With the proliferation of social media, a constantly “online” culture, and mobile devices, you would think brand placement and messaging would be getting easier. After all, the average U.S. citizen consumes nearly 8 hours of digital media per day. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.  So how are financial institutions supposed to find ways to be seen and heard?

People are harder to reach

digital advertising and digital marketing for banks and credit unionsOver half (56.6%) of the U.S. employee population is now made up of remote workers. That number would have shocked experts and employers just a few short years ago. Today, many industries are scrambling to gather new data and figure out how to adjust.

Before the great shift to remote work, the morning and evening commutes were prime inventory. Billboards and popular radio programs were desirable placements. Podcasts were growing in popularity. And, of course, gas stations and public transportation depots were hot spots. But now, with more people working from home more often, these locations are not nearly as desirable as in the past.

It’s not just the morning commute that isn’t viable anymore. Financial institution marketers who turn fully to digital advertising are finding a new nemesis to their efforts in the form of the ad blocker. These handy applications are helping target “digital” generations ditch unwanted pop-ups, sidebars, and other interruptions on their phones, tablets, and even computers.

Over a quarter (27%) of the U.S. population has installed an ad blocker. But that number is hardly reflective of younger adults. You know, the “Netflix” generation? Those crazy kids that ask questions like, “Why can’t we fast-forward through the commercials?” or “Can’t you select your ad experience?” Nearly fifty percent (46%) of individuals 16-35 have installed applications that keep paid ads off their preferred devices.

If diverting your Google ad spend wasn’t enough, people opting not to commute and blocking paid ads are also ditching cable television. Referred to as “cord-cutting,” younger generations are choosing selective experiences through streaming services like Hulu, Disney+, and Netflix rather than spending hundreds of dollars a month on cable TV that is constantly disrupted with advertisements. As a result, Pay-TV services have lost around six million subscribers since 2019 and are projected to lose yet another twenty-five million in the next three years.

So, how are financial institutions supposed to reach their target audiences to build their brands? Surprisingly, digital out-of-home advertising has the potential to overcome many of these challenges.

Targeted messaging where you need to be

If lockdowns taught consumers anything, it’s to appreciate the spaces that aren’t inside the home. Part of that new perspective is helping people notice digital ads. Over fifty percent of consumers in big cities are taking more notice of messaging and signage. Whether billboards, kiosks, or even smaller placements, the screens draw their attention.

Part of the draw of digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising is how it has become part of the everyday environment. Unlike the paid advertising the younger generations actively block on their mobile devices, DOOH isn’t intrusive. Rather than gate-locking content or loudly interrupting someone’s social media feed, advertising boards are integrating into everyday experiences. Today, digital boards can be most commonly found on kiosks in shopping and transportation centers, menu boards, replacing old highway billboards, and ATM toppers at top-rated convenience stores like 7-Eleven®.

 Convenience stores are one of the most significantly growing segments of DOOH, attracting big consumer product labels and entertainment and vacation destination advertisers. These locations are also hotspots for public service announcements and, of course, financial brands. Why? Because Millennials and Gen Z love convenience.

Throughout the pandemic, only a handful of places considered “essential” were allowed to remain open. Local convenience stores, as suppliers of hot foods, snacks, and small grocery, were among the few locations on the list. Communities were able to rely on their local gas stations and corner stores to continue to provide them with a convenient way to grab essentials and maybe a treat.

 The result? Individuals 18-29 now purchase more meals from convenience stores than three years ago. Over fifty percent of Millennials now consider convenience most important when purchasing food. And food service now accounts for twenty-three percent of convenience store sales in the U.S. Even better? The majority (64%) of Gen Z prefers to shop in-store.

Bypass ad blockers with the real world

Pop-up and pay-per-click advertising might be hitting a wall as more and more people install ad-blocking technology. But eyes don’t have ad blockers, which makes DOOH much harder to tune out. Of course, it helps that these new digital billboards are specifically designed to support video advertising.

On top of a general preference for video amongst younger generations, the human brain is hardwired to detect and pay attention to motion. When detecting movement, a person’s involuntary reaction is to pause, watch, and evaluate relevance. In the wild, this instinct helped people survive. However, in today’s society, it means digital signage with video grabs 400% more attention than static advertisements.

The flexibility fits any strategy

So, pay-per-click ads, highway billboards, and radio spots are becoming the older, less effective route for advertising. Rerouting some of that spend into DOOH is a cost-effective way to target and test out other locations – by combining physical advertising with the online ad purchasing experience.

Bank and credit union marketers don’t have to bid on specific keywords and jump through hoops to lower cost-per-click. Nor do they have to spend thousands of dollars to print and install a message that has to last several weeks or months. Instead, DOOH lets advertisers select specific locations based on a retail brand name, physical location, city, county, state, or zip code. In many cases, it is possible to time ads for delivery on specific weeks, days, or even time of day.

But it’s not just the location that is so incredibly adaptable. Financial institution brands can choose precisely how many impressions to allocate to specific locations. So you can test ten thousand impressions at one set of sites and another ten thousand elsewhere. Or you can blanket an entire county with a couple hundred thousand ahead of a big branch opening.

And that bit about not being stuck with the same ad for months? Like online advertising, DOOH networks can push content faster than print advertising. Displaying different ads on different days of the week? Swapping out content multiple times a month? A/B testing messaging to see what grabs the most attention? These financial brand strategies are entirely possible with digital out-of-home advertising.

Financial institutions don’t need to become the victims of ballooning pay-per-click ad pricing or the whims of ad-blocking apps. Instead, Digital out-of-home advertising provides a cost-effective way to expand brand reach. With large impression availability, hyper-targeting capabilities, and extreme flexibility of content and delivery, DOOH is a versatile way for bank and credit union marketers to advance their institution’s brand strategy to younger generations.