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Why Top Mortgage Lead Generation Companies Hate Facebook Ads

December 30, 20224 min read

At Empower LO we believe in a simple and effective concept: Follow The Money

When I was a loan officer, this is what led me to create our lead generation system. This idea lead me to discover the of untapped potential in Google Ads.

When you do a Google search for any home loan keywords, there’s usually a handful of companies that always show up. In the sponsored section and in the organic search results. 

We analyzed and reverse-engineered our lead generation campaigns by watching the top mortgage lead generation companies in the market. 

When we did that we created the first ever plug-and-play lead gen service that turns the best lead generation practices available into a turnkey service for loan officers. 

Pretty much every time we’re talking to loan officers about our lead generation system, they ask:

Well, what about Facebook Ads for loan officers? Are Facebook Ads any good for mortgage lead generation?

For the longest time, I answered that with how I personally felt about using Facebook Lead Generation for loan officers. However, I found something more concrete than how I feel. Using a Google Chrome browser extension called Similar Web, I have been able to look at where the best companies in mortgage lead generation are getting their traffic, and where they’re investing their resources. 

Here’s what I found:


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 Zillow leads vary wildly based on the loan officers working them, we’ve heard of Zillow lead conversion rates anywhere from 1.5%-4%, 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 converting Zillow leads and profiting or they wouldn’t be able to charge wild prices that range from $40-$100+ per long-form lead.

Zillow’s website is designed to convert visiting traffic into leads, but is that traffic coming from? Let’s take a look:

A screenshot from Zillow's home page shows a tab opened by SimilarWeb the browser extension. The tab lists this lead generation company's traffic from highest to least as follows: Direct Traffic 55.61%, Search Traffic at 39.99%, Social Traffic at 1.84%, Email Traffic at 1.64%, Referrals at .89%, and Display Ads at .02%.

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 into their browser OR opens up their Zillow app is going to be referred to as direct traffic. 

Zillow is the go-to place when people start looking for houses, and this gives them a great value proposition for selling their leads.

The second thing to note here is the traffic source coming in at a close 2nd, Search-based traffic.

For most mortgage 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.

Zillow is very good at what they do and it’s no accident, you can see more proof by looking at what the other companies are doing.

Company #2: LendingTree

 A screenshot from LendingTree, one of the best mortgage lead generation companies. The extension Similar Web  shows the traffic sources for the website in a circle graph:  Search Traffic 52.67%,  Direct Traffic 27.84%, Display Ads 7.18%, Email Traffic 5.88%, Referral Traffic 4.1%, and Social Traffic 1.71%.

Where are LendingTree leads coming from? LendingTree is limiting its social media marketing. Facebook ads for loan officers aren’t a high priority for LendingTree, with social media representing the LEAST amount of traffic they get from any source, receiving at least 75% less traffic than any other traffic source listed.

We can tell that LendingTree isn’t going to Facebook or TikTok for their mortgage leads. 

Company #3: Bankrate

A screengrab from top mortgage lead generation company, BankRate's home page is shown.  The extension SimilarWeb is open and shows a pie chart of the traffic sources by rank as: Search Traffic 81.48%, Direct Traffic 15.53%, Referrals 1.49%, Social  .67%, Email Traffic .50%, Display Ads .34%.

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 buy as a loan officer, even though these are not exclusive mortgage leads for sale.

If one of the top mortgage lead generation companies can find success in search traffic, can’t you?

Company #4: Rocket Mortgage

A screenshot from Rocket Mortgage, one of the top exclusive lead generation companies. The SimilarWeb extension is open and shows the traffic to the website as: Search Traffic 58.75%, Direct Traffic at 27.12%, Referrals at 10.73%, Email Traffic 2.21%, Social Traffic .62%, and Display Ads .57%.

Now, this is my favorite example and is the most relevant to loan officers looking for Facebook Ads.

Rocket Mortgage has risen quickly to become the #1 Volume Retail lender in the nation, despite being strongly disliked by many (if not most) real estate agents nationwide. 

Rocket Mortgage managed this success with a consumer-direct approach via internet marketing, and that makes them one of the best mortgage lead generation companies to model your business after.

Company 5: Veterans United

A screengrab from of one of the top mortgage lead generation companies, Veteran's United. The extension SimilarWeb lists the traffic sources to the website as: Direct Traffic 45.88%, Search Traffic 41.44%, Referral Traffic 4.16%, Display Ads at 3.99%, Email Traffic at 3.31% and Social Traffic as 1.21%.

This is interesting because even though social media makes up a significantly higher percentage of their traffic than any other website, they also get quite a bit less traffic in general. If you’ve generated leads with Facebook Ads before you know that you could target Veterans fairly easily through Facebook’s targeting options. 

Facebook has been actively removing what groups you can target with your advertising. So far, veterans are one demographic you can still target and that’s what Veterans United does to get their Facebook mortgage leads.

It’s important to notice, that social media marketing still brings in the least amount of traffic to Veterans United’s website. 

If they can actively target their core audience on Facebook, and it’s STILL not getting them much traffic, how good can Facebook Ads be for loan officers? Not very good,

Consensus? Top Mortgage Lead Generation Companies HATE Facebook Ads, and LOVE Search Engine Traffic

Want to harness the power and strategies that the top mortgage lead generation companies use?

 Book Your Live Demo Now. 

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you at the top!

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