Pathmatics Blog

Financial Service Ads: How Credit Reporting Companies are Spending

February 16 2017 by Jordan Kramer
Whether you’re moving, applying for a credit card or loan, or just want to keep overall tabs on your financial profile - you’re going to need to know your credit score. Credit reporting services and agencies make up a huge industry dedicated to one thing: giving you your credit score and monitoring that score for you. Revenue for TransUnion in Q4 of 2016 alone exceeded $436M, meaning that there’s generous advertising budgets to fulfill that level of revenue.
Experian, Credit Karma, and Equifax join TransUnion in providing the same types of services in the credit reporting vertical. With nearly $38M spent between the four companies in 2016 across channels, how exactly were these credit reporting companies spending their budgets? We looked at how the brands dolled out their dollars per ad type between desktop, mobile, and video advertising placements, and which buying partners they spent the most with during 2016. Read on for our financial service ad insights.


The credit information and management company was the top spender of the group, shelling out over $15.8M on digital advertising during 2016. The brand got a return of 5.2B digital impressions throughout the year on the 329 unique creatives released across desktop, mobile, and video. Desktop/display was the biggest focus for TransUnion, consuming 92% of the brand’s total digital spend from January 1st - December 31st, 2016. Mobile and desktop video placements rounded out the rest of TransUnion’s digital budget.
As far as spend trends, the brand invested more heavily in the first half of 2016, scaling back efforts during the summer and picking back up slightly during Q4. Ninety-five percent of the TransUnion’s digital ad spend went to indirect or programmatic buying channels, with direct buys only consuming 5% of the brand’s budget. DoubleClick Bid Manager was TransUnion’s top buying partner in 2016, raking in 37% of the brand’s total ad spend. Google AdX + AdSense followed with 27% share, and’s ad network rounded out the top three partners with 20% share.


Spending about half of what TransUnion did in 2016, Experian Consumer Services dished out $7.7M during the year, giving them 1.5B digital impressions. The brand released just over 700 unique digital creatives in 2016, with the majority being desktop video creatives. Desktop video was Experian’s largest digital investment during the year, consuming 65% of their total budget. Desktop/display advertising followed with 27% of the brand’s spend, and mobile trailed with 8% share. 
March and April were the top months for Experian to release campaigns during 2016, just before Spring Break and Tax Day. With a heavy emphasis on video advertising, TubeMogul served as the top partner for Experian in 2016, taking in 39% of the brand’s digital spend. Direct buys were the second top channel for Experian, with 36% share of spend, followed by ad network Criteo with 7% share.

Credit Karma

Credit Karma released over 2,300 unique digital creatives throughout 2016, spending $7.5M across desktop, mobile, and video. The brand raked in 1.8B impressions - more than Experian even though they spent $200K less. The majority of their digital budget went to desktop advertising, with 79% share of spend, while desktop video placements took 14% of the brand’s budget, and mobile followed with 7% share. 
January was the top month for Credit Karma to invest in digital, coming right off of the holiday spending season as consumer’s grapple with their credit card bills. Fifty nine percent of Credit Karma’s digital budget went to direct buys, while ad network Google AdX + AdSense rounded out the remainder of their spend.


Spending over $6.6M on digital in 2016, Equifax released over 1,200 unique creatives, bringing in just over 2B impressions. The brand was able to get more impressions for their buck by focusing on indirect buying channels and putting only 10% of their budget towards direct buys.’s ad network served as Equifax’s top buying partner in 2016, claiming 44% of the brand’s digital spend and serving up 47% of the brand’s impressions. Google AdX + AdSense and DoubleClick Bid Manager followed as top buying partners with 39% share of spend between the two.
Equifax did not invest in any video advertising during 2016, but rather put 89% of their budget towards desktop advertising and the remaining 11% towards mobile placements. June 1st was the top spending day for the brand on digital, kicking off the brand’s highest spending month. 

**All trademarks & copyrights property of their respective owners.
Source: Pathmatics US Data, January 1st, 2016 - December 31st, 2016.

Want More Actionable Financial Services Ad Insights?

Our free report, Top Financial Services Digital Advertisers in Q3 2016, has an in-depth breakdown of financial services ad strategy in Q3 2016 across desktop, mobile/tablet, video and content. Reading the report is literally like looking over your competitors’ shoulders. Download it today

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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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