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Greenlight Press Release

Loans and Mortgage related products top consumer online searches
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February 2nd, 2011

London, 24 January, 2011 - 61% of the 2 million UK consumer searches conducted online for retail banking-related services in October 2010 were for loans and mortgages, according to the latest quarterly research from Greenlight, a leading search marketing specialist and technology firm. This comes against the backdrop of the recent reports indicating an expected rise in interest rates as early as spring according to some economists.

To compile the report ‘Retail Banking October 2010’, Greenlight used industry data to classify 750 of the most popular search terms consumers used to find providers of bank accounts, credit and debit cards, mortgages and loans. It reveals searches for loans keywords were the most popular, accounting for a third of all searches for retail banking products. Mortgages followed with a 28% share, then bank accounts (24%) and credit cards (16%).

Most popular consumer search terms

The term ‘mortgage calculator’ was searched for 135,000 times in October, which accounted for 7% of all retail banking-related searches and 24% of specific mortgage-related searches. With searches for the term having peaked in January 2010, Greenlight expects this January to see a similar rise as consumers will reassess their finances for the New Year.

There were 475,000 bank account-related searches. The terms ‘ISA’, ‘savings accounts’ and ‘online banking’ were most popular accounting for 6%, 5% and 4% of searches, respectively.

For credit and debit cards, the keywords ‘credit cards’ and ‘credit card’ were most queried and cumulatively accounted for over a quarter of all searches (26%).

Loan-related searches totaled 666,000. The term ‘loans’ accounted for 11% of this total and closely followed by the term ‘pay day loans’ (9%). Other terms search terms consumers used to find loans included: ‘loans for people with bad credit’, ‘student loans’, ‘personal loans’ and ‘car loans’.

Sites, providers and brands most visible to consumer searches online

Greenlight’s report reveals the sites, brands and providers that were most visible to the related consumer searches. It also ranked their social media popularity and assessed their level of interaction with consumers.

In natural search, MoneySupermarket achieved 67% visibility in October and ranked in top position in Greenlight’s league table which charts the 60 most visible sites; however, it ranked at position one for 232 of the 750 keywords analysed, having previously ranked in the same position for 260 terms. Halifax was the best performing direct provider. It ranked at position one for 14 of the keywords analysed and featured at position five for the term ‘mortgage calculator’.

MoneySupermarket was also the most prominent online advertiser in paid search overall. However, unlike natural search, it was not the most visible for consumer searches pertaining to bank accounts, credit cards and debit cards or mortgages. KnowYourMoney, CompareAndSave and HSBC, respectively, topped the visibility ranks in those segments. MoneySupermarket was, however, the most visible site to the consumer for loan-related searches.

Social Media - most visible and interactive

To gauge social media interaction with brands, Greenlight monitored the Facebook and Twitter accounts of the top 15 brands in its integrated league table which shows the most visible websites in both natural and paid search. Brands were ranked based on the cumulative value of their ‘fans’ and ‘followers’, a score which Greenlight terms Social Media Popularity Index (SMPI). It further analysed the proactivity of brands by considering the number of ‘posts’ and ‘tweets’ they produced for consumers to interact with in October 2010.

According to Greenlight’s report, a number of direct providers do not have official UK Facebook or Twitter accounts. In addition, some high street banks received negative commentary on their customer care services on unofficial Facebook and Twitter pages.

By contrast, LloydsTSB utilized its Twitter account to not only generate news and product releases but also acted as a customer service contact by directly answering consumer queries and complaints.

uSwitch had the most active accounts, cumulatively producing 238 ‘posts’ and ‘tweets’ in October. Content included latest financial news as well as up-to-date deals on banking products.

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