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.
The 50 ugliest housing markets & LIBOR letters
Here are the cities that are most at risk of a significant downturn in home values. GoBankingRates evaluated 500 U.S. cities to find those that have high rates of foreclosures and underwater mortgages where the home is worth less than the outstanding mortgage balance owed. Also considered are changes in median home prices, the number of homes listed for sale, and price cuts. Yahoo Finance lists the 50 cities whose housing markets are ‘turning ugly’ and are poised for a big correction. Topping the list is
Peoria Illinois with a two-year price change of negative 15.9% and 21% of mortgages underwater. Next is Lakewood, New Jersey with a 12.3% drop in home prices in two years and 9.4% of homes that are underwater. Coming in at number five is Baltimore Maryland where home prices have just begun to modestly drop by .6% but have the highest percentage of homes whose prices have been cut prior to sale. 26.5% of homes in Baltimore are now underwater. Miami Beach, Florida ranks as the sixth ugliest real estate market with home prices falling 5% in the last two years and just over 14% of homes underwater. Florida has the most number of cities where the real estate market could be in trouble holding 15 of the 50 most at-risk metros. According to FHA’s Annual Report for the fiscal year 2020, just over nine percent of HECM endorsements come from Florida. VIEW the full list of the 50 at-risk housing markets.
Besides the strange state of our nation’s housing market your HECM borrowers who hold an adjustable-rate loan may be receiving a strange letter. Reverse Mortgage Daily reports these borrowers are likely to receive a notice regarding the transition from the LIBOR index. Experts anticipate the change to the SOFR -or Secured Overnight Financing Rate- the index will have minimal impact on accrued interest charged each month. The key for each of our viewers is to get in front of this…now! A lack of communication is a sure way to create unnecessary alarm. Reach out to those who’ve recently closed an adjustable-rate HECM on or after the third of this month. That should be a manageable list to call. That call list may get quite long in the future when FHA issues an official policy for loans closed prior to May 3, 2021. That policy change date remains undetermined. When that day comes, it will be a good opportunity to check in with your past borrowers and also seek potential referrals.
So what are your thoughts on our approach to covering stories that while not reverse mortgage specific influence our industry? Opine or educate us in the comment section below.