We can’t deny that every industry has been impacted by COVID-19. Using Pathmatics Explorer, we keep close tabs on daily changes in digital advertising, and so far, it’s not all bad for advertisers. In fact, both the financial services and the insurance industries have adapted quickly, and their spend is holding relatively steady. In part one of this two part series, we'll investigate how tax companies have reacted to the pandemic.
H&R Block Offers Free Online Services
As the virus dominated news cycles in March, we only saw declines of about 2% week over week across the financial services industry.
H&R Block didn’t stop advertising on display & video when it was announced on March 20th that Tax Day would be pushed from April 15th to July 15th. If anything, there was a spike on the 24th, four days later. On March 13th H&R Block reminded customers “More students, parents, and people with unemployment income can file free with H&R Block Free Online than TurboTax.” Although, when looking at the timing, this creative could have been planned ahead of the crisis - but its message is eerily relevant now more than ever.
Exactly one week later, while H&R Block changes their tone slightly, not explicitly mentioning the Coronavirus in this video creative, but instead saying,, “Whew, there is A LOT going on. But we got this. And we know you need a refund more now than ever. H&R Block is here for you.”
Consumers want empathy and understanding from brands and H&R Block delivers.
TaxAct & TurboTax Aim to Educate Consumers
With a different strategy, Rival TaxACT does address the elephant in the room. The creative campaign they launched on Facebook on March 16th says, “Coronavirus is no joke. Neither are your taxes. You take care of you, and we’ll take care of the rest. STAY HOME, WASH YOUR HANDS, DO YOUR TAXES.” Hey, TaxACT, we appreciate the fact that you’re a straight shooter! And so serious. This creative does have the word care in it twice though….they must really care :).
You can’t investigate H&R Block and TaxACT without also investigating TurboTax. On April 2nd, TurboTax posted a Stimulus Payments Calculator on their Facebook page. While checking to see if this part of a paid campaign, we found that on March 29th they posted an ad about the new government stimulus package. The ad reads, “The new stimulus package has been signed into law, providing financial relief to individuals, families and businesses. Find out how much you could be getting and what you need to know.”
While the ad has been running for less than a week, it already has over 1600 comments and 500 shares. And on March 31st they provided a lot more detail about what customers need to know about the Coronavirus stimulus bill (CARES Act). It seems that for TurboTax, the strategy is to let us know they care by giving us all the information we need to make informed tax decisions.
Check back tomorrow for part two of this series, where we'll look at how banks and insurance companies are reacting to COVID-19.
A 15+-year veteran of the marketing and advertising landscape, Carey Fischer honed her skills in sales with mid-size and boutique ad agencies, successfully directing campaigns for major brands and clients. Carey joined the Pathmatics team in 2014, breaking open a new era of transparency for not only agencies, but publishers, ad exchanges and brands. She now serves as the Director of Sales.