Countrywide: Online Ad Spending Tumbled in January

According to new data, Countrywide Financial, one of the biggest online ad spenders, cut such spending dramatically in December. Compare the the following two consecutive month figures from December and January:


Did the mortgage industry finally give up on buying business via aggressive advertising in January? We have Countrywide spending off by more than 50% in January, Wachovia spending off similarly (albeit from a smaller base), and overall financial service spending down 17% month-to-month.

via MarketingCharts / Nielsen Online


  1. There seems to be movement in both directions, although focus in blogosphere has been on shrinking budgets. However, I think there may be a more interesting and subtle mortgage lead market story evolving here. As major mortgage online advertising spenders, like Countrywide Financial, Experian Group (LowerMyBills), IAC (LendingTree) pull back their budgets; most probably based on publicly reported financial weaknesses could financially stronger players be grabbing premium market opportunity?
    Most notably in these reports is the counter-trend movement of NexTag. NexTag is one of the premiere online comparison shopping sites and now the top online mortgage advertising buyer. Watch opportunists like shopping engine, mortgage lead portal and media spending giant, Nextag, to move in on the cheaper clicks.

  2. This is not surprising. Take a look at the refi index in January:
    Their phone lines/web sites were already swamped with people trying to refinance, no need to add to the queue.
    Let’s see what happens in Feb and March. The banks are also short of capital and CFC had pretty much worn out its welcome at the FHLB, so that could be having an impact as well.

  3. The doubling of Experian is interesting. Based on my experience with adwords, they probably had no idea. They just woke up on the 1st of the next month and said holy s**t we’ve been winning our bid on google everytime for the last 30 days. It’s like roaming in international cell phone coverage.

  4. LendingTree gave many of their CJ affiliates the boot recently too (some of them had clean clean traffic as well). Even though their ad spend went up 4 million I bet they cut by a significant number as well.