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Pathmatics Blog

Top Financial Services Advertising Techniques in Q2

August 04 2016 by Jordan Kramer

Digital advertising is a major acquisition channel for financial service brands, from tax services to credit card providers, and each brand has heavy competition. The industry alone spent $307 million on desktop advertising in Q2 of 2016, which encompasses the end of tax season, according to Pathmatics data.

In competitive markets, each brand needs unique, engaging creatives to justify ad spend.

So what were the top creatives in Q2? What messaging and design worked for the competition? And what insights can we glean from top advertising strategies? Below is a sneak peek at top creatives, and where they led prospective customers.

Capital One Lets You Choose Your Card Capital-One-60-Seconds-3.png

Capital One, the leader in digital advertising spend and impressions in Q2 2016, directed its top creatives to a landing page that shows the prospective customer which cards he or she may pre-qualify for “in 60 seconds.” A majority of campaign creatives utilized the call to action “Find My Card.”

Other ads pushed different angles, such as the creative below that touts the “risk-free tool” to match prospective customers to different Capital One cards.


Each of Capital One’s top creatives appears to be a part of the same campaign for multiple card options, and leads to the landing page below.


Capital One spent $43,716,000 in Q2, more money than any financial services advertiser, and received the highest number of impressions at about 6.4 billion for an average CPM of $6.81.

TurboTax Touts “Free” and “No Appointment Needed” Options Turbo-Tax-Free.png

TurboTax claimed many of the top desktop creatives in Q2. Not surprisingly, TurboTax was also the second highest spender in Q2, which falls within the end of tax season.


A majority of top creatives centered on a campaign for free tax return e-filing, and featured prominent “$0” and “FREE” messaging. 

The company’s top creatives led to this landing page for a free federal tax edition of TurboTax’s product, which prompts the reader to “Start for Free,” throughout the page. It ran primarily between April 1 and April 18. 

Other top-performing TurboTax ad campaigns directed clicks to the same landing page for a free TurboTax product, but that messaging focused on “No Appointment Necessary.” 


TurboTax spent $36,014,100 on desktop and received nearly 4 billion impressions, the second highest number of impressions in the financial services sector in Q2. TurboTax spent an average CPM of $9.03 in Q2.

Geico Sticks to Savings

Geico-Vacation.pngGeico was the seventh highest spender within the financial services sector in Q2.

While Geico’s top creatives all align to the same message, similar to TurboTax and Capital One, each creative leads to a separate landing page. These unique landing pages match the visuals and messaging of their corresponding creatives.

For example, the first creative shown here leads to the following landing page:



Geico-Hour.pngHowever, the message of savings is conveyed through different visuals. One through a well-known Geico character, and the other through a bright, simple design, possibly aimed at a younger digital audience.

To the left is another Geico top creative from Q2, and below is this creative’s landing page.

Geico spent over $9 million on desktop advertising in Q2 and received about 1.6 billion impressions, at an average CPM of $5.65.


While Geico finished the quarter with the lowest CPM of all three, TurboTax hit the end of tax season in Q2 and was willing to spend more at a $9.00 CPM. Analyzing the competition’s top creatives not only allows other brands to understand what visuals and CTAs may draw the most customers, but also helps shape a more thorough understanding of each competitor’s top goals and strategies.

Additional Advertising Insights

There’s even more information on Q2’s biggest financial service spenders in the Q2 Financial Services Advertising Report. Looking for more free insights? Download your copy now

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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