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Digital Tactics for Banks/Credit Unions

As financial technology (also known as fintech) integrates deeper into the financial industry, innovation is leveling the playing field. This is true not only for consumers, but for competing institutions. That competition makes it more important than ever for banks and credit unions to achieve more from marketing.

As these institutions consider how to complete new business objectives such as loan originations and account openings, it is important to remember the audience includes both current and future customers. This means it is not only vital to drive awareness through branding, but also to stay relevant through digital marketing initiatives. It is often a combination of both lead-generating and awareness-building marketing campaigns that can provide the pipeline to success. Let’s examine three digital tactics that banks and credit unions should consider when marketing.

Paid search ads

Google paid search (PPC) is often a primary tactic in digital marketing because of its low cost and targeting capabilities. While highly competitive, banks and credit unions with a marketing budget can quickly inject themselves into the top search results using strategic keywords and paying only for qualified clicks. Since Google searches are user-initiated, search engine marketing offers the ability to reach consumers who are actively in the market for your services.

Did you know that while Google reaches high-intent users, it isn’t only used as a lead-generating tactic? Yes, it is one of the most effective way for driving users close to a decision toward a conversion, but according to Google, search ads can also boost brand awareness by 80 percent. Furthermore, 65 percent of users who are searching for a product or service will click on a paid search ad. Another advantage of using PPC as part of your digital strategy is that it offers real-time tracking of ad performance and ROI and allows for instant optimization. When combined with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), PPC is an efficient way to get your message in the top Google/Bing search results.

Social media ads

Social media advertising can be another efficient tactic for financial institutions. While Facebook has recently enacted restrictions on financial advertising campaigns, those restrictions can be used to your advantage. For example, one of those restrictions is that advertisers must identify campaigns that promote an offer involving credit. This would include campaigns promoting credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and others. By following Facebook’s guidelines and identifying the campaign, you are also giving its algorithm a hint of the audience you seek. This can lead to improved campaign performance.

Another key to marketing on Facebook and Instagram is to capitalize on platform features like custom and lookalike audiences. When using Facebook’s custom audience campaigns, for example, financial institutions can upload their member/customer list to Facebook and match customer data to Facebook profiles. This allows those customers or members to be served ads that are exclusive to them as customers of the institution. This can be an effective way to promote additional services to current customers. Additionally, creating a lookalike audience from first-party customer data allows Facebook’s algorithm to go find people in your target market most like your current valued customers.

Competitive conquesting

A third tactic for banks and credit unions to consider is to attract current customers of your competitors. While this can be achieved through purchasing a list of prospects most likely to do business with your competitors, it can also be realized through a mobile conquest campaign. This is a campaign in which competing financial institutions are geo-fenced, visitors are added to an audience pool, and those potential customers are served display banner or video ads specifically intended to promote services and benefits they may not be receiving from their current bank.

Mobile conquest campaigns not only allow you to target competitor locations, but also to pinpoint the unique demographic of the ideal customer you are hoping to reach. Once a mobile device is seen within the geofence, it can continue to be reached after that customer has left your competitor’s location. This allows your institution to stay top-of-mind. Additionally, once a mobile conquest campaign is under way, the data can be analyzed by artificial intelligence algorithms to better define the people who interact with the ad, providing invaluable insights and improving the ability to further target your audience.

The bottom line

Of course, using these digital tactics for banks and credit unions to drive traffic to your website is only as effective as your website. Once you have gotten the customer to click on your ad, it’s crucial to make the conversion process user friendly and seamless. Conversion rate optimization increases the rate at which a customer takes a desired outcome on your website (e.g. filling out a loan application). CRO can be achieved by improving website traffic analytics, measuring bounce rates and time on page, improving the website design and using A/B testing to determine which changes have the most beneficial impact on the rate of conversion.

Banks that embrace fintech and its emerging technologies put themselves in a position to succeed. However, it’s not only about keeping up with the rapid pace of changing banking technology that is integral to success. The marketing must evolve as well. A carefully thought out strategy that includes digital tactics for reaching savvy consumers is a good place to start.

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As we bid farewell to 2023, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey we've had as an agency this year.