Sector report: Finance

Insight from RAMetrics

Downloadable - RAMetrics finance image

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. With two thirds of the population (TGI Clickstream Mobile 2019 Q2) admitting that they are more aware of personal finance than they used to be - whether you’re a student scraping together change for your next night out, a first-time home buyer or a retired pensioner - financial advertising is a crucial source of information.

Analysis of the RAMetrics data shows that, creatively, financial services print ads are not involving readers as strongly as they could. They are slightly less impactful and score below the all ad average for recall (59% vs 62%). Subsequently, the story is the same across all brand and action measures among the total newspaper readership.

Given that not everyone is in the market for financial products at all times, we thought we would look at how financial services print ads performed among the people who did pay them attention. Despite being well-branded, it turns out people don’t find them very likeable or informative - on average they provoke lower than average emotional reaction and didn’t really convey a personal benefit to people.

Looking at gender segmentation, female readers are a little less likely to notice print ads for financial advertising (ad recall: 59% vs 64% for men). This is not surprising as they are less familiar with the advertised brands beforehand (familiarity: 32% vs 43% for men). Both genders find the ads equally easy to understand (37% vs 37%), however women generally find the ads less engaging. When it comes to action, women are equally likely to recommend a brand.

Next, we looked at two age groups, millennials (18-34 year olds) and adults aged 35+. Interestingly, millennials score significantly higher than the over 35s across every brand measure. Not only are they more likely to be paying attention to financial services ads (ad recall: 80% vs 61% for 35+), they are more likely to recognise the brands, they are more likely to be engaged and they are more likely to take action.

We also looked at how the financial services print ads stack up against the averages for print ads across all categories, specifically for millennials. Young people are financially aware, are 53% more likely to be interested in financial advertising than the average person (TGI Clickstream Mobile 2019 Q2). Finance ads have a higher impact (ad recall: 79% vs. 74% for all categories) and are good at grabbing 18-34 year olds attention but advertisers need to do more to keep them interested as they score lower across other brand measures (benefit: 22% vs. 25% for all categories, emotional response: 31% vs 32% for all categories).

We know that over the last few years, print advertising has increased in effectiveness, yet print advertising for financial services is not delivering this increased effectiveness to the same degree as other sectors. Scores are higher than a decade ago, but they are falling farther behind the best print ads.

Les Binet and Peter Field have found that the financial services sector has seen the steepest decline in effectiveness in the last decade, by analysing RAMetrics data we can see that unlike the category as a whole, newspaper print advertising is actually improving its impact for finance brands.

Looking at digital advertising, we discovered that financial services digital ads are more noticeable than other categories (ad recall: 27% vs 37% for all ads). For financial services digital ads, their strength lies in soft metrics like familiarity, but they are less adept at driving hard metrics which are more action orientated.

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