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 forces behind industry optimism, diversification, and economic uncertainty.
Despite political and social unrest and economic uncertainty reverse mortgage lenders are expressing optimism in both the program’s viability and growth. Additionally, some have announced to further diversify and grow their forward or traditional mortgage originations. In the next three minutes, we will examine the forces behind industry optimism, the possible motivations for increasing traditional lending, and the uncertainty that surrounds the U.S. economy this year.
One of our commenters on HECMWorld said this of industry optimism. “While 2021 may be the calendar year that ends the COVID-19 pandemic, this fiscal year is starting out to be a year of mixed messages, optimism in the face of humbling fact, and troubling issues facing our industry. No matter what one’s experience or knowledge maybe, in these times we need to be flexible and “improvise” whenever necessary.” (-The Positive Realist). A fitting comment considering the pseudonym used.
Our industry’s lenders have manifested their optimism in stepping up and effectuating significant changes in technology, sales processes, and modifying their sales and loan offerings to reach a larger pool of eligible borrowers- including those under the age of 60 or 62. Despite national stay-at-home directives and strict regional lock-downs HECM loan applications climbed significantly last year, up month-over-month in throughout the summer and fall. A testament to both growing financial uncertainty among senior homeowners and rapid adaptation to remote sales.
Today more reverse mortgage dominant lenders have embraced traditional or forward mortgage lending. Some of that can be attributed to their parent company’s established forward mortgage operations. Reflecting on the existing division of forward and reverse lending Liberty Reverse Mortgage president Mike Kent told Reverse Mortgage Daily, “We know what the opportunity is in the forward space, and one of our continued efforts in 2021 will be [finding ways to] tap into that,” Kent says. “You know, we have customers that are doing a 30-year fixed-rate [forward] loan, and they’re over 60 years old. And believe me, we have customers who do it that have LTVs that would qualify for a reverse mortgage.”
Launching a traditional lending division or expanding its footprint is not necessarily a new phenomenon. In early 2018 American Advisors Group announced the opening of a new traditional mortgage office with 70-80 loan officers in Sacramento, California.
Fairway Independent Mortgage, the sponsor of this show has a long-established and successful traditional lending operation, one that brings particular opportunities to place reverse mortgages on a more even playing field. “[I want to ensure that] reverses are given a fair audience and that they’re properly sold, and properly explained. That they’re used when they should be used, because there are a few too many forward mortgages that are done because people are just used to doing them”, says Harlan Accola- reverse mortgage director at Fairway Independent Mortgage. Accola added, “if somebody is a veteran, we certainly want to talk to them about a VA loan. If somebody is a first-time homebuyer, we want to talk to them about a first-time homebuyer program. So if somebody is over 62, why don’t we want to talk to them about a reverse mortgage option? Even if they don’t go with it, they should know about it.”
Our present and future economic uncertainty are undeniable as millions of additional jobless claims are filed, many of which will be from older workers who find themselves facing the reality of ‘involuntary retirement’. In its newsletter, Deloitte writes, “Vaccine development is undeniably good news for consumers and businesses. But the damage to the economy, from shutdowns and withheld aid, has already been done. The coming months will show the extent—and suggest the direction of the recovery.”
Assessing the economic damage may take time, and it’s expected U.S. economy will face a double-dip recession. The Federal Reserve’s printing presses are working overtime which has dramatically cut interest rates. This is likely to prop up today’s inflated real estate market, that is until the Fed decides to unwind their balance sheets and contracts the money supply.