Financial services advertising: Linear TV vs. OTT

August 7th, 2020 | Lierin Melvin

Spend trends 

Ad spend decreased since 2019. 

In line with other channel spend trends during the COVID-19 pandemic, financial services institutions (FSIs) cut back national TV ad spend budgets in 2020. While over-the-top (OTT) media* spend stayed relatively flat throughout 2020, both national TV and OTT reported significant year-over-year revenue decreases, with spend on hit particularly hard. 

Ad buy detail 

Sports were, and will be, a saving grace. 

While both national TV and OTT reported year-over-year decreases, one month stood out. Ad spend skyrocketed in May thanks to the release of The Last Dance, an ESPN SportsCenter documentary.

Sports has been a top ad investment for TV, due to it being new content when little else is. As more leagues open, this trend will continue. 

When it came to product promotions, ads for credit cards, mortgages and cash advances topped the national TV list, with FSIs mainly advertising banking products on Hulu.

Top spend ads 

Creative approaches were the same, but different.

Many FSIs re-purposed the same creatives on both national TV and OTT, which created a sense of continuity for the brand. 

Discover pushed the same ad for its it card on national TV and Hulu. This all-encompassing approach, which ran during high-profile events and shows like Law and Order: SVU, helped maintain continuity. 

Rocket Mortgage had the most unique approach to OTT advertising out of the FSIs. It leveraged a purely branded approach on Hulu by sponsoring original programming. 

 Quicken Loans’ national TV ad dissipated an altruistic message to a vast audience. Its national TV campaign, which ran during the PGA tour and HGTV shows, placed its CEO at the forefront to offer assistance to its customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What we think  

A humorous brand awareness campaign can go far for FSIs.

While many brands aced their approach to advertising on OTT and national TV, FSIs only focused on specific products and had a more serious tone; very few launched pure brand awareness campaigns and incorporated humor into ads. To stand out, marketers should consider:

  • Investing in sponsoring original content on various linear or streaming channels.
  • Incorporating a humorous tone to ads, giving consumers a much-needed laugh during a difficult time.
  • Advertising on sporting events that are popular yet incorporate social distancing- like golf, basketball, and hockey- to capitalize on maximum impressions with less risk of cancellations. 

*Our OTT numbers stem from video ad spend on and are used for directional purposes.

Lierin Melvin

Lierin Melvin

Lierin Melvin is the Director of Insights at Comperemedia, overseeing content, client engagements, and insights for Financial Services, Telecom, and Insurance. Lierin uses her nine years of experience in omnichannel marketing to provide recommendations and industry insights for how to effectively manage full-funnel marketing campaigns.