Banking Marketing

Marketing Mortgages to Millennials: The Online Mortgage Application Customer Journey for Bank Marketers

As the largest generation in the United States, millennials hold significant sway in the housing market. Born between 1981 and 1996, this age group currently spans from ages 26 to 41 representing a great portion of those who are establishing careers, starting families, or even getting divorced. As a result, millennials makeup 43% of homebuyers – whether it is their first home or a new home, they are beginning their search for mortgage loans online. More importantly, according to American Banker, 92% of millennials will choose their bank based on its digital services.

Millennials are the first truly digital generation, which means they interact with ads differently than their predecessors. Traditional marketing alone won’t cut it when 67% of millennials prefer online shopping and 61% of new mortgage borrowers use an online application to apply for a loan. Although not surprising, according to a recent survey conducted by GOBankingRates, nearly 30% of Americans ages 25-34 use online banks, a higher percentage than any other age group — and banking is shifting from a physical structure to a much more flexible virtual format.

Most millennials have cut the cord on cable and prefer easy, online options. They also spend significant time on social media and fantasy-scrolling through Zillow. Considering all these targeting data points available to reach millennial homebuyers, bank marketers can benefit by developing a data-based omnichannel approach for every stage of the marketing funnel.

Developing a Performance Marketing Strategy

As we’ve mentioned before, performance marketing is type of marketing strategy in which the budgeting and media tactics are driven primarily by the measurable results of that campaign. At MHP/Team SI, we focus on reaching the audience with an omnichannel, or TraDigital™ approach by combining traditional and digital media strategies for the best results. To target a millennial audience, for example, our bank marketing strategy team puts together campaign recommendations to show ads to millennials actively searching for a new home throughout the day where they live, work, and play — meaning, we work to reach the millennial audiences where they are already spending their time. Ads are reflective and relevant to the particular stage of the marketing funnel they are in, with the goal being to guide them through every stage of the mortgage loan buying customer journey — and, ultimately, to the advertisers’ desired action.

A “Day in the Life” of a Millennial Mortgage Shopper

explaining demographics, pain points, and search behavior for millennial homebuyers

To best demonstrate the omnichannel, cross-functioning customer journey of the millennial household searching for a mortgage loan provider, we’ve put together “A Day In the Life” example. 

First, let’s define our Mortgage Millennials personas. Mortgage Millennials Mark and Mona are both college educated, working professional jobs, with an average household income of $120,000. They love watching and supporting their college sports teams and someday want a family of their own. They are tired of renting and first-time homebuyers in the market, so they aren’t loyal to a particular bank and value being able to apply for a loan online. They’ve been doing a lot of fantasy scrolling on Zillow and researching how much money they need for a down payment and wanting to make sure they have the right credit score to get approved. Their media consumption is mostly social media (Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube), Spotify listeners, and cord cutters.

6 a.m. | Doppio® Display Ad

at 6 a.m. the customers receive a display ad for your company as they check news and the weather

Mark and Mona start their day checking for the latest updates and notifications on their phones. Mona listens to a meditation podcast in the morning, and Mark is scrolling through Twitter for the latest news while enjoying coffee. They both check the weather app in the morning to decide what to wear for the day.

The start of the day is a prime opportunity to place your brand name right in front of your audience through the use of targeted display ads about your bank’s mortgage loans rates. With the Fair Lending Act (FLA)-compliant data layers via Doppio®, we can target Mark and Mona at the household level on the apps they are already using to start the day like the news, weather, or other sites.

8 a.m. | Social Media Video

the millennial customers see an ad for your bank on instagram as they begin their work day

Mark and Mona commute to work and arrive by 8 am. Mona starts her workday with coffee and opens up Instagram before settling into the day. 

While scrolling through her Instagram feed, she sees a sponsored video from your bank offering tips about what documents you need to gather, educating about the home-buying process, and promoting your mortgage brokers.

9 a.m. | Visiting the Website

the video refers the millennial customers to your financial institution's website where they learn more about your company

Mona shares the video with Mark who sees it around 9 am. From the video, he clicks a link that transports them to your bank’s first-time homebuyer’s mortgage loan application on the website for more information. He lands on the page, scrolls a little bit, but does not apply for a loan yet because he has to get ready for a meeting. 

Providing interactive links to customer testimonials, explainer videos explain the process from your mortgage brokers, and downloadable budget planning kits are a great way to give first-time homebuyers the opportunity to take immediate action, build trust in your bank, and reduce the timeline from starting their search for a mortgage loan to choosing your bank.

It also allows your bank performance marketing strategy team at MHP/Team SI to retarget the mortgage millennials with new messaging, reminding them to come back and apply for a mortgage loan. Importantly, we can track this behavior and collect data on what they clicked on or actions they took on the landing page that is compliant with personal identifiable information restrictions.

12 p.m. | Retarget with Pre-Roll YouTube Ads

the millennial customers receive a retargeting ad after they visited your website, reinforcing your messaging

Around lunchtime, Mark gets on YouTube to watch videos about show spoilers for a hit must-see-TV show. Before the video starts, he sees a short video from your bank talking specifically about your successful experience with first-time homebuyers and promoting your local mortgage brokers, who are happy to help answer questions and committed to helping first-time homebuyers get approved for mortgage loans. Mark watches the quick video without skipping before his favorite spoilers start.

With pre-roll video ads on YouTube, we can target and retarget mortgage millennials who are in-market (actively searching for mortgage loans providers) or have already interacted with your bank’s website or ad previously by showing them a pre-roll ad on YouTube. This further solidifies your bank’s brand in their mind, reminding them of your capabilities and experience.

2 p.m. | PR, Local Events and Sponsorships

At 2 p.m., the millennials attend a local event that is sponsored by your company where they see messages about your brand and mortgage

In the early afternoon, Mona goes with her company to a professional event where your bank is listed and mentioned as a sponsor. She recalls the bank’s  first-time homebuyers video on social media and how great the educational information available was on the website. 

Traditional tactics like Public Relations and sponsorships are still critical in an omnichannel marketing strategy. Having your brand’s name featured as sponsors of local events can really help make your name a trusted one in the community.

7 p.m. | Connected TV (CTV)

At 7 p.m., the millennial customers see an ad for your bank on their connected TV streaming device

That evening, Mona and Mark are deciding what to watch on their Roku streaming device and notice an ad about your bank. 

As previously mentioned, millennials have mostly cut the cable cord, and joined the rush to CTV. In fact, a recent survey by Verizon found that  1 in 5 millennials have never subscribed to a cable or satellite television service with even more forecasted to cut the cord in the coming years so don’t miss the opportunity to market to them with connected tv. 

If you want to learn more about successful performance marketing campaigns with connected tv, check out our banking case study for credit cards. We layered on connected tv to a financial institution’s campaign and, in one month, increased conversion rates by 69% and decreased their cost-per-lead by 62%.

9 p.m. | Website Action

By the end of the day, your messaging has been reinforced and they're ready to begin an application.

While our millennial mortgage shoppers Mark and Mona are watching TV, Mona visits your bank website again and reviews your mortgage loan application. She realizes there’s no time like the present and begins filling out the online application with your bank.

The truth is, with an effective performance marketing strategy we can reach ideal individuals with your bank products with multiple messages, on multiple devices and screens based on where they are in their own customer journey. In this example, we wanted our millennials to revisit the website and commit to taking action by filling out a form to get in touch with a mortgage lender. By this point, they’ve seen your advertisements a handful of times, and should be feeling confident in their decision to choose your bank.

The Proof is in the Case Study

We strongly beat the averages in reaching millennials in a mortgage lending campaign we ran.

Ultimately, this omnichannel strategy has been proven to be highly effective for banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. We’ve successfully executed this performance marketing mortgage loans strategy for a bank and saw 50% savings in their cost-per-lead compared to the banking industry benchmarks, and a 13% conversion rate. This method also established performance benchmarks and a solid return-on-investment, allowing the brand to make informed decisions about future campaigns. 

The key to our success is being efficient with the audience targeting because we are reaching consumers who are in-market and actively searching for your bank’s products and services, effectively showing them the right message on multiple platforms using Doppio®, reaching all the screens connected to the household wifi, and measuring EVERYTHING reporting demonstrable return-on-investment for cost-per-application started on your bank’s website.

If you’d like to see similar results for your campaign, contact MHP/Team SI through the form below and get your performance marketing campaign started right away!


    Whitney Burgess