Athol Savings Bank Always-On Campaign


Compete online against national mortgage brands.


In 2016, Athol Savings Bank was looking to raise awareness of mortgage products amidst relentless online competition from lenders such as Lending Tree and Quicken.

To understand the competitive landscape, we first looked at historical search trends for mortgage and home equity related keywords in the bank’s market. What we found was that the typical seasonal view of mortgage product marketing was not valid. Even though financial institutions promote products seasonally, the buying process, especially for mortgages and home equity products, takes place throughout the year. Many buyers of financial products are doing research and conducting searches year-round; as a result, we proposed to maintain an online presence for Athol Saving Bank mortgage products throughout the year. This thinking became the foundation of Pannos Marketing’s unique media approach, which we call “Always-On Digital.”


To help our client be visible along with national competitors, and to help them capitalize on buyers that are inclined to prefer local financial institutions, we took an always-on 'search marketing first’ approach; we reduced the bank’s print spend by 75% and allocated those dollars to digital. Search engine marketing (SEM) is an active form of marketing, triggered by the consumer and the search terms they use. SEM helps businesses create a presence at the top of search engine results pages, providing a greater opportunity to be seen by potential customers.


Mortgage loan volume increased by 21% and home equity volume increased by 92%. Additionally, 37% of mortgage loans and 44% of home equity loans were generated through online applications … far more than the prior year.

Athol Savings Bank is now among the top ranks of Google SEM in their market for mortgage and home equity searches, and own the majority of impression share for both, meaning they have a presence just about anytime potential customers are searching. For mortgages, their ads were placed above the organic search results 68% of the time, averaging either second or third paid position. Their home equity ads were shown above the organic search results 60% of the time, and they averaged third or fourth paid position.

They accomplished the seemingly impossible: outranking Quicken and Lending Tree … and everyone else!

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