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Vertical Targeting Series: Finance Campaigns You Can Take to the Bank

Programmatic advertising requires precise targeting and timely execution. And yet, for many verticals like finance, patience is a virtue. Many consumers are turning to digital sources to conduct research before making financial decisions and they are starting research earlier than ever before. When advertising in the finance vertical, knowing how long the consideration cycle is, and how it dictates the length of a sales cycle, will help to better plan for and manage your digital campaigns.

Finance products and services often require research on the buyer’s side and purchase decisions should be well-thought-out and informed. As such, prospects are reading—a lot. They are scouring the web for information, for comparisons and, for some of the less experienced investors, for guidance and recommendations. The takeaway here is two-fold: (1) people take a long time to make decisions involving their finances, and (2) they are looking for articles and information from knowledgeable sources.

If you’re currently running, or looking to run, finance campaigns, we have some tips related to format, audiences and devices you may find helpful. Let’s dive in…

Format Breakdown

A holistic approach is key for programmatic campaigns, and is true for the finance vertical as well. Finance campaigns on StackAdapt demonstrated that the use of native, display and video in tandem proved successful. Native did, however, take a larger piece of the pie—mainly due to the fact that the audience is looking for resources, and these types of informative pieces often come from native ads.

Audience Targeting

There are a variety of finance products and services, ranging from insurance or tax services, to mortgages or loans. This means that the ideal audience is also diverse, so your campaign targeting should match that diversity. Advertising a credit card to a new university student, and promoting a new mortgage opportunity to a prospective homeowner will require unique targeting tactics, audience segments, as well as consideration cycles.

The length of time a prospect spends researching financial services will need to be considered when building your campaign, not only for the length of your campaign, but also for which tactics you use and how to begin selecting your audience. So, how do you determine which audience to target and how long their consideration cycle is? Start with income.

Generally, with finance advertising, income is an important factor to consider when choosing the right audience to target, as you want to capture people with specific income ranges.

Advertisers on StackAdapt primarily targeted users with household incomes ranging from $50k to 75k. This income range has shown propensity to switch bank loan services, sign up for a mortgage, line of credit or a new credit card. This data has also demonstrated that this group of users is more likely to click on ads for financial services. So, if you are including income in your targeting, you may want to increase your bid for these income ranges, because you know they generally perform better. A great strategy to leverage for this is bid factoring.

Once you have an idea of what income range you want to target, you can start looking for your audience. Below you’ll see some of the popular segments targeted in finance campaigns on StackAdapt, along with a sample of campaign metrics to show their success.

These interest and intent-based audience segments can be a good point of reference when you are determining who to target for your campaigns. These custom segments have a customizable lookback window, allowing you to control how long a user stays in any specific segment. This is particularly useful as you take into account the consideration cycle for each of the financial services, and how long you want to target your prospects for.

Although interest and intent-based audience segments take a larger portion of the audience targeting methods for finance campaigns, there is also the use of custom segments, retargeting pools and lookalike audiences.

Custom segments in StackAdapt are built using keywords, phrases and topics you have identified that your ideal audience is reading (best mortgages, credit cards, etc.), and capture users engaging with related content. This can be a great mid-funnel tactic to drive a more qualified user on-site, and offer those resourceful articles that provide more in-depth information to the prospect.

Retargeting captures those users who have previously shown interest in your product or brand, and is a tactic to consider for your finance campaigns, so long as you are able to leverage pixels. And if you’re looking to really set yourself apart from your competitors, leverage dynamic retargeting to provide a personalized experience. Dynamically retarget a customer visiting your website and who is browsing through your portfolio offerings, with ads that personalize the content of the ad, whether native or display, based on the nature of their prior website activity.

Lookalike audiences are a great way to find audiences that look just like your ideal buyer, but may not be captured in the pre-categorized audiences.

It is important to also remember 1st-party CRM data. Often prospects fill out a form to get a quote on a mortgage or to get more information about a credit card. If you have a 1st-party list of users you can leverage, you can easily upload them into a CRM, like LiveRamp, to target for your nurture campaigns. You may even have an email list of existing clients that you are looking to upsell with additional services. For example, if you have an existing client with auto insurance, you may want to offer them home insurance, or another financial service you think is applicable to them.


The type of audience you see as the ideal buyer will also dictate where you target them. Given the shift to a mobile heavy environment, device targeting for a finance campaign will also shift depending on the age/generation of the target audience. An older generation looking for new investment options will likely be captured on general news sites, or with video ads, mostly on desktop devices, but increasingly through connected TV as well. However, a younger generation would be better captured with mobile device targeting.

Millennial Example

To illustrate how to tie these tips together in your finance campaigns, let’s use the example of millennials looking for investment opportunities. These individuals are very savvy, and highly interested in services that allow them to save on cost and increase customizability. If we were discussing television trends, these would be the cord cutters—they’re cutting fees and cutting out the middle man. They don’t depend on television providers to dictate programming, and they definitely don’t rely on a big bank to dictate the way they invest their money either.

As a result, this younger generation is looking for a brand they can align with and investing options that are simple to understand, navigate and sign up for. Unlike an older generation, this audience is not necessarily walking into a bank to speak with a financial adviser. This audience is digital—and more importantly, mobile—and is going online to find resources and educate themselves on what products work best for their needs. To capture interest, you will need to provide lots of content and video, to remove the clutter of how people traditionally buy stocks—so you can target Millennials that are less familiar about trading or investments.

These prospects are likely reading many articles before making any decision, and native ads are a great way to point them to the relevant information they need. When choosing your audience segments, look for 3rd-party audience segments related to investing. And as the consideration cycle will be longer, retargeting and dynamic retargeting will play a large role in ensuring your brand remains top of mind.

Taking Your Leads to the Bank (Literally)

This example was just one way that you might advertise in the finance space. That said, there are still some consumers who prefer to deal with finance related activities in person at the bank, even though they are conducting research online beforehand. If this is your target market, you need a way to track branch visits offline—that’s where a location intelligence platform, like Cuebiq comes in.

Cuebiq is a location intelligence platform that can measure foot traffic lift to your brick and mortar locations, after a prospect is served a digital ad. Cuebiq digs deep when it comes to providing metrics for your footfall traffic, giving accurate attribution to your campaigns. They collect over 100 data points per user/per day, creating the biggest and most accurate geo-behavioural visitation data available. Cuebiq is also GDPR compliant by ensuring no personally identifiable information is collected, keeping their data completely anonymous.

If you keep each of these tips in mind when building your finance campaigns, you should have no problem capturing a relevant and interested audience that you can count on for success. As the finance industry is highly regulated, it’s important to find a partner who understands the nuances and how to best run your campaigns, while staying relevant and compliant.

Reach out to your StackAdapt Representative to learn more about how to run your finance campaigns and to get a copy of StackAdapt’s Guide to Vertical Targeting.

In case you missed our Intro to Vertical Targeting post, you can find it here.

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