Personal loan advertisers running paid search across Google's network have experienced a bounce in the past six months to a year since Google revised its AdWords advertising policy around payday loans.
Startup Social Finance (SoFi) generated 17.7% of all clicks on the personal loan keyword group from January 1 to February 15, 2017, according to data released Friday by AdGooroo, a Kantar Media Company.
Lending Tree and Top10PersonalLoans.com followed closely, at 14.8% and 13% click share, respectively. Discover.com took 11.7% click share and ConsumerAdvocates.com took 9.2%. The group rounded out the top five.
Marcus.com, which launched in October 2016, gained a 4.75% click share. Upstart.com gained 3.1% and Lending Club gained 2.9% in click share. Navy Federal, and Capital One, which do not have much of an online presence, trailed.
Stricter guidelines allowed companies such as Green Capital to benefit from Google's change in policy.
Overall, paid-search ad spending on the personal loan keyword group rose 101% from 2014 to 2016, despite the number of advertisers, decreasing by nearly half during that time.
AdGooroo's data suggests that spending on the personal loan keyword running on desktops across Google's network rose from $14.3 million in 2014 to $28.7 million in 2016.
At the same time, the number of advertisers sponsoring the keyword group fell by 44% during this period, dropping from a total of 2,789 in 2014 to 1,551 in 2016. The number of competitors fell by 28% from 2014 to 2015.
The study analyzed text ad activity of 106 personal loan-related keywords from 2014 to 2016, and measured the U.S. Google desktop text ad activity of the category from January 1, 2017 through February 15, 2017.
In May 2016, Google said it would ban payday and high-interest loan ads from serving up across its network. These loans requires repayment within 60 days and some had an interest rate above 35%.
During the same time, AdGooroo released data that estimated the change would cost Google big bucks. Some 4,211 advertisers collectively spent $35.5 million to sponsor 726 payday loan keywords on U.S. Google desktop search in 2015, at an average cost per click of $5.32, according to AdGooroo.
An AdGooroo spokesperson in an email sent to Search Marketing Daily said the ban definitely had a strong influence on the decrease in the number of advertisers still able to use Google's services. There was a huge drop off around the time Google enacted the ban from about $32.5 million in 2014 to $18 million in 2016.
Ironically, the number of consumer clicks on the keyword group jumped by 42% from 1.9 million in 2014 to 2.6 million in 2016, and the average cost per click rose 31% from $12.73 in 2014 to $16.69 in 2016.