7 banking advertising and marketing trends for 2021

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Banks and credit unions face more competition than ever before, not only from each other, but also from fintechs, neobanks and other alternative financial service providers who have made significant inroads. In an era when it is harder than ever to gain consumer attention, effective marketing and advertising goes a long way in building and retaining customers. With that in mind, here are seven financial marketing trends to know for this year and beyond.

1. “The revolution will be somewhat televised”

With more people cutting cable than ever before, as well as a growing number of services that allow viewers to jump through commercials, it’s no surprise that TV ad spending has been steadily declining over the past few years. .

In its place, advertisers are throwing more and more money into digital channels, and that is what banks and credit unions should be doing, too. Even during a pandemic, digital advertising spending grew 12.2% year-over-year in 2020, according to a report commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and produced by PwC.

That’s not to say financial institutions should ditch television, but with more consumers than ever before researching products through digital channels, it’s vital for financial marketers to target this area.

The graph below shows the growing importance of digital channels. Consumers are now opening accounts online more often than in branch. This means that digital advertising will be a key cog in helping potential new customers find you.

2. Exploit Big Data

With all the data financial institutions have (and can get) on their customers, they should be able to anticipate and meet their needs. This is the promise of Big Data, and tools now exist to deploy it more effectively than ever.

Banks and credit unions can effectively use transaction data to spot trends in consumer behavior. When this happens in real time, as it is increasingly possible, the institution can provide the exact type of resources needed at any given time. It’s a balancing act, of course, between highly personalized and timely offers and consumers’ wishes for privacy.

By relying primarily on first-party data, financial marketers may be more likely to maintain an appropriate balance. Getting it right is important as consumers increasingly expect more personalized offers and communications – something of value, in other words – in return for using their data.

To remember:

The more banks and credit unions can use personalized messages, the more they will stand out from the rest of the marketing noise.

Read more:

3. Informative and interactive content

Anyone reading this knows how important content marketing is. Yet simply creating bland content for the sake of it won’t move the needle. Instead, financial marketers need content that helps answer questions and breaks complex financial products down into understandable bites.

Using web research information and research data to uncover financial topics that clients struggle to understand “is arguably the most powerful starting point when planning financial content, ”according to Smart Insights.

This means that you will not only help users and potential new customers, but also create search-friendly content. Making the content interactive is also a big plus. Interactive content allows users to personalize and participate in it, making it more engaging and effective, and giving it a longer life expectancy as well, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

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4. Soaring social media ads

Financial institutions have a kind of love-hate relationship with social media. They know they need to be on these platforms, but often don’t know the best way to engage with them. When it comes to social media advertising, banks and credit unions should target platforms that will reach the most potential new customers. If they do, they will certainly have a lot of company.

Overall advertising spend on social media platforms has been on a tear in the fourth quarter of 2020. According to Socialbakers, spending on social advertising globally increased by 50.3% compared to the same period in 2019.

Surprising fact:

North American brands have invested in social media ads like never before, posting a whopping 92% increase in Q4 2020.

A major American neobank – Chime – uses Facebook with great success. Although Facebook has changed the way banks can advertise on its platform in recent years, Chime has managed to use a particular strategy: Target women to men, target users in high population states and Android users to iOS users, with ads that link directly to a registration page. The graph below shows how Chime focuses an overwhelming part of his social strategy on Facebook, even more than Wells Fargo, himself a heavy user.

Chime vs Wells Fargo ad spend by channel

5. Cookie crumbles

Big tech hasn’t been very popular with the government lately. It appears every other day a tech executive is dragged to a House subcommittee for questioning. The main reason behind this is privacy concerns, although consumers still readily flock to these megasites. But privacy is a growing concern, which Google acknowledged when announcing in 2020 that it would stop supporting third-party cookies in its Chrome web browser and create more privacy-focused ad targeting tools.

This means that financial marketers will no longer be able to use third-party data to target ads through Google technology, although advertisers can still use their own proprietary data with Google’s existing Customer Match product, according to the Wall Street Journal. This product ingests information that a consumer gives to a brand, such as an email address, and determines whether it matches data that Google already has.

( Read more: How Google Keeps Changing Financial Marketing)

This can be a boon for marketers, who will need to become more innovative and reach consumers without relying heavily on cookies, hyper-targeted ads, or massive amounts of data.

6. Out of sight, out of mind?

Between subway ads, Twitter promotions, TV ads, and more, it seems like you can’t go anywhere without stumbling across an ad for a fintech or neobank. Varo Bank even bought a Super Bowl ad. But what about traditional banks and credit unions?

It may be that more established names have less need to advertise because of brand recognition, and conversely, neobanks need to create brand recognition, often at the national level, in an area of more and more crowded. Neos often also have large pools of investor capital to draw on.

Yet banking providers cannot rely on brand recognition or a large branch network to advertise for them. With more fintechs ingrained in the consumer’s mind, often with distinctive names, the harder it will be for financial institutions to reclaim that share of the mind.

7. Diversity and inclusion

With the current social climate in America today, the importance of diversity and inclusion should be obvious to any marketer. And it probably is. But are banks and credit unions doing enough in their marketing in this regard? According to a University of Houston study, The answer is no. The study found that payday lenders are more likely to feature people of color in marketing materials, while traditional banks and credit unions are more likely to feature white customers.

The study notes that, “While African Americans make up about 12% of the population of Texas, almost 35% of the images on payday and lender websites were of African American models. … On the other hand, in traditional banks, almost 30% of websites did not have a single image of an African American model. Almost 75% of traditional banks did not feature a single photo of a Latino. “

Although the data is only for one state, nonetheless, for financial marketers, statistics like this show that there is a great opportunity to reach a large and untapped segment of the population that is currently struggling. served.

About Joan Ferguson

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