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Brand Spotlight: Visa

February 09 2018 by Jordan Kramer
Want to pay like a champion? Visa sure hopes so. The NFL sponsor (since 1995) has been continuing campaigns featuring notable football stars leading up to the Super Bowl. The credit card company has been focusing much of their digital advertising efforts to promote their contactless, tap-to-pay service that allows you to “get back to football faster.” 
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As advertisers in the Financial Services category shift more dollars to social, brands like Visa are leading the way. Here’s a look at how Visa has been advertising over the last thirty days, and how their strategy compares to competitors within the space.

Social Accounts For Half of Visa’s Ad Spend

Nearly half of Visa’s digital advertising spend across display, mobile, video and social went towards Facebook mobile over the last thirty days. The brand has been running a social heavy strategy for the last year, taking up the largest piece of Visa’s spend share. Display advertising accounted for a third of the credit card company’s digital spend during the last month, with desktop video taking up the majority of the remaining share.
On January 30th, Visa released the carousel-style link post on Facebook mobile to kick-off their Super Bowl campaigns. The creative pointed consumers to this landing page for their Contactless credit card service, encouraging you to “tackle your Super Bowl to-do list faster.” 
The social creative coincided with video advertising campaigns featuring NFL players like Larry Fitzgerald also promoting the Contactless service. This desktop video creative ran on Fox Sports during the month of January directing consumers to the same landing page.
Overall, 83% of Visa’s unique creatives over the last thirty days were on social. The majority of those were football themed in an attempt to make the most out of their NFL sponsorship. 

Visa and AmEx Go For Social, While MasterCard & Discover Favor Display

Visa isn’t the only credit card company using social in their digital advertising mix. American Express leads the credit card sector in social spend, dedicating upwards of 80% of their digital budget to Facebook mobile during the last thirty days. Social spend for AmEx rose steadily during 2017 before peaking during the month of December to reach holiday spenders. Promoting the American Express OPEN Plum card, the brand offered welcome incentives for new cardholders including early-pay discounts and cash back bonuses.
Looking at MasterCard & Discover’s ad strategies, social played a lesser role in their campaigns over the last month. Both brands invested heavily on display while putting less than ten percent of their digital spend to Facebook mobile advertising. Over the last year, each brand spent closer to 20-25% of the their budget on social, but still the majority of their focus has been on desktop display. Will MasterCard and Discover Financial Services take a play from their competitors’ book and increase social spend before they get to the two minute warning and it’s too late? Time will tell.

Opportunities for Credit Card Companies

Where are brands like Visa, American Express, MasterCard, and Discover running ads? All four advertisers are being placed on sites including E! Online (led by MasterCard) and LyricsMode (led by AmEx). Three out of the four brands are running on:
Where are some of these brands not advertising? Because MasterCard and Discover are both leaning towards display advertising, they have more site overlap than the others. Condé Nast sites are a big target for MasterCard including Wired, New Yorker, Pitchfork, and Teen Vogue. Discover is the only other credit card company running ads on those sites, but with relatively little spend.
Discover is running unopposed on Reddit, NHL, Chegg, Amazon, and Sam’s Club showing that the brands are finding niche spaces online to target their audience. YouTube is another top publisher that is being missed out on by Visa and MasterCard, leaving room for Discover and AmEx to make their mark. AmEx is even going deeper by running creatives on specific popular YouTube channels like Saturday Night Live’s channel.

See Visa's Full Digital Advertising Strategy [Free Report] 

For more insights from Visa's strategy, including creative details, top sites, and device-type breakdown, download the latest Brand of the Week Report below.

Download Visa's Digital Ad Strategy

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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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