Financial Industry Advertising Trends Q1-Q2 2021

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August 26, 2021
Financial Services

Key Takeaways

Digital Spend — Financial Industry Saw a Growth in Digital Advertising Spend. During the first six months of 2021, Canadian Financial Industry players spent +34% more on digital advertising than during the same period last year. While the investment has increased by +34%, financial companies saw only a +13% increase in impressions. Big 5 Canadian banks account for 43% of all financial industry digital spending. In monetary terms, this translates to $66M, which is 78% more compared to Q1 – Q2 2020.   

Budget Allocation — Facebook is the Preferred Advertising Channel for the Financial Industry in Canada. Facebook received 54% of the total Q1-Q2 2021 digital advertising spend, which translates to $85M ($60M in Q1-Q2 2020). YouTube was the second most preferred advertising channel for financial services players in Canada. During the first six months of 2021, financial companies spent $31M to run video ads, which is 244% more than during the same period last year. Desktop display ads received 70% less advertising dollars in 2021 than in 2020, pushing this channel down to third place.

During the first six months of 2021, Canadian Financial Industry players* spent 34% more on digital advertising than during the same period in 2020. In 2020 the combined average monthly spend was ~$16.6M, while in 2021 it jumped to $21.8M. 

*All brands and sub-brands that perform financial services in Canada, as classified by PathmaticsSpend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, search or behavioural targeting.

While digital spending increased by +34%, total impressions from these ads only increased by +13%. 

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, search or behavioural targeting.

The spending share of the Big 5 has grown from 23% in 2020 to 43% in 2021; the actual dollar amount spent increased by 79%.

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, search or behavioural targeting.

Capital One was the top spender after Big 5 Banks with $6.5M invested in digital ads. 4 new companies entered the top 15 digital spend spenders in 2021.

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, search or behavioural targeting.

In Q1-Q2 2021, BMO made the biggest increase in its digital spend (+300%) and invested $19M into paid advertising online. TD was the next top spender with $17M during the first six months of 2021. 

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, search or behavioural targeting.

Canadian Financial Industry players invested more than half (54%) of all advertising dollars were in Facebook, followed by YouTube (20%).

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, search or behavioural targeting.

Big 5 banks spending was very much in line with overall industry budget distribution — 58% of all advertising dollars were invested in Facebook and 28% in YouTube.  

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, search or behavioural targeting.

The top Facebook ad (by spend) was run by Scotiabank, the bank invested $1.7M in the ad educating its target audience about RRSP. 

Brand: Scotiabank
Spend: $1.7M
Impressions: 333M
CPM: $5.0


BMO launched the top YouTube ($2M) as which promoted mobile card lock

Brand: BMO
Spend: $2M
Impressions: 113M
CPM: $13.2

Wealthsimple aired the top desktop display ad. The banner ad backed up by a $385K investment invited Canadians to file their taxes with Wealthsimple Taxes.

Wealthsimple Tax: Free Tax Filling Software

In 2021 cbc.ca took first place in financial advertisers' preferred placement sites. However, it received less direct advertising dollars than the previous year ($3.3M in 2021 vs. $4.7M in 2021). Three news websites entered the top 10 placement websites list in 2021.

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, search or behavioural targeting.


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