Google’s financial services team has joined with to help advertisers identify ‘credit-worthy consumers’ online, allowing them to be targeted through its display and text ads network.

It was one of two projects aiming at working to help advertisers reach a better quality audience by combining Google search research with Compete data from TNS.

While this initial test has been run based on US FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) scores, it does have the potential to drive more value to those using the Google AdWords platform if it expands internationally.

The potential benefit for advertisers is that using the AdWords content network, a luxury advertiser can target high credit-worthy consumers. Also it is possible that mass-market advertisers can focus on low-income audience who are looking for better deals or a price driven.

The downside – the potentially dark side of this data – is that consumers with low-level credit scores can be directly targeted with ‘low doc’ and ‘interest free’ products and taken advantage of by marketers.

Interesting points that were discovered during this research about those with higher credit scores:

• Make up more than half of those looking for a credit card online
• Were not as credit hungry as many other segments
• 34% of them do five or more search queries
• Were significantly more likely to apply for a card, and
• Used non-branded terms such as travel rewards, low rate and balance transfer.

If you are looking to pre-qualify online those with good credit score use your ad copy like this:

• ‘Have good credit, apply for a card today’, and
• ‘Got good credit, apply for a card online’.

The second research project tried to understand what prompts a search for cheaper insurance in a recession and how price and reputation matter to consumers. Interestingly, the auto insurance mark continues to grow as vehicle sales fall – showing people are still shopping to get better rates.

The survey found that 65% ranked ‘low cost’ as the most important factor with only 14% of consumers rank reputation of brand as an important factor in auto insurance choice. No need to panic as brand reputation is still important but is relevant later in the decision process.

As discovered in the credit score survey, most applications search multiple times with 57% of auto insurance shoppers performing multiple queries. This multiple query behaviour shows the importance of having a consistent message and reach out to your audience at multiple touch points along the buying process.

The important focus in this sector has to be around the features and benefits accompanied by a strong ad message. When evaluating your search campaigns, all parties need to anticipate a longer conversion cycle.

It was also discovered that application rates increase with the number of search queries preformed, with shoppers using both brand and non-brand search terms – non-branded terms convert at twice the rate of branded terms.

While most of these new features may take some time to be rolled out across all accounts, the information in this article can be utilised on your existing campaigns.

Remember that the conversion process is taking longer and just focusing advertising on brand alone, with single touch points, will not be sufficient in growing your brand.