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How Google Search Ads Can Work for Financial Advisors

Google Ads for financial advisors is a paid advertising tool that many advisors are using to reach their desired target audience. Formerly known as Google Adwords, Google Ads is an online advertising platform that utilizes Google’s search capabilities to get an advertiser’s message in front of the right audience using a combination of data points that google obtains about its users. 




This highly customizable online advertising platform allows advertisers of varying levels of digital marketing experience, time, and budgets to utilize its services. This can be an especially helpful tool for financial advisors who want to reach a specific type of client within a specific zip code or other geographic area. 

If this sounds like something you want to try your hand at for your financial advisor firm, or if you’ve already started and need some pointers, keep reading!


Specify Your Audience

One of the major reasons financial advisors are using paid advertising, and in particular Google Ads, is the ability to uniquely target prospective clients. For example, if your firm is based out of Los Angeles you likely don’t want to target the entire county of over 100 zip codes and varying levels of investment capability. 

Instead, you can use Google Ads to narrow down the audience to just those people in areas near your office with a minimum income and age requirement. This prevents ads from being displayed to an audience that is unlikely to be in the market for financial advisors, thus reducing advertising-cost waste.


Define Your Keywords 

After defining your target audience, choosing the right keywords is the next crucial step to a successful Google Ads campaign. Google offers a tool within the Ads platform called the Keyword Planner. This tool takes into account your main advertising goal, type of business, customers, and more to give you suggested keywords, estimated bid amounts on those keywords, and even how your keywords might perform. Keyword research is an important step to take before creating a budget because it gives you an idea of what your costs will be for your desired results. 


Create a Budget

Just as with any type of advertising, it’s a recommended best practice to set a budget before your campaign starts. This helps you clearly determine how much you want to spend on a campaign and also gives you an idea of where you’re willing to set your CPC (cost-per-click) threshold. 

The average CPC for your ad will vary based on your location, keywords, and the amount of competition for those keywords. By doing some research, you can find out the average CPC for the keywords/search terms you have defined. By doing so, you can then work backward from there to set a budget since you know what you can expect to pay per click. This research will also help avoid “sticker shock” by preparing you (and your wallet) for how much a quality lead will cost. 


Look for Quality, Not Quantity

To the point above about narrowing down an audience, remember that while clicks and impressions matter, more isn’t necessarily more valuable. If your ad only reaches 100 people, but those are qualified prospects who match your target audience, that’s more likely to bring in more business than 1,000 clicks from non-qualified visitors who saw your ad because you didn’t target your audience correctly. This may mean a higher CPC, which shouldn’t be a deterrent as long as you’re getting quality traffic to your site. 


Ad Copy and Messaging

Now is probably a good time to discuss your messaging. This can include headlines, ad copy, and images – depending on the types of ads you’re running. Keeping in mind your audience and what keywords you chose; you’ll want to keep your ad copy consistent with the search term that triggered the ad in the first place. For example, if you chose the search term “retirement planning, Los Angeles” and then had an ad and copy for college savings, you might turn off that potential client by not showing them what they wanted to see. People expect you to know them and are often let down when it seems you don’t. To avoid this, steer clear of the “one size fits all” approach to your Google Ads. If you take the time to define different audiences and objectives, also take the time to create unique copy and graphics. 


Use Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are a free tool that advertisers can use to expand their reach on the Google Ads platform. An example of an ad extension is a call button on your Google Ads search result. If your ad is displayed, you can feature a button that allows for one-click calling from any device that is able to make phone calls. 

This type of extension can be very useful for those on mobile devices. According to Google, ad extensions typically increase an ad's click-through-rate by several percentage points. Ad extensions are free to use but can sometimes be time-consuming to set up. Also, Google will only display those extensions when they are predicted to improve the ad’s performance. Therefore, it makes sense to choose to set up the extensions that make the most sense for your financial advisor firm and audience. 


Most Effective as Part of an Overall Digital Marketing Plan

The biggest mistake some financial advisors make with Google Ads is thinking it’s the holy grail of advertising and putting most or all of their budget into these campaigns. As with any form of digital marketing, Google Ads is meant to be used as part of an overall marketing mix. You wouldn’t tell any of your clients to put all of their funds into the one investment, so think of your marketing in the same way and you can avoid missing out on audiences on other mediums.



The good old A/B test is still pretty hard to beat when it comes to testing the effectiveness of certain elements of your ads. The Google Ads platform lends itself very well to testing, since you can run any number of campaigns with different variables and measure the results. You can even run a test campaign with a smaller budget initially just to narrow down the final elements for your larger campaign. And because Google Ads are digital, you can even stop an underperforming campaign to use your new insights to make it even stronger. 

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