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.
Will forbearances create another housing bubble?
Mortgage forbearances are being extended. How will home values and borrowers be impacted once they end?
It’s compassionate and pragmatic. Mortgage forbearance allows borrowers to suspend or reduce their monthly payments, however, delinquent payments must be repaid. The good news is homeowners with a federally or GSE-backed mortgage (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie & Freddie) are protected from a lender initiating foreclosure until December 31st of this year thanks to the CARES Act. FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage borrowers are protected under this provision.
However, there is a less-publicized provision of the Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Safety act; a provision that is certain to have a major impact on the housing market and home values. That provision is the right for the aforementioned homeowners to apply for up to six months and if desired another extension for up to 360 days. No documentation of financial hardship is required to qualify. Basically, that means millions of American homeowners will not be making a payment for up to one year. In essence, our government has attempted to stem a tidal wave of foreclosures and slow damage to our fragile economy delaying the inevitable. The silver lining is home values should remain relatively stable during this temporary calm. That’s a win for reverse mortgage originators who can offer more borrowing power with high home values and low interest rates. Home sales slowed to a crawl in this spring as the first waves of COVID-19 hit our shores. Then the summer months brought record-breaking home sales volumes
as a flood of pent up demand hit the market.
But what happens after mortgage forbearances work their way through the system? Some housing analysts predict 1.9 million or 40% of those in forbearance will end up defaulting. That’s a sobering number but nowhere close to the 3.1 million foreclosure filings seen in the 2008 housing crisis which created a glut of housing inventory driving prices down. A correction in housing values is assured in a cyclical real market but it’s unlikely we’ll see home values plummet immediately. The hope is the air will be released slowly from the housing bubble we find ourselves in today. However, eventually, a toll will be extracted from the housing market for the unprecedented shutdown of our national economy.
Housing prices are marching to the beat of a different drum and seniors are part of the new rhythm which is further constraining housing inventory. “Seniors are scaling down at a far slower rate than in the previous, additional constraining supply. “We were predicting that baby boomers, like past generations at their age, would move into apartments, condos, or to their second homes en masse,” says Ed Pinto- Director of the American Enterprise Institute in a recent Fortune Magazine column. “That isn’t occurring. The main reason they aren’t moving is that their adult children move back in and work from the home they grew up in.”
Two things will mitigate and deflation in housing prices. Housing demand and employment. As more Americans regain employment they are more likely to voluntarily decline further mortgage forbearance and resume making payments. All things considered, a gradual deflation is preferable to a sudden bursting of a housing bubble.