Entities looking to acquire merchants online need to learn the secrets of POS software providers that outperform traditional ISOs and banks in online acquiring by 220% in terms of clicks on paid advertising.

The limited number of daily keyword searches on merchant acquiring and the proliferation of companies using AdWords to acquire merchants online has created a very competitive environment that is unforgiving to the online marketing budget of any merchant acquiring business. Adding to that, traditional ISOs and acquirers choose strategies and tactics that are sub-optimal in online merchant acquisition.

Most online acquisition of merchants results in wasted AdWords dollars…
About 215,000 merchants, representing US$30 billion in annual processing, rely exclusively on the Internet to look up a payment service provider. In order to acquire merchants online, ISOs and acquirers have to anticipate the keywords merchants look for, then align the ad headers with the keywords and optimize that landing pages to dramatically enhance the chances of leading these prospects to the providers’ website. From there, the strategy adopted plays a huge role in converting these prospects. Added to that, the design, the copy and the offer have to be enticing enough to get merchants started through the sales process.
However, very few ISOs and acquirers are following these guidelines and the result is that they see their online acquisition budget melt away with very low conversion rates in online acquisition. Following these guidelines can result in one of the least expensive acquisition methods in merchant acquiring (US$80 per merchant).

This report details the winning strategies and tactics that increase traffic to payment providers’ websites. It also lays out the foundation to achieve high conversion rates in online acquisition by focusing on the type of campaign to choose, the alignment between keywords and ad headers on the one hand and ad headers and landing page on the other.

Finally, the report shows how to increase the conversion rate by implementing a lead nurturing campaign. It details the five steps necessary to convert visitors to your website into prospects and buyers.

Report Content

This 52-page report is based on the online strategies of 67 companies (see below for complete list) competing in the merchant acquiring industry (banks, ISOs and POS software). It contains 18 charts and 5 exhibits. It is split into 3 parts:

1) Online Advertising Overview

Learn about the market opportunity (number of merchants and total processing volume) available exclusively through the online channel. Take a deep delve into the competitive information and statistics about merchants, keywords, cost, ads, etc.

2) Strategy & Tactics of PPC Campaigns

Learn how to set your PPC campaign goals and how to choose the type of campaign that will help most in converting merchants.

3) Lead Generation and Nurturing

Learn how to implement a campaign matching the six steps in the buying cycle in order to intercept prospects at each one of these steps. Turn one-time visitors into buyers by implementing the five elements required for a prospect nurturing strategy.


What You Will Lean in This Report

  • The number of merchants using the Internet exclusively to find their processor.
  • The overall market opportunity available through online acquisition.
  • The number of merchant acquiring-related keywords for which you need to compete.
  • The number of daily searches performed on merchant acquiring-related keywords.
  • Percentage of clicks on PPC ads vs. clicks on organic results.
  • Total annual clicks on merchant acquiring-related ads.
  • Dollar amount spent on merchant acquiring-related ads.
  • Cost of acquisition per merchant.
  • Percentage of merchant acquiring entities using AdWords.
  • Breakdown of entities using AdWords (ISOs, banks & POS providers).
  • Percentage of clicks on merchant acquiring-related AdWords per quarter.
  • Number of clicks on merchant acquiring-related AdWords month-by-month in 2013.
  • Breakdown of monthly clicks on AdWords by institution type (ISOs, banks & POS providers).
  • The five types of keywords merchant acquirers compete on.
  • Breakdown of percentage of acquiring entities bidding on the five types of keywords.
  • Percentage of keywords getting clicks by institution type.

Part 2: Strategies & Tactics of PPC Campaigns

  • How to set your PPC campaign’s three main goals.
  • How to distinguish between the three types of PPC campaigns and how to choose the one most appropriate for your goals.
  • How to increase the conversion rate of lead captures in lead-generation campaigns.
  • Best practices to achieve sales online using Sales Closing campaigns.
  • Understanding the six steps of online searches.
  • How to reduce the bounce rate on your website by learning the four elements of campaign relevance.
  • How to anticipate what merchants are looking for by achieving keyword and ad header alignment.
  • How to create ad header and landing page alignment.
  • Examples of good alignment and misalignment from different merchant acquirers.

Part 3: Lead Generation & Nurturing

  • The six steps of the merchant buying cycle.
  • How to anticipate and create the six emotions merchants need to feel before buying.
  • To increase clicks on your ads by matching the buying cycle steps to the buying emotions.
  • Examples of ads matching the buying cycle steps.
  • To lay out the foundation of a successful inbound marketing strategy.
  • How to nurture leads that will convert with time.
  • How to turn a complete stranger into a promoter of your company in five stages.

List of Charts and Figures


  1. Figure 1: Types of Institutions Studied
  2. Figure 2: Percentage of Merchants Using the Internet Solely to Find a Processor
  3. Figure 3: Number of Daily Searches and Keywords Related to Merchant Acquiring
  4. Figure 4: Estimated Organic Searches vs. PPC Searches
  5. Figure 5: Annual Merchant Acquirers’ Spending on Merchant Specific AdWords
  6. Figure 6: Merchant Acquiring Entities Using AdWords
  7. Figure 7: Difference in AdWords Usage by Institution Type
  8. Figure 8: Quarterly Clicks on Merchant Acquiring-Related AdWords
  9. Figure 9: Monthly Clicks On Merchant Acquiring-Related AdWords
  10. Figure 10: POS Software Providers Outperform in Clicks Generated
  11. Figure 11: Acquiring Industry Overall Usage of Different Types of Keywords
  12. Figure 12: Individual Merchant Acquiring Entities’ Usage of Different Types of Keywords
  13. Figure 13: Percentage of Merchant Acquiring Ads Getting Clicks
  14. Figure 14: The Three Types of PPC Campaigns
  15. Figure 15: The Six Steps in the Online Search Process
  16. Figure 16: The Four Elements of Ad Relevance
  17. Figure 17: Matching Search Steps with Relevant Buying Emotions
  18. Figure 18: Converting Prospects Into Promoters


  1. Exhibit A: List of Companies Studied
  2. Exhibit B: Examples of Good Keyword/Headline Alignment
  3. Exhibit C: Examples of Keyword/Headline misalignment
  4. Exhibit D: Example of Ad Header/Landing Page Misalignment
  5. Exhibit E: Example of Keyword/Ad Header/Landing Page Misalignment

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Merchant Acquiring

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