Without audience targeting are Google Ads Dead? Think again…
Early this month Google announced new restrictions for targeting specific audiences. The restrictions apply to content related to housing, employment, credit, and those who are disproportionately affected by societal biases. The news of these restrictions created quite a stir among industry brokers and lenders who heavily rely upon targeted Google ad campaigns. All which may have you asking if these changes will kill future reverse mortgage advertising on the world’s most popular search engine. In just a moment we’ll hear from our online SEO expert Josh Johnson to find out.
Google’s restrictions are not necessarily novel nor unexpected. It was just over two years ago Facebook faced scrutiny from federal regulators for allowing those offering credit or housing finance to restrict ad audiences by race or religion among other questionable metrics that would violate HUD’s fair housing rules. An investigation by ProPublica broke this news in October 2016. It was nearly two years later in August 2018 that HUD filed a formal complaint against the social media giant for discriminatory advertising practices. Seven months after HUD’s complaint Facebook announced sweeping changes. Both Facebook and later Google, took a blunt approach much to the chagrin of lenders and service providers.
What ad filters are going away? In its official release Google revealed, “credit products or services can no longer be targeted to audiences based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP code.”
Is this the end of Google ads for reverse mortgages? To answer that question I reached out to Josh Johnson who heads up Reverse Focus’ Online Dominance SEO program and Google marketing. Here’s his explanation.
Here’s what makes Google unique from other platforms and why reverse mortgage Google ads will continue to reach the intended audience.
To summarize, older homeowners are intentionally seeking out reverse mortgage information on Google which means, yes-your ads will be seen by your target audience, even though you can no longer target specific age groups.
CFPB foreclosure prevention rule would allow 40-year mortgage terms!
Last week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed a new rule for homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgages. It would create a ‘temporary Covid-19 emergency pre-foreclosure review period”. The word temporary has been stretched as forbearance and foreclosure deadlines have been repeatedly extended. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing but we should ask what are the possible unintended consequences?
One consequence could be what is in effect the indentured servitude of millions of mortgage holders. Case and point, the CFPB’s proposed streamlined process of loan modifications could allow a mortgage term as long as 40 years. The question is are millions who refinance into a 40-year loan or extending their mortgage term entering into a modern form of indentured servitude?
The history of indentured servitude in America began in the early 1600s as the need for cheap labor grew with the expansion of the colonies. Servants would voluntarily enter into a contract of labor without pay for a period of four to seven years in exchange for passage, room, and board in the new world. Some contracts granted a 25-acre lot of land and provisions at the end of the term. Either way, it was an agreement that exchanged one’s future for present needs.
The Covid-19 pandemic is poised to fundamentally change how housing is obtained and financed in the United States. What impacts could we see as a result? One is more senior households continuing mortgage payments throughout their retirement, in some cases until death. While mortgages have helped millions to achieve the American dream, the consequences to the future economic security of countless older homeowners warrant consideration. In effect, they could be saddled with payments for the remainder of their life.
Let’s say an older couple is seriously delinquent on their mortgage they’ve held for over 25 years. Would a loan modification into a 30 or 40-year mortgage improve their financial security? It may not considering the financial hardships that pushed them into delinquency in the first place. What if instead, the federal government added the option of streamlined financing into a federally-insured reverse mortgage for those 62 and older? This would give seniors the option of eliminating required principal and interest payments or making at-will payments in any amount they choose.
It’s easy to forget that many older homeowners are near retirement and job earnings are or were their major source of income. A Congressional Research Service report issued last November points out the pandemic unemployment rate of those 65 and older remained higher than other age groups. Not surprising as the report reveals over 60% of households with a median age of 73 hold some form of debt- primarily in mortgages, auto loans, or credit cards. Consequently, these homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgage have a handful of choices: sell the home, face foreclosure, get a loan modification into a 15, 30 or 40-year loan, or refinance into a HECM. Some have said the reverse mortgage is the ultimate mortgage forbearance plan. It certainly may be. The challenge is how to reach those weighing the best option to exit forbearance.