December 21 2018

Social Media Marketing: Ad Spend Tips For Banks & Credit Unions

When it comes to advertising on social media, you have to pay to play, but defining your strategy is key. Not all social channels offer the same features and benefits, and your industry can impact your ability to be effective on each. As a financial institution, how do you choose which platforms to advertise on? Social media is a great way for banks and credit unions to connect with visitors about specific products, services, events and more. But, as a financial marketer, you must consider potential reach, advertising capabilities, budget allocation, audience needs and more to make sure your efforts are successful.

Advertising on Facebook

Facebook states that two billion people around the world use their platform every month. In fact, a new Pew Research Center survey discovered that in 2018, 68% of U.S adults are using Facebook. Even with a massive amount of users, promoted content on Facebook is seen 21 times more than an organic post. While an organic post can have 90 interactions, the same content promoted may get 1,930 interactions.

Facebook advertising is also an effective way to reach existing and potential customers because of its ability to define who is seeing your ads, and when they are seeing them, through Facebook’s intuitive management tools. This includes Facebook Business Manager which allows you to easily manage both organic content and promoted content on a comprehensive platform.

In Ads Manager, Facebook guides you through creating campaigns and individual ads - outlining your audience and determining your budget. These settings can be easily managed and tracked directly from the dashboard. For banks and credit unions, this means you can efficiently target specific age ranges for your individual products and services. As an example, you can use your budget to target ads about mortgages and retirement planning to users within the ages of ages 25 – 45. By installing a Facebook Pixel on your website, you can take a deep dive into your user demographics and interests and further your targeting efforts.

Instagram Advertising

Instagram is a popular platform that is owned by Facebook. This association makes it simple and streamlined to advertise on Instagram using Facebook’s Ads Manager, as well as directly through Instagram itself. This does not mean though, that merely putting the same ads on both channels is a smart strategy.

Instagram is a great way to target those younger consumers such as college students and recent graduates. Younger consumers spend more time on this platform than any other form of social media, according to redcode. Users under 25 years old spend more than 32 minutes a day on Instagram and users over 25 years spend more than 24 minutes a day scrolling through their feed. This makes Instagram a perfect platform to spend a portion of your digital advertising budget so you can connect with desirable millennial and generation Z audiences. In addition to Facebook, Instagram is a space where advertising dollars can go a long way if content is creative, visually pleasing and targeted at the right audiences.

Instagram offers financial institutions the unique advantage of humanizing their brand within their target community.  Sponsored, artistic content can be used to showcase your brand and behind-the-scenes activities – from community events to your customers/members, employees and more.

Advertising on Twitter

Financial Brand reported back in 2013 that “Twitter restricted the promotion of posts that could be used by financial institutions, including credit unions.” This remains true in 2018. In fact, when this was recently tested by attempting to promote a tweet for a credit union, an alert from Twitter read “Account ineligible,” with a link to the Twitter policies for financial institutions.

In their ads policy, Twitter states, “Twitter permits the promotion of financial services and related content with restrictions. These restrictions are based on the specific product or service being promoted, as well as the country that a campaign is targeting.” You can see the list of financial products and services covered by the policy, along with how these policies vary between countries.

twitter ads screenshot

​While there are advertising limitations, Twitter is still a useful tool for financial institutions, but you can save those advertising dollars for better performance on other social platforms. For a bank or credit union, Twitter is best used to share organic content and support your brand. This includes making important making announcements, addressing customer service issues, posting financial education events or articles, cross-promoting services from other platforms, as well as retweeting content to your audience from industry-related accounts. Using related and trending hashtags can help increase your reach among relevant audiences and the overall effectiveness of your messaging efforts.

LinkedIn Advertising

LinkedIn offers the ability for businesses to advertise on the platform through targeted ads and sponsored content. The main audience on this social channel includes business professionals and job seekers, but there is substantial overlap with other channels. According the Social Media In 2018 Pew Research Survey, 33% of users on Facebook are also on LinkedIn.  This provides financial institutions a distinct opportunity to promote products and services to this defined market.

Setting aside some of your social marketing budget for sponsored posts and ads on LinkedIn could support your overall campaign goals. It is important to consider the increased cost of advertising on this platform. As it is primarily business-to-business with greater ROI potential compared to other platforms, it also results in higher costs per click. It is important, as always, to keep in line with their advertising policies. LinkedIn does allow banks and credit unions to advertise certain content on the platform, stating that they do not allow “ads for payday loans, paycheck advances or any other short-term loan intended to cover someone’s expenses until their next payday.” To read more about their policies head on over to the LinkedIn Advertising Policy page.

When advertising on any platform, your audience will fall in one of two categories: those who are familiar with your brand or belong to your institution, and those who are not aware of what you offer. With LinkedIn, you will most likely be communicating with those who are either members, stakeholders or professionals in the financial industry. To safeguard your spending, it is important that the content you are sponsoring and ads you invest in on LinkedIn are speaking to these individuals. This involves posting and promoting relevant content such as membership benefits, educational or professional events, financial tools and resources, and other solutions along these lines. If you follow these guidelines with your ads you should see results with advertising on LinkedIn.

With this information, banks and credit unions will be able to strategize and plan their social advertising budget wisely, perform research on target audiences and more. Contact one of ZAG Interactive’s social media experts who understand the financial industry well and are eager talk about your social media marketing and advertising plans.

  • Paid Advertising
  • Social Media

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.
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