How much are big banks spending on ads in the post-Royal Commission era?

Commbank, ANZ, NAB and Westpac each spent $1-10 million on Google Ads since the closure of the Australian banking industry’s largest ever government incursion, a study from SEMrush estimates.

Measuring web traffic, organic search, advertising trends, social media activities and the overall site health of 10 of Australia’s largest banks, the new study from US-based market analytics software firm SEMrush reveals an enormous disparity in finance search ad spend.

Based on web analysis, SEMrush estimates that ANZ, CommBank, NAB, Suncorp and Westpac spent somewhere in the region of $1-10 million on Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) between April and October of this year. In the same period, Macquarie Bank, AMP and Bendigo Bank spent between $100,000 and $1 million, while Bank of Queensland and Bankwest spent between under $100,000.

Top 10 banks ad spend

According to SEMrush, the top trigger word used by banks in search ads was ‘Apply Online’.

Head of global marketing at SEMrush, Olga Andrienko, says this level of expenditure on Google Ads is a reflection of the banks’ overall marketing activity and brand strategy.

“Realistically, some banks can afford to spend more money on ads compared to others,” explains Andrienko. “For consumers, [Google Ads] spending could mean there are more choices and opportunity to look at what other banks and smaller finance players are offering.

“From the banks’ perspectives, this can potentially help them target new customers or other avenues to try to help them rebuild the public’s trust in their business and brand. The current environment of how the big four banks are portrayed in the media is a great opportunity for the smaller banking brands to look to increase their market share.”

SEMrush says the top search engine results pages (SERP) were:

  1. Reviews
  2. Featured snippets
  3. Site links
  4. Videos

The study also reveals that almost half of website traffic between April and September this year for the big banks was derived directly (47%). Referrals (traffic from other websites) accounted for 32% and search traffic 19%.

The majority (72%) of traffic to banking websites came from mobile devices (25% iPhone and 22% Android), while 40% came from tablets (23% Android and 17% iPad) and only 13% from desktop computers.

Facebook was overwhelmingly the most viable social source for banks, according to SEMrush, with 73% of social media traffic flowing through Facebook. Instagram follows far behind, delivering 10% of social media traffic and Twitter with 6%.

Further reading

Image credit: Karl Dyer

Josh Loh
BY Josh Loh ON 4 December 2019
Josh Loh is assistant editor at MarketingMag.com.au