Generating leads for a mortgage brokerage is especially challenging today. You need to target people who want to buy a house, but also meet the criteria to qualify for a loan. Retargeting is one powerful way you can target this specific audience of people that have interacted with your business in the past.

What is Retargeting/Remarketing?

Retargeting refers to an advertising strategy for Facebook audiences. Remarketing refers to an advertising strategy on the Google network. Retargeting and remarketing are often used interchangeably by marketers because they serve a similar purpose:

Targeting ads to people who have interacted with your business in the past, such as through your website or mobile app.

The idea is to get previous visitors to return to your website and convert into paying customers:

Paying Customers

Retargeting ads are incredibly valuable for mortgage lead generation. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Capture leads that didn’t convert

You put a lot of time and effort into attracting relevant traffic to your mortgage website. A few visitors will fill out a form, connect with a lender, or download a lead magnet from your website. But the vast majority will navigate away, never to return again.

Convincing prospects to convert into leads is extremely difficult to do with just one interaction. Retargeting ads give the ability to connect with your audience more than once. This increases the chances you’ll convincing them to convert.

  • Well-timed targeting

With Google remarketing, you can target past site visitors when they’re searching for mortgage information. And people actively searching are much more likely to convert. You can also set ads to show for people who are searching for your business. This ensures your ads appear at key points before they pick a mortgage option.

  • Relevant, focused advertising

Retargeting also allows you to target leads based on specific behaviors they made on your website. For example, you can create a remarketing list targeted at people who used your mortgage loan calculator. Then you can deliver a relevant advertising message that speaks to their specific mortgage needs.

  • Save your budget

Retargeting people who have already visited your site means you can reach people who are truly interested in getting a mortgage. This can reduce unnecessary ad spend on poor quality leads and improve your ad relevance. In fact, the average click rate for display ads is a low 0.07%, whereas retargeted ads have a click through rate of 0.7%.

Google Remarketing and Facebook Retargeting are similar strategies. But there are some key differences in how you optimize campaigns for each platform. Here’s everything you need to know about using Google and Facebook retargeting to generate mortgage leads:

How to Generate Mortgage Leads with Google Remarketing Ads

There are lots of ways to reach previous site visitors with Google Ads. You can remarket to your audience in search, on the Display Network, through YouTube video ads, and more. But since your main goal is to generate mortgage leads, then remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is your most valuable option.

RSLA allows you to show ads to your past visitors as they do follow-up searches on Google. This is the most valuable time to target potential leads because they’re showing purchase intent by searching.

Here’s how to succeed with RLSA Google remarketing ads:

Target the Right Keywords

The keywords you target with your RLSA ads suggest different types of interest and intent. To ensure you’re targeting quality leads, you should build a list of relevant keyword terms to target. Some important categories of keywords include:

  • Brand terms — Make it easy for your previous site visitors to find you by targeting queries related to your business name.
  • Competitor terms — Your previous site visitors will use Google to explore other mortgage options. Keep your business at the front of their minds by targeting competitor keywords (e.g. “[competitor name] mortgage quote”)
  • Location-based terms — Most people want a mortgage in a specific area. They’ll reflect this in their search queries (e.g. “mortgage rates in Montana”)

Google’s Keyword Planner tool can help you expand your keyword list and get more ideas for relevant terms to target. In Google Analytics, you can also look at what search queries have brought people to your website in the past.

Start by logging into Google Ads, then navigate to Keyword Planner. Type in a base keyword you know is relevant, such as “Colorado mortgage rates.” Then it will bring back a list of other related keywords, their search volume, competition, and other useful information:

Google Ads

Segment and Customize Your Ads

With RLSA ads, you can choose to target all your previous site visitors. But it’s better to create segments and target based on specific on-site behaviors. For example, you can create a segment for people who visited your quote page but didn’t fill out the form. Then create another segment for visitors who went to your educational resources ( Such as “Mortgage 101” or “Types of Mortgage Loans” pages).

The first segment represents a group of people who are actively searching for a mortgage loan. So you can create targeted ads designed to get them to convert. The second segment includes people who are just trying to learn more about how mortgages work. In this case, you can create ads to promote lead magnets, your mortgage calculators, or other resources. Target with the intention of capturing contact information instead of driving conversions.

Create Targeted Landing Pages

Optimizing landing pages for your RLSA ads is just as important as your ad copy. Creating a relevant, informative landing page increases on-site click through rates and conversions.

For example, say a RLSA lead types in “mortgage rates Denver.” They see ads relevant to their query:

Google Search

But when they click on the first ad, it takes them back to a generic landing page that says nothing about mortgage rates in their area:

Lending Tree

This lack of continuity between ad and landing page will cause a lot of people to return to search results without clicking or converting.

Google Ads also factors in ad relevance when calculating Quality Score, which in turn affects how well your ads rank in search results. So instead of directing clicks back to your home page, take the time to create targeted landing pages for the different ads you create.

Use Bid Adjustments for RLSA

Bid adjustments are a powerful strategy you can use to optimize your Google Remarketing efforts. They allow you to show your ads more or less frequently based on where, when, and how people search. Certain demographics of your target audience are going to be more valuable to you as leads. So you can use bid adjustments to improve the chances your ads are shown for the highest quality leads.

For example, you can increase bids for audiences that are more likely to convert, such as people who visited your contact page. You can also adjust bids for demographic factors, such as age, gender and household income. That way you can ensure you’re investing in showing ads for audiences that qualify for your mortgage loans. 

How to Generate Mortgage Leads with Facebook Retargeting Ads

With Facebook Retargeting, you’re targeting the same audience of previous site visitors as Google Ads. But reaching potential leads while they passively browse Facebook is a lot different. They’re not actively searching for mortgage information on Google. So you need to adapt your targeting to this context.

Here’s how to optimize your retargeting strategy for Facebook:

Install the Facebook Pixel

To retarget on Facebook, you’ll need to create a Facebook pixel and install it on your website. This is a piece of code that you place in the header of your website. It allows Facebook to track your site visitors.

There are a lot of reasons to use a Facebook tracking pixel on your website, and retargeting ads is just one of them. To install it with retargeting in mind, follow Facebook’s step-by-step instructions.

Define Your Target Audience

Once you have your Facebook Pixel set up, you’re ready to define exactly what kind of people you want to target with your remarketing ads. From the Facebook Ads Manager home screen, click Assets then Audiences from the drop-down menu.

Next you’ll see an option to Create Audience. Select Custom Audiences from the options that appear.

Facebook Ads

Next you’ll see four options for traffic sources to create your custom audience:

Custom Audience

Select Website traffic so you can retarget people who have visited your website.

Retargeting ads offer five custom audience types you can target, including:

  • Anyone who visits your website
  • People who visit specific pages
  • People who visit specific web pages but not others
  • People who haven’t visited in a certain amount of time
  • Or a custom combination of traffic options

You don’t want to target every person who visits your website, because not all site traffic is valuable. Instead consider the characteristics you know about high quality mortgage leads. Then include these in your audience definition.

For example, you may get site visitors who like to browse high-end homes for fun, but will never get a mortgage or buy a house. You need to weed out this demographic from your ad targeting. So use Facebook’s audience targeting features to focus on people who show real interest in buying a home. This can be reflected in their on-site behavior, such as clicking links for mortgage pre-approval.

You can also define a target audience that is likely to convert using other criteria, such as:

  • Demographics — Age, income and education level.
  • Interests — They like your business page, other mortgage broker companies, or Zillow
  • Location — Only retarget leads that are located in your area.
  • Other behaviors that imply interest in buying a home— E.g. they’re newly weds, recently divorced, new parents.

Create Relevant Retargeting Ads

It’s important to target different kinds of mortgage leads with Google vs Facebook retargeting. With Google Remarketing, you’re targeting leads that are almost ready to convert. When you deliver ads on Facebook, they can be further up in the sales funnel. Quality leads who are browsing Facebook aren’t actively searching for a mortgage loan yet. It’s your job to build brand awareness and educate your audience about the options out there.

Here are some examples of great Facebook ad messages to generate mortgage leads:

  • “You qualify for a lower interest rate than you think. Click to find out how much.”
  • “Check out this exclusive mortgage program for Portland residents.”
  • “Stop wasting money on rentals. Join our down payment assistance program and buy a home now!”

Here’s a real-life example of a great Facebook ad created to generate mortgage leads:

Sample Facebook Ads

Build a Full Funnel

Just like with Google Remarketing, where you send your leads once they click on an ad is extremely important for campaign success. If you’re sending them back to a landing page on your site, make sure it’s relevant and optimized for the ad in question.

With Facebook ads, you do have some more options for where to send your mortgage leads once they click. If your main goal is to capture contact information, then you can use Facebook Lead Ads to present a lead form right on Facebook. Another great way to nurture early-stage leads is to direct them to a Facebook chatbot. It’s actually quite easy to create a customized chatbot designed to answer lead questions about the mortgage process.

Get More Mortgage Leads with Retargeting Ads

Both Google Remarketing and Facebook Retargeting are valuable tools for mortgage lead generation. You can choose one and optimize your strategy for a single platform. Or your can use both in unison to target leads at different points in the sales funnel. Just remember to use Facebook to build awareness and educate leads about the mortgage loan process. Then use Google search to target leads that are ready to apply for a mortgage and convert. Remember to target the right audiences, segment, and deliver a personalized ad message. This will improve clicks and conversions for your retargeting efforts overall.