In 500 B.C. if you needed answers, you sought out Confucius. A hundred years later, you went to Plato. In the Renaissance of the 1400s, you asked Copernicus or Galileo. Today … we have Google!
At MarketMatch, we are firm believers in research and analysis. We are also deathly afraid of analysis-paralysis. You need to make smart decisions, but don’t let the research stop your forward momentum.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been asked by a few clients when the best time to promote certain products is. If it’s important to my clients, it must be important to YOU too. So let’s get to the bottom of it.
Since I don’t have access to Confucius, Plato or Galileo, I asked Google. Here’s what I learned.
Using Google Trends, I analyzed key word search terms over the last 36 months for:
- Checking Account
- Auto Loan
- Credit Card
- Certificate of Deposit
In 2016, there were 5.8 million homes sold, 7.1 million autos sold and 196.5 credit card users. So, it’s not too surprising that Credit Cards tops the search terms. But, why isn’t Auto higher than mortgage? In my opinion, many people research mortgages online, and too many people just get their loan in the dealer’s finance office.
Good news, my bank and CU friends! Over the last 36 months, checking search trends are increasing. Consumers today are more interested than they were three years ago.
Before this analysis, I always assumed that the span between Thanksgiving and Christmas was weak for checking. But, this chart shows some spikes in November. The only annual trend is that the week of Christmas is the worst week of the year for checking. There really is no “best” or “worst” time to push checking.
Here’s a thought. Looking at trends from this year only, there seem to be spikes at the beginning of months. My guess, its roughly around the time people get their statements. You might consider a 12-month checking push ONLY during the first 2 weeks of each month to grab people that are agree with their current institution.
Auto sales have decreased by about 800,000 units sine 2014. However, there seems to be a mild increase in search trending.
Up times are July – August, particularly in August when the new car models tend to start rolling off the line. Down time is November – December. The recovery from the winter doldrums typically starts in early January.
When you dig a little deeper, Auto Loan Calculators are important to consumers, with some form of calculator search being the top three “Related Queries,” beating our rates (#6)
We clearly just tread water in December. People simply aren’t interested in doing anything banking-related. But with Mortgages, that has more to do with the holidays than with the weather. There is an assumption that Spring is the time for new homes. However, according to our sage, Google, January is one of the hottest times of the year for mortgage searches. Plan your mortgage campaign in November and December when things are slow and be ready to go on New Year’s Day.
So far, this year, Utah, Maryland, Colorado, Delaware and Alabama are the top five states interested in mortgages.
There’s NEVER a bad time to promote credit cards. In fact, it should be an ongoing message. There are typically spikes in July, at the end of November and after New Year’s, but there really is no bad time.
People don’t seem to be doing too much general research, but rather looking for specific cards like: Credit One Credit Card, Capital One, Chase Credit Card as top “related queries.”
Certificate of Deposit
As with everything else, the end of December stinks! I’m not even sure why we open in December. There doesn’t seem to be any other annual trends to CDs. I would assume that interest follows rate changes.
Community Bank Vs. Credit Union Vs. Big Banks
This was too fun of an exercise to stop at just products. Since MarketMatch works with both community banks and credit unions, I wanted to see where google searches fell along those lines.
Do you wanna win a bar bet at a conference? Bet that “Credit Union” is a more highly searched term than “Community Bank.” Of course, community banks would dwarf credit unions in searches, right? After all, who knows what a credit union is?!?!
The Google search terms are driven by people typing the NAME of institutions: XYZ Federal Credit Union, First Community Bank, etc. But what a surprise that “Credit Union” came out so much higher!
Don’t get too cocky, CUs. Over the last three years, there is a downward trend in both the “Credit Union” and “Community Bank” searches.
Chase is holding steady. Bank of America and Wells Fargo are declining. Citi saw a sharp jump in the summer of 2016, but settled back down to their baseline.
So, there you have it … 36 months of Google search trends on everything that you, as a bank or credit union marketer, would want to know. Your homework now is to compare the search trends with your sales trends.
In addition to being a strategic consultant for community banks and credit unions, MarketMatch also has nationally and internationally requested speakers. Contact us to bring our marketing ideas to your institution or next conference.