TD Ameritrade used mobile search technology to deliver targeted ads created in real time during market-driven events such as IPOs and stock splits.
Objective and Context:
TD Ameritrade leveraged the real-time nature of mobile search to capture significant incremental clients while building a sustainable and scalable acquisition-driven campaign. The brand measured the campaign’s success by comparing the client volume and efficiency metrics to that of core existing desktop paid search campaigns.
There are inherent challenges in convincing a user to convert (by filling out a lengthy form) over a mobile device. As a result, TD Ameritrade’s ads needed to appeal to various types of searchers at different stages of decision-making — those looking to convert right away and those still gathering information as part of their consideration journey. Due to the constantly changing stock market and finance landscape, mobile search was identified as a fitting channel to launch quick-to-market creative geared towards empowering users to open a brokerage account directly from a mobile device.
Mobile search creative is always evolving and requires ongoing testing. TD Ameritrade refined its creative strategy in a way which spoke to users who were further along in the consideration funnel and were potentially ready to convert. Prominently featured callouts such as “open an account” were heavily utilized in creative text and ad extensions across both Google and Bing mobile search.
Market-driven events such as IPOs and stock splits (e.g., the recent Apple split) both tied into the brand’s creative mobile strategy and connected with the premise that mobile search must be tailored to serve a relevant message that aligned with users looking to capitalize on market-driven events. The campaign delivered messages as financial news broke and search momentum increased.
Overall Campaign Execution:
As market events took place, TD Ameritrade executed creative nearly in real time to capitalize on the event, with the goal of being the first online broker in market. The brand’s prior mobile strategy was based around driving users to download the TD Ameritrade mobile app and to support usage and retention.
By analyzing past mobile campaigns, the brand discovered that mobile search was effective in driving acquisition-focused initiatives.
TD Ameritrade’s mobile search campaign represented 10 percent of total new client volume in 2013, up roughly 20 percent vs. 2012. The success was due to creative refinement, improved mobile landing experiences, and by leveraging market-driven events. Mobile search efficiency is in line with desktop search despite a relatively lengthy conversion process.