Financial Industry Advertising Trends in 2021

Advertising
Content & Messaging
Paid Search
November 8, 2021
Financial Services

Key Takeaways

From November 2020 to October 2021, the Big 5 Canadian banks saw a +28% increase in average digital spends YoY. Into November 2020 to October 2021, BMO saw the highest ad spend at $75M while RBC saw the highest growth in ad spend with an +118% increase YoY. 

Digital Ad Trends: 

  • Spending: In November 2020 to October 2021, Search ads saw the highest allocation in spend across the Big 5 yielding a +44% spend increase over Facebook, Display and YouTube combined. However, YoY YouTube has seen the largest increase (+161%) in spend while Display has seen a -6% decrease. 
  • Mobile vs Desktop: As of October 2021, only BMO and RBC are allocating over 50% of their search spend budget to mobile over desktop. TD, Scotiabank and CIBC are still contributing over 50% of search spends to desktop.
  • Creative Volume: On average, the Big 5 are testing 831 creatives at a time per month. 
  • Creative Themes: From November 2020 to October 2021, the Big 5 Banks have used a variety of content themes to communicate different messages such as Product & Benefits, Welcome Promotions, Investments, Insurance and Mortgage. 
  • Promotion: All Big Five Banks except RBC’s top promotion spends have pushed cash value or reward earnings when creating new accounts. Only RBC’s top promotion spend features the use of iPads and Airpods to incentivize new customers.

From November 2020 to October 2021, the Big 5 Canadian banks saw a +28% increase in average digital spends YoY. 

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From November 2020 to October 2021, BMO saw the highest ad spend at $75M while RBC saw the highest growth in ad spend with an +118% increase YoY. 

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

In November 2020 to October 2021, Search ads saw the highest allocation in spend across the Big 5 yielding a +44% spend increase over Facebook, Display and YouTube combined. However, YoY YouTube has seen the largest increase (+161%) in spend while Display has seen a -6% decrease. 

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

Product & Benefits, Welcome Promotions and Investment creatives are the largest themes seen throughout ads across the Big 5. 

BMO

BMO saw a +44% increase in ad spend YoY. From Nov. ‘19 to Oct. ‘21, YouTube saw the highest spend increase (+838%) and Display saw the lowest (-4%).

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From November 2020 to October 2021, BMO allocated it’s top 10 spend to eight new sites. Only finance.yahoo.com and kitco.com were maintained YoY with a +529% and -437% respective changed in ad spend. 

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

Over the past two years, BMO has allocated 54% of their Search budget towards mobile devices. Into 2021, mobile still garners the primary spend over desktop with a +9% increase YoY.

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From November 2020 to October 2021, BMO’s highest ad theme across all channels was Welcome Promotions at 31%, followed by Product & Benefits (23%) and Investment (18%).

Search ad content accounts for September 2021 only due to higher creative volumes compared to other channels.

See below for examples of BMO’s top ad spends under the following creative themes:

Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2 | Ad Link #3
Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2
Ad Link #1 | Ad link #2
Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From Q4 2019 to Q3 2021, BMO has seen an average of 500 creatives running per quarter.* Q1 2021 saw the largest amount of unique ads run at 807 creatives.

*Not including search ads

To incentivize new clients, BMO offers a variety of perks that prospects can attain by opening an account or starting a service. BMO’s top spends from November 2020 to October 2021 indicate a focus on earning points and no annual fees as well as cash values, ie. “Get $300”. 

Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2 | Ad Link #3

TD

TD saw an +6% increase in ad spend YoY. From Nov. ‘19 to Oct. ‘21, Display saw the highest spend increase (+72%) and YouTube saw the lowest (-38%).

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From November 2020 to October 2021, TD reduced ad spend on one site autotrader.ca by -58%. The highest increase was for the site 51.ca at +657%

Over the past two years, TD has allocated 53% of their Search budget towards desktop devices. However into 2021, desktop has seen a -5% decrease in spend while mobile has seen a +6% increase in spend. 

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From November 2020 to October 2021, TD’s highest ad theme across all channels  was Welcome Promotion at 24%, followed by Product & Benefits (22%) and Investment (21%).

Search ad content accounts for September 2021 only due to higher creative volumes compared to other channels.

See below for examples of TD’s top ad spends under the following creative themes:

Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2 | Ad Link #3
Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2
Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2
Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From Q4 2019 to Q3 2021, TD has seen an average of 1.7K creatives running per quarter.* Q2 2021 saw the largest amount of unique ads run at 2K creatives.

*Not including search ads

To incentivize new clients, TD offers a variety of perks that prospects can attain by opening an account or starting a service. TD’s top spends from November 2020 to October 2021 indicate a focus on cash values, ie. “Get $300”, savings “pay no annual fee” and travel perks with Aeroplan. 

Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2 | Ad Link #3 | Ad Link #4 | Ad Link #5
Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

Scotiabank

Scotiabank saw an +2% increase in ad spend YoY. From Nov. ‘19 to Oct. ‘21, YouTube saw the highest spend increase (+526%) and Display saw the lowest (-57%).

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From November 2020 to October 2021, Scotiabank decreased it’s spend on four sites nhl.com (-31%), goodhousekeeping.com (-84%), delish.com (-82%) and healthline.com (-89%).

Over the past two years, Scotiabank has allocated 51% of their Search budget towards desktop devices. Into 2021, both desktop and mobile search ads have seen decreases in spend by -5% and -33% respectively. 

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From November 2020 to October 2021, Scotiabank’s highest ad theme across all channels  was Product & Benefits at 38%, followed by Welcome Promotions (35%) and Business (6%).

Search ad content accounts for September 2021 only due to higher creative volumes compared to other channels.

See below for examples of Scotiabank’s top ad spends under the following creative themes:

Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2 | Ad Link #3
Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2
Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From Q4 2019 to Q3 2021, Scotiabank has seen an average of 428 creatives running per quarter.* Q4 2019 saw the largest amount of unique ads run at 693 creatives.

*Not including search ads

To incentivize new clients, Scotiabank offers a variety of perks. Scotiabank’s top spends from November 2020 to October 2021 indicate a focus on cash values, ie. “Get $300”, savings, ie. “pay no annual fee” and extra cash back and rewards.

Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2 | Ad Link #3 | Ad Link #4 | Ad Link #5

CIBC

CIBC saw an +8% increase in ad spend YoY. From Nov. ‘19 to Oct. ‘21, YouTube saw the highest spend increase (+140%) and Facebook saw the lowest (-21%).

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From November 2020 to October 2021, CIBC increased it’s spend on top four sites from 2020. Only timesofindia.indiatimes.com saw a spend decrease by -84%

Over the past two years, CIBC has allocated 56% of their Search budget towards desktop devices. Into 2021, desktop saw a higher spend increase of +5% YoY.

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From November 2020 to October 2021, CIBC’s highest ad theme across all channels  was Product & Benefits at 40%, followed by Welcome Promotions (23%) and Mortgage (14%).

Search ad content accounts for September 2021 only due to higher creative volumes compared to other channels.

See below for examples of CIBC’s top ad spends under the following creative themes:

Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2 | Ad Link #3
Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2
Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21
Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2
Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From Q4 2019 to Q3 2021, CIBC has seen an average of 624 creatives running per quarter.* Q4 2019 saw the largest amount of unique ads run at 762 creatives.

*Not including search ads

To incentivize new clients, CIBC offers a variety of perks. CIBC’s top spends from November 2020 to October 2021 indicate a focus on redeemable values, ie. “$1,200 when you join”, as well as tangible gifts such as $100 Amazon gift cards.

Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2 | Ad Link #3
Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

RBC

RBC saw an +118% increase in ad spend YoY. From Nov. ‘19 to Oct. ‘21, Search saw the highest spend increase (+240%) and Display saw the lowest (-46%).

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From November 2020 to October 2021, RBC reduced it’s spend on 4 top display sites and increased it’s spend on finance.yahoo.com by +22%.

Over the past two years, RBC has allocated 57% of their Search budget towards mobile devices. Into 2021, mobile still garners the primary spend over desktop with a +260% increase YoY.

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

From November 2020 to October 2021, RBC’s highest ad theme across all channels was Welcome Promotions at 27%, followed by Product & Benefits (23%) and Investment (13%).

Search ad content accounts for September 2021 only due to higher creative volumes compared to other channels.

See below for examples of RBC’s top ad spends under the following creative themes:

Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2 | Ad Link #3
Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2
Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2

From Q4 2019 to Q3 2021, RBC has seen an average of 925 creatives running per quarter.* Q4 2019 saw the largest amount of unique ads run at 1.2K creatives.

*Not including search ads

To incentivize new clients, RBC offers a variety of perks. RBC’s top spends from November 2020 to October 2021 indicate a focus on tangible products such as an iPad or Airpods as well as cash values, ie. “Get $300”.

Ad Link #1 | Ad Link #2 | Ad Link #3
Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. *Nov. ‘19 - Oct. ‘21

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