At Empower Funnels we believe in a very simple, yet very profound concept: Follow The Money. As the creator of our lead generation system, I can say definitively that this is the concept that ultimately led to the discovery of all of the untapped potential with Google Ads. If you do a Google search for a home loan-related keyword, there’s going to be a handful of companies that show up very often, both in the sponsored section and in the organic section of your search results.
These are the same companies whose lead generation campaigns we picked apart and reverse engineered to ultimately arrive at the first and only done-for-you lead generation service that packages the best lead generation practices available into a turnkey service for loan officers.
Inevitably when talking to loan officers about our system the question arises, “Well, what do you think about Facebook Ads?“
For a long time, I’ve answered that question with how I have felt personally about Facebook Lead Generation for loan officers. Recently, however, I’ve discovered something much more impactful than how I feel. Through a free Google Chrome browser plug-in called Similar Web, I’ve been able to get an inside look into where the best companies in mortgage lead generation are getting their traffic, and ultimately investing their time and energy into.
Here’s what I found:
(I know after publishing this that the images are somewhat hard to read. There is an explanation below each image of what I’m trying to show. You can do the same checks on your own using the Similar Web Chrome Browser Plug-In)
Company #1: Zillow
It’s no secret that Zillow is the company that has garnered the most success generating mortgage leads online. Although conversion rates for these leads vary wildly based on the loan officers working them, we’ve heard of conversion rates anywhere from 1.5%-4% with these leads, with the majority of the conversions coming from buyers that are ready to apply on their initial call with an LO. Obviously, Zillow is doing pretty well and they have lenders that are converting their leads and profiting or they wouldn’t be able to charge their wild prices that range from $40-$100+ per long-form lead.
Zillow’s website is obviously optimized to convert traffic into leads, but where are they getting that traffic from? Let’s take a look:
There are a couple of things to take note of here. First off, Zillow’s #1 traffic source is direct. What does direct traffic mean? Essentially anyone who punches Zillow.com into their browser OR opens up their Zillow app is going to be referred to as direct traffic. Obviously, Zillow has a value proposition baked into their business model and have become the go-to resource for people looking to browse housing inventory anywhere in the US and even beyond.
The second thing to note here is the traffic source coming in at a close 2nd. What is it? Search based traffic. For most lead generation companies this is their number one source, but since Zillow has done such a good job of branding and building demand for their website, that’s not the case here.
Most importantly though, is the percentage of traffic that Zillow has received in the last 3 months from social media (paid or organic). 2.19%!! That’s less than half of the amount of traffic they generate from EMAIL campaigns! Zillow is very good at what they do. Trust me, this is not an accident, and you can see more evidence of that fact by looking at what the other companies in this space are doing.
Company #2: LendingTree
#1 Traffic Source: Tied between Direct and Search Based Traffic
Social Media Traffic Percentage: 1.5%
LendingTree is especially limiting their investment into social media marketing, with it representing the LEAST amount of traffic they get from any source, receiving at least 75% less traffic than any other traffic source listed.
Company #3: Bankrate
#1 Traffic Source: Search (by a MILE!)
Social Media Traffic Percentage: 1.03%
Bankrate relies almost exclusively on search-based traffic for their lead generation and their leads are widely regarded as being the highest converting leads you can by as a loan officer, despite sending lead information to multiple loan officers at once.
Company #4: Quicken Loans
Now, this is my favorite illustration and in my opinion the most relevant to Loan Officers. Quicken has risen quickly to become the #1 Volume Retail lender in the nation, despite being detested by many (if not most) local real estate agents nationwide. They’ve accomplished much of that success with a consumer direct approach through internet marketing, making it one of the best mortgage companies to model your marketing efforts after.
#1 Traffic Source: Search (54.6% of Traffic)
Social Media Traffic Percentage: 1.5%
Company 5: Veterans United
#1 Traffic Source: Search (52.96%)
Social Media Traffic Percentage: 3.26%
This is interesting because even though social media makes up a significantly higher percentage of their traffic than with any other website, they also get quite a bit less traffic in general (873k visitors last month to Quicken Loans, the next lowest at 3.3 million), and because if you’ve generated leads with Facebook Ads before you know that you can target Veterans fairly easily through Facebook’s targeting options. In an environment where Facebook is removing attributes that you can target based on seemingly every day, Veterans are one demographic that has been left alone for the most part. Still, it’s important to note that social media marketing still is the source that brings the least amount of traffic to Veterans United’s website.
Consensus? Search Traffic Rules, Social Media DROOLS!
Look, I promise you that Mortgage Loan Officers and armchair marketers haven’t pulled one over on all of these companies. We don’t know something that the big companies don’t. It’s quite the opposite actually. Generating leads with Facebook Ads is not a novel concept anymore. All of these companies know how to generate leads on Social Media, and yet they continue to stick to search engines (or even buying leads from lead vendors like Quicken Loans continues to do) because social media mortgage leads are trash!
Want to see how the pros do it? Want to see how you may be able to do the exact same thing for your mortgage business? Book Your Live Demo Here, or book using the calendar below.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you at the top!