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.
Retirees seek shelter as inflation surges
After countless denials by the talking heads on TV and financial pundits, the specter of inflation is becoming increasingly preposterous to deny. Of course, a few will downplay the surging prices of consumer goods and commodities as merely a sign of transitory or temporary inflation- a line that’s become popular with the Federal Reserve.
The bottom line is that retirement generally entails living on a fixed income.
Now, this doesn’t mean a meager or inadequate income but that most American’s rely on income sources that do not significantly increase each year. Income sources such as 401(k)s, IRAs, Social Security, or pension payments. While Social Security does provide periodic Cost of Living Adjustments of COLA, the increases are rather modest. For example, benefit increases tied to the cost of living have not exceeded three percent since 2008. The highest adjustments in the last 40 years came during another period of runaway inflation- the late 1970s and early 80s. In 1979 Social Security recipients received a 9.9% adjustment, in 1980 a 14.3% bump, and 11.2% in 1981.
Then there are payments from retirement savings. Payouts from qualified retirement plans such as IRAs and 401(k)s are neither consistent nor guaranteed. Certainly one can draw a fixed amount each month but the underlying investments rarely earn a consistent rate of return. This sequence of returns risk can lead to retirees exhausting their savings sooner than anticipated.
One doesn’t have to look far to find the pressures on a fixed income and systematic retirement withdrawals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts food prices will rise 2-3% from 2020. That follows a 3.4% food price increase from 2019-2020. The USDA also reports a number of food manufacturers have issued warnings of further price increases. Then there’s the cost of gasoline and retail goods. All this leaves retirees with two choices- cut expenses or find new sources of cash flow.
Kate Dore writes in CNBC that one can ‘fight inflation with a reverse mortgage. “The consumer price index increased by 0.8% in April from March and surged 4.2% from the previous year, the biggest jump since September 2008. As retirees weigh options to preserve purchasing power, financial experts say adding a reverse mortgage to a retirement plan may offer inflation protection.” Don Graves, president of the Housing Wealth Institute said, “There are more and more people who are looking at this strategically.” Of course, any effective strategy to address inflation in retirement should be proactive. Graves added ““The old adage was to wait until you run out of money and then do a reverse mortgage. That’s absolutely not the way it’s being used right now.”
Many older homeowners who considered taking out a HELOC or home equity line of credit are now feeling the squeeze. Last spring in the early days of the pandemic we reported that J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo pulled their HELOCs citing market risks. In fact today, many banks have not resumed offering HELOCs reports Mansion Global. Columnist Robyn Friedman writes, “Industry experts expect the three major national banks to eventually begin offering HELOCs again, but the product will be rolled out carefully. “I would expect lenders to slowly start doing HELOCs, but only where they are already in the first-lien position,” said Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree. “Then, if somebody defaults, the risk of loss is pretty low.”
As the value of the dollar declines and supply-chain interruptions continue inflation of consumer goods will continue. The question is where else can one turn to buffer their monthly cash flow without having to service monthly debt payments? Outside of an inheritance or winning the lottery a reverse mortgage appears to be the only logical answer.