How the Best Mortgage Ads Build Trust

By Pennylaine Baes

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Trust is a key factor in persuading consumers to investigate financial products. Effective mortgage ads will help you build that trust.  

A mortgage is the biggest financial transaction most of us will ever commit to, but few people really understand the mortgage market. Consumers are often unaware of lending criteria and repayment models, or even how much they could borrow. And while house hunting, packing up, and moving usually occupy a lot of space in people’s minds, sourcing finance for a house purchase is often of secondary importance.

In an ideal world, lenders and banks would be able to run straightforward product-focused mortgage ads—but this isn’t an ideal world. High-profile scandals and economic downturns have soured public perceptions of the whole financial services industry, directly impacting mortgage lenders. As a result, any native advertising campaign focusing on mortgages should prioritize rebuilding consumer trust, rather than simply advertising mortgage vehicles.

Establishing trust needs to be a central aspect of mortgage ads, offering guidance and support instead of focusing on the hard sell.

Bet your house on it

You don’t need to look far for evidence that consumers have negative perceptions of financial services companies. A recent study in the UK by PwC found only 15% of consumers trust investment banks, while financial advisors scored a meager 28%. A survey by Edelman showed financial services was the least trusted industry in America, ranking even lower than the much maligned energy sector.

In one respect, the erosion of trust caused by mortgage mis-selling, Ponzi schemes, Wells Fargo account fraud, and the Equifax data hack has created a positive. According to a Marqueta study, 83% of US adults are not loyal to their current banking partner. That means well-framed and correctly targeted mortgage ads could easily persuade them to adopt your products instead. And since consumer trust is clearly an issue, the best mortgage ads need to focus on re-establishing faith in lenders.

Softly does it

The benefits of a softer approach to native mortgage ads was highlighted in a study by Outbrain. They found that a trust-based approach to native ads performed up to 10x better than more conventional offers and hard-sell straplines. But how does this work in practice? Here are six ways to build public trust in mortgage ads:

1. Don’t live down to public perceptions

The hard sell won’t cut it when it comes to mortgage ads, given the fact the public’s perception that financial services institutions are untrustworthy. Neither will a one-dimensional product ad focused on completing transactions, which is clearly benefiting the lender rather than the borrower.

2. Try to be helpful

Instead of product-led native ad campaigns, identify areas of confusion, frustration, or concern and offer practical support. If consumers perceive your brand to be helpful and customer-focused, it will subtly (yet decisively) improve your standing in their eyes.

3. Pique interest with the headline

Outbrain’s research found people were more likely to click on headlines like “X tips” than “X products.” Even mortgage calculators were shunned in favor of conversational ad titles, despite the fact most consumers will use a calculator to work out their borrowing capacity.

4. Don’t be afraid to go off-topic

Yes, you’re a mortgage lender or broker. And yes, your business lives or dies by loan completions. But that doesn’t mean you can’t run helpful campaigns offering home-buying advice, tips for packing, or even city/state guides for new residents.

5. Be honest

Trust is gained through honesty, so it’s okay to reflect the realities of today’s mortgage lending system. A headline declaring that lending criteria are being tightened can lead into a story offering practical advice for people whose borrowing options are narrowing.

6. Be topical

In a recent blog, we discussed how current events can form the centerpiece of successful native ad campaigns. This is also true for mortgages. An ad in December with the headline “Why January is the ideal time to market your home” is topical, relevant, and intriguing.

Trust but verify


Consumers will approach any native mortgage ad campaign with a healthy degree of skepticism. Verify any claims you make, be honest about today’s post-COVID lending market, and offer practical advice in layman’s terms. Using abbreviations and acronyms without spelling them out first might bolster public perceptions of an industry that speaks its own language, and that doesn’t care about being approachable.

See what works (and what doesn’t)


Knowing how to craft messaging is important, but you really have to see content in action to know if it’s effective or not. For one, you need to do competitor analysis to see where your rivals are succeeding—and failing—to speak to customers in a straightforward, calm, and honest voice. More importantly, you have to do A/B testing to figure out which of your campaigns resonate with your potential borrowers.

Ready to try out your content? Brax makes it easy to A/B test across all your campaigns and networks. Sign up for a 15-day free trial to get started.