a keyword into a single ad. This creates an unnatural appearance and is likely to be flagged. Or, worst, perhaps it somehow gets approved and your users fail to engage with it properly (since they can tell it looks unusual).

The opposite extreme, however, can also cause problems for your campaign. Failing to mention the keyword in your ad is likely to increase your cost per click and reduce its exposure for the search phrase you hope to trigger it for. Be careful, then, to think strategically about your keyword density in your ads.