This is part two of our two part series on Financial Services, Insurance, and the digital ad response to COVID-19. Read Part one here.
Big Banking Messages Safety & Security
JP Morgan Chase adjusted their digital strategy with the crisis on March 13th when they decreased their desktop spend, and increased their Facebook spend. The increase correlates with a video creative that already has over 17 million impressions. It says, “Like you, we’re closely monitoring news on the coronavirus. That’s why we’re doing all we can do to make sure we can help you handle your banking needs. If you’ve been affected by COVID-19 and need help with your account, we’re here to help.” However, it is clear they are routing users through the app or website – it would be nice to remind us there’s a live person I can get a hold of through that app!
When we search for the word “safety” in financial services creatives, we find a Facebook link post for Wells Fargo that states, “The safety and security of our employees is a top priority. We have updated our PTO programs, childcare support, short-term disability, and made a $10M grant to ease the burden during this difficult time. Click to learn more about what we are doing to support our employees.” The highlighted copy is, “Looking out for our employees while they look after our customers.” I think we all want to know our banks are taking the proper precautions, as I’m still visiting my ATM, with gloves on, of course. Putting my own selfish thoughts/fears aside, yes, I do care that Wells Fargo is taking care of their employees, and hope their commitment reminds others to do the same.
As of March 29th, we began seeing numerous creatives in the financial services category with the keyword “distancing,” Vanguard being the most viewed with over 500k impressions, serving a creative that says, “Tim Buckley, CEO, and Greg Davis, CIO, discuss Vanguard’s plan to ensure stable and strong service for you,
while also keeping crew safe through social distancing.” Although we found this creative on Facebook (on March 19th), it then directs you to YouTube to learn more: “How Vanguard prepares for the unexpected.” Well done, Vanguard; this was unexpected all right!
While new creatives have surfaced, conforming to our new reality, it hasn’t seemed to change digital advertising spend across the vertical. Spikes appear to be marked by new campaigns (that were most likely planned buys or were already associated with existing campaigns), and we aren't seeing drastic changes related to COVID-19.
Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is Still There
While we’ve noted new keywords popping up in the insurance category, what’s just as interesting is what we’re not seeing, as “COVID” or “social distancing” themed creatives are few and far between. That being said, they’re not totally absent, as found in two COVID related creatives from State Farm and American Family Insurance.
State Farm released a video on Twitter on March 27th that says, "If you're currently facing a financial burden, call your State Farm agent to see how we can help." The picture is a homemade sign through a home’s bay window that reads, "We're all in this together," and the copy at the bottom says "Feel just a little more... normal." The picture is really sweet, and we like the ellipses which seems to imply: “We know, what the heck is normal?” We seem to have forgotten.
Similarly, American Family Insurance released: "Coronavirus update: We are here to support you” on March 14th on Facebook.
Looking at top advertisers in the financial services category not much changes when we adjust our time frame from YTD, the beginning of March, or the second half of March, when the lockdowns became more serious. And while GEICO and Progressive consistently noticed the top two advertiser spots, the second half of March found TaxACT and H&R Block jump into 3rd and 4th respectively, topping State Farm in 5th, who has slowly and steadily increased ad spend on YouTube week over week.
Overall, for financial services advertisers, it makes good business-sense to remind consumers they’re empathic and sensitive to what’s going on in the world - key word being “business.” Being that Financial Services is one of the most competitive categories, they still have important jobs to do and can’t pause every campaign. As consumers, we have to remain insured, we still need to use our credit cards, we have bills to pay, and although it seems like a lifetime away, our taxes are still due July 15th! But that’s okay – we all have a little down time at the moment.
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.