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Pathmatics Blog

3 Insights Into Financial Services Ad Spend Strategies—Backed by Data

August 25 2016 by Jordan Kramer


Financial services advertisers spent the most on digital ads in Q2 over any other industry. But perhaps surprisingly, most of that ad spend went towards desktop, not mobile, in 2016. Banks, insurers and other financial services verticals spent more than $295 million on desktop ads in Q2 2016. They only spent about 7 percent of that on mobile and tablet advertising.

Why the disconnect? Which ad channels and sites do financial services companies find valuable? How are they executing their spend strategies?

Our data provides some clues. We analyzed the breakdown of digital ad spend in Q2 to provide deeper insight into the financial services sector’s advertising strategies. 

Here’s what we found.

1. Video Spending Is Eating Mobile’s Lunch 

It seems that Q2 financial services advertisers bypassed mobile/tablet in favor of video. Desktop was still the most popular channel, but video is trying to catch up: financial services advertisers spent $113 million combined on video in Q2. Mobile/tablet, however, accounted for just over $19 million. 


The top 10 financial services advertisers spenders garnered 2.6 billion impressions from video ads, but 2.3 billion from mobile/tablet ads. The difference? The top 10 video advertisers spent more than $22 million; the top 10 mobile/tablet advertisers spent just $2.7 million. This may be the case because video offers significant benefits to advertisers, according to an eMarketer survey. Forty-seven percent of respondents cited building brand awareness as a leading benefit of video advertising, while 34 percent said it delivered better engagement / interaction.

2. Insurance Companies Are Divided on Their Ad Strategies

Insurers are some of the ad spenders with the deepest pockets. In Q2, these companies occupied several spots on the top 10 spender lists for desktop, mobile/tablet and video. However, they didn’t all agree (at least based on money spent) which channels were most effective.


Geico, for instance, barely made the top 10 spender list on mobile/tablet (coming in at number 10). However, the firm vastly outspent the competition on video—topping the list with 17 percent of the industry’s spend at $19 million. The next highest spender, State Farm, was responsible for just 7 percent of spend on video.


While Geico also spent more on video than on desktop, State Farm, spent almost twice as much on desktop as on video. Another insurance giant, Progressive, spent relatively equally across desktop and video. While the company didn’t spend nearly as much on mobile/tablet, it did spend more than Geico or State Farm.

3. There’s Significant Diversity in Ad Placements

Across desktop, mobile/tablet and video, one thing is clear: financial services companies in Q2 tried to reach an array of different audiences. You can see this in the diverse breakdown of purchase channels on which ads were placed over the quarter. 

On desktop, general purpose media sites definitely play a role, with Yahoo and AOL in the top 10 sites by impressions. But sites like Realtor.com, Zillow and Amazon were also on the list. On mobile/tablet, Walmart.com and Accuweather joined these top purchase vendors. And while YouTube dominated video, ads also appeared on visual-heavy sites like ESPN, MLB and Hulu. 


These sites cater to widely differing audiences. It appears financial services companies either wish to reach as many people as possible, or see their suite of services as appealing to people from all walks of life. Either way, they certainly backed up those assumptions with plenty of ad dollars in Q2. 

Want More Actionable Financial Services Ad Insights?

Our free report, Top Financial Services Digital Advertisers in Q2 2016, has an in-depth breakdown of financial services ad strategy in Q2 2016 across desktop, mobile/tablet, video and content. Reading the report is literally like looking over your competitors’ shoulders. Download it today

financial services top digital advertisers

About Author
Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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