Advertising Financial Services During Covid-19

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July 1, 2020
Financial Services

Key Takeaways

Content & Messaging — Product-Focused Conversion Ads: TD is the only competitor that is still dedicating a significant portion (13%) of their ad budget towards COVID-19 ads. RBC, and Scotiabank have almost completely phased out their COVID-19 ads while BMO only spent 4% of their ad budget on COVID-19 ads in September.

Scotiabank has paused all COVID-19 campaigns since July and is now focusing their efforts on their Direct Investing and Customer Acquisition campaigns, where they are offering a $300 welcome bonus.  

RBC has largely moved on from COVID-19 related ads and is now focused on advertising their True House Affordability Tool and has resumed their “Airpods” campaign that was run prior to COVID-19.

Content & Messaging — Provide Solutions to COVID-19 Related Issues: TD chose to advertise their “Unlimited Chequing Account” which offers unlimited transactions since the majority of businesses are only taking debit or credit card payments. Rather than explicitly talking about COVID-19, TD provided a product-focused solution to consumers for a common inconvenience that arose due to the pandemic.

Ad Tactic — COVID-19 Related Consumer Insights can Fuel Content Ideas: RBC took a consumer insight from COVID-19, which was that many students are now taking a gap year due to the pandemic, and used this insight to create an ad campaign. RBC created a variety of free resources to help students gain new skills during their gap year which helps build long-term customer relationships.

TD is the only competitor that is still dedicating a significant portion (13%) of their ad budget towards COVID-19 ads ($641K).

RBC, and Scotiabank have almost completely phased out their COVID-19 ads while BMO only spent 4% of their ad budget on COVID-19 ads in September.

BMO

For BMO, spending on COVID-19 related ads has drastically decreased since June, going from allocating an average of over 54% of ad spend on COVID-19 ads to just over 8% in July to September (-86% change).

Search spend excluded from total ad spend

While BMO has refocused their attention on promoting their personal banking products, they continue to push ads geared towards small businesses affected by the pandemic. BMO continues their series of Facebook ads that promote small businesses that have reopened or to promote steps these businesses have taken to ensure safety of staff and customers. They also continue to promote their services for small businesses who need financial help.

Top Covid-19 related ads

Ad #1, Ad #2, Ad#3

Top Ads (Aug-Sept 2020)

Video ad #1, Video ad #2, Facebook Ad

BMO spent majority of their ad budget on three major campaigns:

  1. Pre-approved mortgage rate plan
  2. BMO adviceDirect service and
  3. BMO Performance Plan chequing account

RBC

RBC heavily increased their ad budget in August and September (+248% increase over the previous two months) but less than 1% of that spend was allocated to COVID-19 ads, the lowest amount of spending on COVID-19 ads since March.

Search spend excluded from total ad spend

Top Covid-19 related ads

RBC has largely moved on from COVID-19 related ads, having only a handful of ads that are solely focused on the pandemic. Instead, they have resumed running product promotions.

Ad #1, Ad #2

RBC’s COVID-19 related ads are geared towards showing how the company has shown its support to essential workers during the pandemic as well as promoting their various blog posts and economic reports on the current financial market.

Top Ads (Aug-Sept 2020)

Display ad #1, Display ad #2, Video ad #1, Video ad#2

RBC’s top focuses in the past two months has been their “RBC True House Affordability Tool” that allows customers to prequalify for a mortgage in 60 seconds and resuming their “Airpods” campaign that was run prior to COVID-19. A new addition are a series of video ads geared towards providing financial advice/support to students. This video is timely as many students are taking a gap year due to the pandemic. 

Sociabank

Scotiabank paused all COVID-19 campaigns in July and has since then shifted their focus towards product promotions.

Scotiabank has paused all COVID-19 campaigns and is now allocating the majority of their budget towards direct investing and customer acquisition ($300 welcome bonus) campaigns.

Top Campaign (Aug-Sept 2020): Direct Investing

Ad #1, Ad #2, Ad#3

Copy highlights how easy it is to sign up for direct investing - “three easy steps”. Ad uses a “Open an Account” CTA to increase sign ups. Facebook copy highlights the fact that users can get self-started and invest at home - touching on the topic of COVID-19.

Top Campaign (Aug-Sept 2020): Customer Acquisition

Ad #1, Ad #2

Scotiabank is offering new customers a “300 Welcome Bonus” as part of their customer acquisition campaign. The Facebook ad ($4.37) had a significantly cheaper CPM compared to the display creative ($23.96).

TD

For TD, spending on COVID-19 related ads has started to pick up in recent months. In September, TD launched a COVID-19 brand awareness video campaign featuring a local restaurant business which had to close during the pandemic. 

TD launched a YouTube campaign where they gave back to a local business who has demonstrated community leadership during the pandemic, showcasing the brand’s ongoing support for the community. 

Top COVID-19 Related Ads (Aug-Sept 2020)

Video #1, Video #2, Facebook ad

TD launched two versions of their video campaign - a 15 second video and an in-depth interview video which was almost 2 minutes long. Test various video length formats to see which length resonates with your audience.

Top Ad (Aug-Sept 2020)

Video ad

TD launched a YouTube campaign advertising their TD Unlimited Chequing Account, where users can get a $300 welcome bonus. Although the ad focused on the product, TD highlighted a common situation that arose due to the pandemic, where many businesses are accepting credit or debit payments only.

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