Advertising Strategies for Credit Card Providers and Banks

Advertising Strategies for Credit Card Providers and Banks

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The financial services landscape is changing. Whether it’s younger generations and the demands they have of their financial providers (we’re talking seamless digital experience, personalized service, alignment with values), or the seismic shift in consumer behavior and expectations that occurred because of the pandemic, finance providers are facing more challenges than ever.

In the face of disrupters and brand new entrants to the market, how can credit card providers and banks remain competitive? Attracting new business and retaining the customers you already have will be crucial.

It means taking new and potentially uncomfortable routes, featuring awareness campaigns and marketing strategies that aren’t generally part of ‘traditional’ banking. In a competitive digital landscape, getting the advertising for credit card providers and banks right makes a huge difference in driving engagement.

As well as the rise in fintechs and digital banking services, new tech like digital wallets are now part of the competition. Credit card debt in the U.S. reduced by 13.85% between 2020 and 2021, though at $357 billion it’s not an inconsiderable figure. Credit cards aren’t going anywhere soon, but credit card providers, just like banks, should leverage paid media as part of their overall marketing strategy to remain ahead of the competition.

So what types of strategies can you implement with the help of paid media?

Smart Advertising for Credit Card Providers and Banks

The banking and credit card industries have their own challenges and considerations when it comes to advertising. But understanding the needs of your audience, and how customer touchpoints differ compared to, say, commerce, makes it easier to grab market share.

Awareness Campaigns

Whether it’s building awareness of your brand in a new audience or new products in existing and potential customers, advertising is vital. Consumers experience a number of different financial situations and needs throughout their lives, and if you’re able to create a broad exposure of your bank or credit card company’s value proposition to a wide audience, you’re then able to retarget based on their engagement with your content. Brand awareness means potential customers know about you even before they need you.

Similarly, your existing customers might be happy with the cards or products they already have with you, but they may not even realize the breadth of your services. Which is where product awareness campaigns come in.


If someone visits a credit card provider or bank’s website, it’s generally because they’re in the market for financial products. But what if they don’t take it further than an initial visit? That’s where retargeting can help. While it’s previously worked by using cookies tracking their browser, they’re going away

Focusing on building email lists by offering a free download or webinar is key to being able to effectively retarget. We retarget people based on their engagement with content, for example, running a broad awareness style video to a broad audience. We can then retarget video views with a call to action — we’ve effectively built a small funnel that engages potential customers more deeply.

Retargeting works with email marketing, too. And with 59% of people saying their purchasing decisions are directly influenced by marketing emails, it’s something worth doing. 

Conversion Campaigns

Converting visitors to customers is something that all industries strive to achieve, but it’s slightly different in the financial services industries. Whereas in other industries the objective is to convert to a sale (often a one-time deal), credit card providers and banks usually build longer-term relationships. A successful conversion campaign will be the first step in reaching potential customers and beginning to nurture a profitable relationship.

The Benefits of Paid Media

Organic marketing is incredibly valuable for long-term results, but it takes 6-12 months to see results. Paid media, on the other hand, gets you traffic right away. Online media advertising spend in the U.S. alone is predicted to exceed $280 billion in 2022, with $67.4 billion of that expected to be on social media advertising.

It’s a hefty amount, but in a market that’s as complex and dynamic as it is competitive, it’s important to get paid media right. While strategies like content marketing are an opportunity to build relationships, think of paid media as starting with that first hello—the introduction that you’re hoping leads onto something more permanent. And with multiple touchpoints, paid media helps amplify your message to the right audiences. 

They might see a Google Ad for a generic keyword, for example, then get retargeted a blog post, subscribe to social media, engage with some content, and, ultimately, conduct a search for your brand on Google where they convert.

Paid media can be targeted down to minute detail of the audience and demographic you’re trying to reach. You can conduct tests with paid ads that help you hone your advertising even more to identify audience behavior and preferences. And you’ll find paid content easier to optimize, as you get impressions and clicks on day one, rather than waiting for it to get picked up organically.

Types of paid media that you’re likely to find effective include:

Google Ads 

It’s estimated that there are around 63,000 searches on Google per second. Making sure your business is front and center of searches relevant to your brand is smart, and paid Google Ads is a great way of achieving it. With 92% of the search engine market share, getting your Google Ads campaigns performing well is crucial. 

Google Ads is your friend here. A PPC (pay-per-click) platform, it lets brands create campaigns and ‘bid’ the amount they’re prepared to pay when a Google user clicks on their ad (CPC, cost-per-click). You can control campaigns, keywords, and budgets in as much or as little detail as you want.

Google Ads for financial services is well worth the energy. Just think about how many consumers are online looking for financial services, particularly since the pandemic when a lot of people realized they weren’t quite as financially secure as they thought.

Social Media Advertising

Everyone and their aunt are on social media now, so it’s no surprise that social media ads should play a key role in your strategy. One thing to remember when it comes to social media advertising for credit card providers and banks are the rules and legislation around financial services.

There are certain activities and methods that are restricted for the finance industry, so it’s important to partner with a financial services advertising agency that understands the intricacies of the industry, and the do’s and don’ts of paid social media.

Here are the four platforms you’re probably already aware of when it comes to social media advertising:

1. Facebook & Instagram

Facebook and Instagram offer advertising through one ad platform managed through Facebook Business Manager. Whether you choose to use one or the other (or both) depends on your audience, with Facebook demographics geared towards boomers and Instagram getting a somewhat younger audience.

Facebook is possibly the king of social media platforms, and its potential for paid media is vast. Facebook ads offer the potential to connect with some of its hundreds of millions of daily visitors to get your credit card or banking brand out there. As long as you choose the correct category that relates to your services (the Credit category is a relatively new one), you can target by multiple metrics such as location and shopping behavior.

No longer just a photo-sharing platform, Instagram gives financial brands like banks and credit card companies a creative way of getting in front of their audience. And creativity is key here. We know that a huge proportion of today’s consumers want more personal service from every business they deal with, and that includes more ‘traditional’ institutions. Instagram lets you offer them just that, with a more approachable, people-centric vibe

It’s not only ads, either, you can boost or sponsor your posts to make sure they’re seen by the most relevant section of your audience.

2. LinkedIn

Similarly to Facebook, LinkedIn lets you create ads and target them to the demographic you’re looking to reach. People are there building their professional profiles, so you can target based on their job title, what company they work for, and so on. This works especially well for B2B outreach. 

However, you can also conduct effective performance-based marketing and retargeting on LinkedIn. Expect to pay a little bit more, but the access is worth it for driving more effective leads.

In terms of advertising for credit card providers and banks it’s important to consider the difference between LinkedIn and Facebook. More people use Facebook as a genuine ‘social’ network where they go to be entertained, whereas they go to LinkedIn to be professionally informed. Again, this is where a financial services advertising agency can advise which is best for your brand, and the right combination to get you the best results.

3. Twitter

Twitter ads are actually promoted tweets that are boosted and shared with a wider audience than just your followers. Like other social media platforms, you set up objectives for your ad campaign, but unlike many of them, the cost is performance-based. Twitter also has a more active personal finance and investing community than say, Facebook or Instagram, meaning it can be easier to effectively target based on your business.

For financial services brands, the need to comply with regulations and legislation isn’t new. So sticking to the rules when it comes to advertising strategies shouldn’t be hard. Where the real skill comes in is balancing compliance with maximum marketing power. If you’re not confident in excelling at both sides of the coin, find out how we can help.

4. TikTok

Don’t write TikTok off as a kids’ dance app! We’re seeing businesses achieving real success with TikTok Ads. With over a billion monthly users, it has a rapidly growing ads platform with performance-based marketing (think actual conversions, not just views). You can reach a younger target market (like the unbanked or underbanked — 18-25 year olds) for much less ad spend, because businesses have been slower to adapt the platform as users. 

Additionally, the platform has built-in access to influencers, allowing your brand to develop a relationship and content with financial advisors, investment influencers, and build social proof for your product/s.

Display Ads 

Probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of ‘paid media’, display ads are the visual advertisements you see online. Formats include banner ads, pop-ups, and video ads, and this type of paid media offers high visibility and a broad reach. 

The Importance of Advertising for Credit Card Providers and Banks

The most successful advertising strategy for your business is likely to be made up of a combination of different tools and tactics. There’s no “one size fits all”, though there are certain strategies that are likely to see more powerful results than others, and working with a specialist financial services advertising agency can make sure you’re using the right tactics. Why not schedule a free strategy session to find out more?

Picture of Whitney Wingerd
Whitney Wingerd
Whitney is CSTMR's Head of Content & Social Media. She has two decades of experience working as an influencer, in digital and social media marketing, that she utilizes in guiding our Content marketing team.

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