Money Talks: 5 Insights from Financial Advertising Audience Data

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Veritonic Financial Industry Ad Index

Financial services is one of the biggest industries in the United States. It’s also, not coincidentally, one of the biggest advertisers. Marketers advertising financial products spent $17.1 billion in 2016, which is predicted to rise to $19.7 billion in 2017.

Was this advertising a sound investment? Most of the ads were undoubtedly tested with a variety of market research tools, including traditional advertising effectiveness techniques. But no one asked how well the audio in each ad actually evoked the emotions each company was aiming for.

That’s because music and audio for advertising has resisted measurement — until now. The complexity and subjectivity of audio requires marketers to apply new tools and techniques to evaluate their effectiveness. Fortunately, advancements in technology and market research are enabling this type of insight.

We applied Veritonic’s patent-pending technology and methodology to test ads from 20 of America’s largest financial institutions across retail banking, credit card, and investing segments. We measured emotional resonance and audience engagement across 8 different emotions from more than 3500 US Consumers.

This report shares what we learned, including the critical role that aspirational storytelling plays in driving successful financial services advertising.

Methodology

20 diverse financial institutions were selected to represent difference sectors of the industry, including retail banking, credit card issuance, asset management, and online trading.

Over 3500 panelists were surveyed in June, 2017. The panel was carefully modeled to reflect US Census-representative distributions of age, gender, ethnicity and race. Household income and data about a variety of other demographic and psychographic factors were also collected.

Panelists were asked to record their emotions as the ads played. Panelists were then asked about a generalized basket of other feelings and associations the music and ads evoked.

All emotions and engagement were tracked using Veritonic’s patent-pending EchoTime™ technology.

Finally, scores were calculated using a proprietary algorithm that combines emotional response, engagement, and Veritonic’s EchoTime™ data.

Findings

What did we learn?

The American Dream is alive and well, and driving US consumer attitudes.

The American Dream is alive and well, and driving US consumer attitudes.

Three of the 20 spots tested featured homeownership themes. Those 3 spots — from PNC, RBC and US Bank — not only ended up in a three-way tie for top score (77), they consistently received the highest scores across age, income, gender and geography.

The top scores in each sub-category are similar.

Across the three subcategories we looked at — Credit Cards, Banks, and Asset Managers — the top scores were quite similar. The top score for Banks was a 77 (recorded, as noted above, by PNC, RBC and US Bank), while the top score for Credit Cards was a 76 (American Express) and for Asset Managers was a 74 (USAA).

The top scores in each sub-category are similar.
Lowest overall scores for TRUSTWORTHY.

Lowest overall scores for TRUSTWORTHY.

But it’s not all good news: in spite of their ability to evoke Happy, Trustworthy is the lowest overall category. In a sense, this is unsurprising, given the press financial institutions generally receive. It’s also concerning, given both the relatively low differentiation between institutions, and the relatively high spend on marketing.

MUCH bigger variance than Quick-Serve Restaurants.

Comparing the scores with Veritonic’s Quick-Serve Restaurant (QSR) index, the financial services spots we surveyed have a VERY wide variance in scores. The difference between the top and bottom overall scores is 22 points (from a high of 77 to a low of 55). QSR spots, by contrast, have a much tighter range. That is, they have lower high end and higher low end, with a spread of only 10 points (from 76 to 66).

MUCH bigger variance than Quick-Serve Restaurants.
LICENSED MUSIC is NOT a Guarantee of Success.

LICENSED MUSIC is NOT a Guarantee of Success.

Three of the spots tested licensed well-known music for use in the ad. Santander used Joe Cocker’s “Feelin Alright”; Eastern Bank used “Join Together” by The Who; and SunTrust used the well-known song “Move on Up” by Curtis Mayfield. Santander scored a relatively poor 67 overall, while Eastern Bank and SunTrust tied with a 71.

To get the full analysis, or to include your ad in the next Financial Services Index report, please fill out the form.

Results

1. US Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
77
76
78
76

2. PNC

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
77
80
80
72

3. RBC

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
77
74
78
78

4. American Express

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
76
76
78
74

5. USAA

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
74
72
76
76
This report includes detailed data for the top 5 brands tested. If you’d like details on other brands or attributes, or to have your brand analyzed, please contact us.

6. SunTrust

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
71
74
76
65

7. Eastern Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
71
68
76
70

8. Fifth Third Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
71
70
72
72

9. Chase

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
69
70
72
65

10. Ally Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
68
70
72
62

11. Discover

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
67
65
72
65

12. ETRADE

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
67
65
65
68

13. Santander

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
67
65
72
65

14. Citi

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
66
64
72
64

15. Fidelity

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
65
64
65
65

16. Bank of America

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
65
60
72
64

17. Wells Fargo

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
61
55
60
62

18. TD Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
61
60
65
62

19. Charles Schwab

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
60
57
62
60

20. Capital One

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
55
54
57
54

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