Five tips to inform banks’ paid advertising budget

In a digital world, determining where to earmark money is even more complex because there are so many avenues to take.

By Doug Wilber

“Next year’s marketing budget” has quickly become “this year’s marketing budget.” How you allocate your dollars could mean the difference between a record-breaking 2023 or one to forget.

No pressure. Social media can help you reach your marketing goals, but an organic-only strategy is a recipe for under-performance, considering organic content alone only has a 2.2 percent reach on Facebook, 5.3 percent on LinkedIn, and 9.4 percent on Instagram. To crush social media goals this year, your team needs to invest in paid social media advertising.

Determining where to earmark money has always been a challenge for marketers. In a digital world, it’s even more complex because there are so many avenues to take, including both organic content and paid advertising. Don’t overlook either, yet it is important to ensure that your marketing budget breakdown is designed to help you meet (and exceed) your goals.

Here are five tips for bank marketing teams to make the most of paid social media advertising in 2023.

1. Expand your social platform mix

Generation Z is moving deeper into adulthood and significant financial events, such as snagging full-time employment, buying cars, and purchasing homes. With this in mind, your digital advertising content needs to be where young people “live” online. Here’s a hint: They don’t live on Facebook.

That doesn’t mean you should abandon your Facebook page—far from it. Your Facebook business page is where you’ll connect with consumers from older generations and drive engagement with customer support and personable branded content. Your social sellers are just as valuable on Facebook, too, when their posts are targeted toward the needs of older consumers.

To get the most out of your strategy, you need to use a mix of channels for organic and paid advertising. An excellent way to determine which platforms to try first is to research your competitors. Find out where they’re making inroads and seem to be outshining your brand, then use those insights to drive growth in the areas where you want to be more competitive. We’re seeing more and more brands have success with Instagram. This might be your year to expand.

2. Incorporate short-form videos into your social content

From YouTube to Instagram, algorithm-driven, short-form video content will conquer all else in 2023. Almost half of Gen Z uses video sites, such as TikTok and YouTube, to search before Google. Video posts rank higher in searches, keep viewers connected with your posts longer and give you opportunities to humanize your brand while advertising. If you haven’t folded video into your bank’s paid advertising strategy, you need to explore its power sooner rather than later. Remember, though, that consumers no longer gravitate toward long-form content. They like “snackable” videos, such as Instagram Reels.

Of course, not all content has to be released in a video format. Aim for a mixture of video, image, interactive and text formats when you post. Then, track to see which type of content drives the highest metrics for target audiences. As you become more confident in social video advertising, you should see a boost in responses.

3. Think beyond brand advertising with social selling

Building strong, trusting relationships with customers is the foundation of financial marketing. Now is the time to take advantage of social selling. Put simply, social selling is the practice of using associates to post authentic content, humanizing your brand and leveraging their personal networks to form stronger connections with customers.

A successful social selling program involves intermediary-led organic social media publishing, but that shouldn’t be the only angle. Organic content helps cultivate richness and authenticity for the bank brand, but it doesn’t provide value for people who don’t know anything about your institution. A paid social selling strategy is an effective way to get in front of customers you haven’t met and who might not be following your social sellers yet. Organic social strategies build first-degree connections and engagement, while paid strategies provide wider reach and tailored audiences.

These two symbiotic strategies can have a significant effect on ROI in financial services marketing. According to LinkedIn, employees who regularly share content are 45 percent more likely to exceed their quotas, and their companies are 57 percent likelier to generate leads. Which is nothing to scoff at.

4. Experiment with ways to personalize your customer interactions

Paid advertising allows you to do more than just show ads to potential customers;. It also provides a level of personalization that’s hard to attain in organic posts. Whether you’re greeting them by name or collecting location data to recommend a specific bank branch near them, one in seven customers wants their engagements with financial institutions to feel personalized.

How can bank marketers ensure their paid social advertising feels more personalized and genuine? One solution is through highly targeted ads and corresponding landing pages. The more paid advertising content is targeted, the more pertinent and customized it will seem to readers. And remember, the right tech stack platform and tool can help you automate without overspending, so you don’t have to waste staff time and energy on routine tasks.

5. Double down on re-targeting

Privacy laws are moving toward limiting the use of third-party cookies, but you can still re-target ads via popular social media networks. Re-targeting lets you stay in front of a prospect or customer throughout their entire digital journey. With the right content and calls to action, you can drive more traffic back to your bank’s landing pages—and drive new leads into your pipeline.

The conversion rates and ROI of comprehensive re-targeting campaigns can be major. Compared to basic social paid advertising, re-targeting your ads can give you a considerable boost.

Juggling marketing budget allocation from year to year can feel overwhelming. Nevertheless, it is important to determine where to place resources to get the highest possible ROI across the board. Banks benefit when their advertising strategies include investment in expanding social platform presence, incorporating videos into  content, adding social selling to your lineup, personalizing customer interactions and leveraging re-targeting options.

Doug Wilber is the CEO of Denim Social, a social media management software company that provides tools to empower marketers in regulated industries to manage organic social media content and paid social media advertising on one platform.