Mortgage Advertising in UK Paid Search

Britain may be in the midst of a housing crisis but paid search advertising for mortgages in the UK is going strong according to new research by AdGooroo.

We recently examined desktop text ad activity on the top 100 non-branded mortgage-related keywords by paid search ad spend from January through February 2017, including ‘mortgage calculator’, ‘buy to let mortgage’, ‘mortgage comparison’ and ‘mortgage broker’. During this time we found 708 advertisers spent £2 million sponsoring the 100 mortgage keywords at an average cost per click of £1.84. Of the total amount spent, the top 20 advertisers accounted for nearly £1 million or half of all ad spend, revealing intense paid search competition in the mortgage category in the UK.

Top Spenders

According to AdGooroo data, comparison site led the field with £97,000 in spend on the keyword group in January and February, followed closely by the UK Post Office (, which offers mortgages via the Bank of Ireland UK and spent £92,000 on the mortgage keywords during the period. (£80,000), which provides financial advice for people over 55, and comparison site (£68,000) ranked third and fourth, respectively, while Halifax, a part of the Lloyd’s-owned Bank of Scotland, rounded out the top 5 with £67,000 in spend.

Other banks/direct lenders in the top 20 ranking include (£62,000), (£55,000), (£40,000), (£38,000), (£37,000) and (£36,000).

The Most Clicked Advertisers & Most Efficient Campaigns

Although MoneySupermarket spent the most on paid search advertising to sponsor the mortgage keyword group, the company did not receive the most consumer clicks on its ads during the period. That distinction went to Halifax, which generated nearly 151,000 clicks on the keyword group from January through February—over 23,000 more clicks than MoneySupermarket even though it spent £30,000 less than MoneySupermarket, which ranked second with more than 127,000 clicks.

The main reason for the difference in spend between the two advertisers’ respective campaigns appears to be how much each paid per click on their ads. On average, Halifax paid £0.44 per click during the period—the least among the top 20 advertisers—while MoneySupermarket averaged £0.76 per click.

The reason why Halifax paid less per click than MoneySupermarket is less certain, but one factor that can influence cost per click is a campaign’s current and historic clickthrough rate, which in turn can be influenced by multiple factors, including ad creative, relevance and brand recognition. Halifax, a well-known bank brand and direct lender, generated a 9.1% average clickthrough rate on the keyword group during the period compared to Money Supermarket’s 6.1% average CTR.

HSBC, another household name bank, ranked third in clicks but had the most efficient campaign of any of the top 20 advertisers. The bank generated 120,000 consumer clicks on £55,000 in ad spend in the first two months of the year, at an average cost per click of £0.46 and an average clickthrough rate of 11.8%, which was not only the highest CTR among the top 20 advertisers but also the highest CTR of all 708 advertisers competing on the keyword group in January and February.

Two other direct lenders, Lloyd’s and the Post Office, were the next most clicked advertisers, generating 71,000 and 60,000 clicks on the keyword group, respectively. However, both fared less well in overall campaign efficiency than HSBC or Halifax. Lloyd’s had an average cost per click of £0.88 and an average clickthrough rate of 6.3%, while the Post Office paid an average of £1.53 per click and generated a 5.9% average clickthrough rate.


Note: The results of this report are based on a measurement of text ad clicks on the top 100 non-branded mortgage keywords on desktop from January through February 2017. Advertisers may be sponsoring additional keywords during this period that, if measured, would alter the findings of this report.