After the Google Ban – how payday loan companies survive

Bart Burggraaf

Google recently announced it would stop allowing payday loan companies to place ads in its search results. It followed Facebook and others in stopping this gigantic industry from advertising their products. While some question the morality of such products, this brings into focus important questions around the role of media companies in censoring advertising. Leaving […]

Google recently announced it would stop allowing payday loan companies to place ads in its search results. It followed Facebook and others in stopping this gigantic industry from advertising their products.

While some question the morality of such products, this brings into focus important questions around the role of media companies in censoring advertising. Leaving this aspect and the implications on other industries (such as online trading) aside, it’s instructive to look at the advertising tactics those companies have left.

The majority of online payday lenders currently get business via lead generators. Companies that buy advertising or do ‘comparison’ sites to generate an basis.

Companies also buy email and general contact information databases to market to and some of the larger companies do substantial lead generation themselves. With Google and Facebook out of the picture, all of this got a lot harder, as many of the lead generators heavily relied on Google.

There is still the possibility for payday loan companies to advertise on Bing but with the competition moving there, pricing will go up a lot to the point it will no longer be economic for most (leaving aside the issue of non-existent scale on this platform).

Payday companies have traditionally also relied on SEO efforts, but in the top 10 of the page on Google, hidden under considerable other information, I could only find two such companies ranking for the term ‘payday loan’. Clearly, Google has done a clean-up of their natural search results as well, and it will get very difficult to get to scale with SEO.

So what’s left? The magic of Google Adwords is that people are actively searching for things your company offers. It is a Pull channel rather than a Push channel. Other pull channels include being listed on comparison sites and to some extent Public Relations, Content Marketing and Organic Social Media.

And while it is certainly good to be there when people are looking for you, some Push advertising can also help get new business. For example, list vendors and the like have considerable numbers of records that can be used for generating new business.

Payday loan vendors can still use programmatic display advertising to reach their target audience, even via Google’s Adx, one of the largest programmatic exchanges.

Many social media channels still take advertising from payday loan companies. And TV, outdoor and print advertising can sometimes be too broad and expensive, but depending on the size of your company can be appropriate too.

Lastly, used in the right way, direct marketing via snail mail can be an effective business generator too.

It’s unfortunate it had to come to this for payday lenders, but there are still plenty of options for these companies to generate business.

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