Quicken Loans Dominates Mortgage Ads on TV, LendingTree Tops Paid Search
In the midst of home buying season, Kantar Media examined advertising by mortgage lenders on television and online paid search from March 1 through May 21 this year.
In television, we found one advertiser dominating the airwaves. Named the largest retail home mortgage lender in the U.S. earlier this year, Quicken Loans spent $57.3 million on network, cable, syndicated and spot TV ads—accounting for nearly 70% of total spend across all 334 advertisers we found sponsoring home mortgage commercials during the period. To provide additional perspective on Quicken Loans’ dominance, its closest competitor during the period was Navy Federal Credit Union, which spent roughly 1/10th as much as Quicken Loans on TV ads, $5.9 million. AAG ($1.7 million), Ally Bank ($1.5 million) and Cashcall Mortgage ($1.3 million) rounded out the top five advertisers.
Interestingly, some of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders were largely absent from mortgage advertising on TV during the period studied, including US Bank, which we estimate spent around $90,000 on mortgage-related commercials, Wells Fargo (less than $20,000) and Bank of America ($0).
In terms of ad creative, Quicken Loans’ commercials were split between promoting its own mortgage services and those of its online Rocket Mortgage and One Reverse Mortgage sub-brands. While the Quicken Loans brand ads often focused on nuts-and-bolts offers promising to help consumers save money on their monthly mortgage payments, its Rocket Mortgage ads brought in star power to highlight its promise to get you approved for a loan in as few as 8 minutes, including a memorable tie-in with the new Avengers Infinity War film, humorous spots with comedian Keegan-Michael Key (which debuted during this year’s Super Bowl) and ads featuring Yogi and Boo Boo Bear.
Quicken Loans' Rocket Mortgage commercials feature star power
LendingTree and Quicken Loans Gain Almost Half of Paid Search Clicks
In paid search advertising, we assessed leadership in the mortgage category based on Google desktop text ad clicks on 116 non-branded mortgage-related keywords from March 1 through May 21, including ‘mortgage rates’, ‘mortgage calculator’, ‘mortgage’ and ‘first time home buyer’
While the paid search marketplace for mortgage advertising was less lopsided than in TV, it was nonetheless still dominated by two advertisers who accounted for more than 47% of all clicks on the keyword group we studied.
Although top TV advertiser Quicken Loans was also at the top of the category in paid search, it was not the leader. LendingTree earned that distinction by garnering 28.2% of all clicks on the mortgage keyword group during the period. Quicken Loans gained a very strong 19% click share, followed by Bank Rate (12.6% click share), and two review sites that are paid on a per lead basis by advertisers, ConsumersAdvocate.org (10.2% click share) and Top10MortgageLoans.com (6.4% click share).
Notably, Quicken Loans was the only advertiser that had a strong presence in both television and paid search advertising (although that was not true for its sub-brand Rocket Mortgage, whose RocketMortgage.com site gained just a 0.4% click share during the period). The other top television advertisers during the period were far less prominent in paid search. Navy Federal Credit Union and Ally, for instance, gained a respective 0.7% and 0.4% click share during the period, while we found almost no paid search activity for CashCall Mortgage during the period and none from AAG.
Looking once again at the advertising activity of US Bank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America—three of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders—we found they had more of a presence in paid search advertising than in television, though not by much in all cases. Of the three, Wells Fargo fared the best, gaining a 1.8% click share during the period, while US Bank produced a 0.5% click share and Bank of America a 0.1% click share.