By Jaimie Hefelfinger

When was the last time you went into a bank? For many of us, it has been years. Long gone are the days of getting a paycheck in the mail and then braving long lines at the bank. Between ATMs and mobile banking, efficiency and convenience are key in today’s financial world. It was revealed in a study by Deloitte that Bank of America currently receives more deposits from its mobile channel than it does its branches. For our community banks, it is increasingly more difficult to keep up with consumer demand for innovative digital products. Additionally, there is more pressure coming from the national brands in our local markets. As stated in a  Barron’s article, the number of FDIC-insured banks in 2018 was a third of what it was in 1985. In order to battle against these large brands, local banks need to have a strong foothold in the community by adapting an aggressive advertising strategy. Our local financial institutions need our expertise on how they can utilize digital advertising to maintain and grow their customer base.

As with all digital campaigns, you’ll want to discuss your financial advertiser’s goals. A study by Harvard Kennedy School stated that what makes community banks so unique is their relationships. They offer more small business and agricultural loans than the national brands and play a large part in the real estate market. This should be a key part to the advertiser’s messaging, especially if their main objective is to battle against the national brands. Think about an evergreen awareness strategy to make sure their key differentiators are known to everyone in the area. From there, they can complement their branding strategy with more targeted campaigns. It’s common with these advertisers to have a number of different service lines (personal banking, mortgages, loans, etc.), so you’ll need to establish what they’ll want to focus on for their campaign as well as their main reason for advertising. Do they want to highlight their auto loans? Do they want to increase their app downloads? After you determine their messaging and goal, you can start to craft the ideal media plan.

According to a report by Business Insider Intelligence, 89% of US respondents say they use mobile banking channels, and 70% say that mobile banking has become the primary way to access their accounts. Financial advertisers know that mobile is key to stay relevant in their sector, but often, they forget to have a strong mobile presence in their marketing plan as well. Make sure you discuss the importance of mobile with your advertiser and, if it makes sense with your KPI, include some mobile strategies on your media plan. Some typical solutions include Hyperlocal Mobile, where we geo-fence neighborhoods of interest, and Mobile Location Retargeting, where we serve messaging to anyone that has been somewhere of interest (like an auto dealership.)

Let’s take a look at a sample media plan for a financial advertiser. Please keep in mind that this can be tweaked to meet your advertiser’s goals and target audience:

  • Audience Targeting (Demo: $50k+ OR Interest: Personal Finance – Financial Planning, Personal Savings & Investments, Online Banking): Target the specific audience using 3rd party data. We would set these up as OR statements to ensure we’re not limiting inventory.
  • Contextual Targeting (Finance – Banking, Personal Finance: General, Financial Planning, Beginning Investing) This tactic will allow us to reach users who are on personal finance related sites or sites that contain relevant content. Contextual will help reach the target audience while also driving traffic to the client’s site and increasing the CTR.
  • Hyperlocal Mobile: Geo-fence the client’s desired location or area of service. Running a Hyperlocal Mobile tactic will be great to drive site traffic (high CTR).
  • Private Marketplace Deals: Reach a variety of financial content ranging from Forbes to USA Today to Bloomberg to get in front of a financially minded audience.
  • Site Retargeting: Reach users who have already shown interest in the client’s site.

There is a lot of pressure on our community banks to keep up with the latest digital trends and technologies, while at the same time fending off national brands. By proposing a strong digital strategy, you’ll help to mitigate this pressure for your financial advisor.