Sector report: Finance

Insight from RAMetrics
Close Brothers finance ad
Natwest finance ad
UBS finance ad
HSBC finance ad
Lloyds Bank finance ad
JohnLewis ad 1280


From mortgages to pension plans, ISAs and phone insurance, there seems to be a never-ending list of financial products and services available to us. According to the latest TouchPoints survey, two-thirds of the population admit that they’re more aware of personal finance than they used to be - whether you’re a frugal student scraping together change for groceries, a cautious first-time homebuyer or a retired pensioner - financial advertising is a crucial source of information.

Analysis of the RAMetrics data shows that although financial services print ads are memorable and score above average for all ads on recall (ad recall: 67% vs 64% for all ads), they are less impactful and score marginally below other brand and action measures.

Given that not everyone is in the market for financial products at all times, we took a look at how financial services print ads performed among the people who did pay them attention. Despite being well recalled, readers find them harder to understand and not as interesting as newspaper ads from other categories (easy to understand: 60% vs 69%, interesting: 46% vs 39% for all ads).

Which side is better, the left or the right? Financial services ads on the right-hand side of the newspaper have a slight advantage over ads on the left-hand side, as they get significantly better recall (73% vs 60% for left-hand side ads) and attention (36% vs 33% for left-hand side ads).

Similarly, image-based ads are considered more memorable (ad recall: 68% vs 60% for price-based ads) but readers find price-based ads easier to understand and better at conveying new information about the advertiser (easier to understand: 64% vs 58%, new information: 53% for 40% for price-based ads).

Looking at gender segmentation, male readers are more likely to notice financial advertising in newspapers (ad recall: 68% vs 63% for women). This is not surprising as data shows that women are often less familiar with the brands before seeing the ad (familiarity: 64% vs 54% for women).

Despite the lack of familiarity, women find financial services newspaper advertising easier to understand than men (easy to understand: 63% vs 58% for men) and generally find it more engaging. Women are also more likely to take action and create a conversation around a brand (discuss: 17% vs 16% for men).

Next, we looked at two age groups, adults under the age of 35 and those over. Interestingly, young people score higher than the older readers across all brand and action metrics, except for recognition.

Probably not surprising is that older readers tend to be more brand aware (branding: 43% vs 37%, familiarity: 61% vs 56% for under 35s). Younger readers on the other hand are more likely to be paying closer attention to the advertising and as a result score better across all the engagement metrics (attention: 45% vs 35% for 35+). 

And when comparing the performance of financial services ads in print and digital news brand ads, print outperforms digital across all brand and action measures. Ad recall is 1.8 times higher for financial services ads in print, and branding is significantly stronger too (ad recall: 67% vs 38%, branding: 42% vs 13% for digital).

Surprisingly, print ads actually drive higher levels of visits to financial services websites (20% vs 19% for digital). They are more likely to visit the financial services provider in person and more likely to make a purchase (visit advertiser: 13% vs 5%, have bought/will buy: 9% vs 3% for digital).

Evidence shows that print effectiveness is growing over time, however, RAMetrics data shows that print advertising for financial services is not delivering this increased effectiveness to the same degree as other sectors.

With financial anxieties running high during the current COVID-19 pandemic, financial services brands shouldn’t be afraid to take a reassuring stance towards their customers. Advertisers should resist falling into short-term traps and focus on prioritising trust and adapting creative thinking. To get the most of your financial ad investment, ensure that you review the above findings and consider the needs and wants of your target audience. 

We picked a couple of great ads from the financial sector in the gallery above - enjoy! 

View more RAMetrics insight.

Download .PPTX Sector report: Finance