Banking Marketing Marketing Insights

Using Data to Implement Effective Marketing Strategies for Your Bank


Data is the currency of the internet and it should certainly be used to guide marketing strategies for banks and financial institutions, especially following an unpredictable year. We all know what happened to the marketplace during the onset of a pandemic in 2020. But one thing that is interesting is the underlining of the data on home buyer trends, which can be useful as banks target audiences who are looking into their home loan options.. 

I ran the following Google Trends report to find home buyer data that showed when consumers were searching for their home loan needs. This graph is from the past five years: March 13, 2016 to March 13, 2021.

It is easy to see when the marketplace and the world turned upside down. 

Using Home Buyer Data from 2020 to Inform Bank Marketing Strategies

At MHP/Team SI, we know it is always important to look at the data and not just the graphs to inform a bank’s marketing strategy. Even though I have Google Trends set to look at “Mortgage Loan” as a topic in the Finance category of Google Search, you will still see March 2020 was not a time people wanted to purchase a home. Sure, it showed intent on the radars, such as Google and other DSPs (demand-side platforms), which capture a lot of data for marketers to be able to use to target interested/in-market consumers. However, in March 2020 and the months after it, the real estate market PAUSED. Home buyer data showed that nothing moved. I had a lot of friends in the industry whose phones went silent. So, why the sudden increase in interest? 

The Top 10 search terms for Mortgages during March 2020:

mortgage deferment
mortgage relief coronavirus
should i refinance my mortgage now
0 interest mortgage
Wells Fargo mortgage deferment
Chase mortgage deferment
onpoint mortgage rates
mortgage forbearance
uwcu mortgage rates
Italy mortgages

According to the data on home buyer trends, there was very little searching to do with intent during this time but yet people were still trying to find answers during the crisis. 

Here are the Top 10 search terms for Refinance during March 2020:

should I refinance now
should I refinance my mortgage now
mortgage relief refinance program of 2020
how to refinance your home
can I refinance my home
refinance interest rates today
current 15-year refinance rates
BOA refinance rates
when to refinance mortgage
refinance rates today

Same with refinance. People were trying to find answers. We did see an uptick for banks in the number of refinancing applications across the country during March and April but not what I would have expected by just looking at the raw data on home buyer trends. In January 2020, mortgage rates were averaging around 3.7%. Then COVID-19 hit the United States. The Federal Reserve dropped the federal funds rate to between 0 – 0.25%. This caused other short-term and long-term rates to drop.

This move was made to encourage borrowing on home loans, as well as other loans. It also led to a large increase in refinance and mortgage applications. 

2020 Home Buyer Trends Analysis

By the time we moved into July 2020, search terms were up almost 100-130% over prior years due to interest rates and other psychological factors that occur when you can not leave your home due to a pandemic. It created an atmosphere of “what if” with interests in refinancing, HELOC and purchasing a new home. The same real estate agents who I mentioned earlier all of the sudden went from 0 calls to 100 calls a day. 

When you look at just the graph on home buyer trends, you can see that the search volume has not returned to the average from the past years. It is staying pretty consistent all the way into March 2021.

This is the great time for banks to capture those individuals who are looking for a new loan. But your bank has to be advertising to capture these users. They are no longer loyal to the bank they have been with for years, which is why the search terms are generic and not brand specific. What the consumers are thinking about is, “What’s in it for me?” 

For example, in late 2020 when typically things start to slow down, data shows the following search terms at a 75-100% increase over prior years:

Mortgage Keywords

mortgage calculator
mortgage rates
mortgage loan
home loan
mortgage payment
refinance mortgage
home mortgage
mortgage rate
home loans
refinance mortgage rates
mortgage loans
mortgage rates today
current mortgage rates
mortgage interest rates
mortgage payment calculator
mortgage insurance
mortgage loan calculator
reverse mortgage

Marketing strategies for banks and financial institutions that were focused on their services and how they could help consumers were the ones that came out ahead. Here are a few examples of the attribution from a generic search term turned into the following brand specific keywords across the country:

the conners mortgage giveaway
mortgage underwriter jobs
dovenmuehle mortgage login
the mortgage firm
reverse mortgage pros and cons
mortgage broker salary
21st mortgage login
bbt mortgage login
what is a good mortgage interest rate
reverse mortgage explained
aag reverse mortgage
freedom mortgage login
mortgage calculator with extra payments
mortgage lender near me
nationstar mortgage
united wholesale mortgage login
wyndham capital mortgage
homebridge mortgage
shellpoint mortgage login
mortgage educators

Some users saw how “hot the market” was and wanted to become a mortgage broker. I personally sold two properties and purchased a new home in Tampa, Florida, during this same time period. My mortgage broker was someone who was marketing inside the customer journey. I filled out four applications and decided to go with Movement Mortgage because of their customer service as everyone had the same rates. 

The phrase “customer service” plays a big part in what you do at banks and financial institutions and attracts consumers to become your clients. Bank marketing strategies aren’t always just about using the most eye-catching photos and the best targeting ability within your advertising. To truly have a successful marketing strategy for banks and financial institutions, the campaign has to have a combination of all of these factors at once.

This is just one example of how MHP/Team utilizes the data of the internet to provide targeted marketing solutions without wasting your dollars on terms not related to your customer’s journey. To see more, download our exclusive financial marketing data booklet which provides you clear answers about how we target in-market consumers.


Whitney Burgess