According to Millennial Media, from 2010 to 2011, mobile ad spending in the finance vertical grew by 314 percent worldwide. Banks and credit cards, along with electronic payments, stock trading and insurance services, became the top global brand advertising vertical on the Millennial Media platform in the fourth quarter of 2011, moving ahead of the Retail and Restaurants, Entertainment, Telecom and Automotive.
The mobile advertising platform provider today released results of a study it commissioned with comScore of Millennial Media's global platform observations across thousands of mobile ad campaigns reaching over 300 million unique global mobile users.
Within the finance vertical, insurance was the leading sub-category, with a 42 percent share. This was primarily comprised of auto, property and casualty insurance campaigns, but also included health and life insurance campaigns. Insurance companies often used the mobile channel to let consumers get immediate quotes by inputting their information or clicking to call.
Banking was the second leading sub-category, with a 28 percent share. The top campaign goal was lead generation and/or registrations.
The study suggested finance brands are putting more dollars into mobile because people who engage with financial content and ads via mobile devices tend to be young (between the ages of 18 and 34) and affluent, with 48 percent having an income of $75,000 or better. Of these users, 55 percent are male.
Millennial would not disclose the names of any brand advertisers running ads on its network.
They also are brand-loyal, saying they're willing to pay more for a product they trust and stick to brands they like. This behavior creates a strong opportunity for finance brands to begin long-lasting relationships with younger users, according to Marcus Startzel, general manager of North America, Millennial Media.
When it comes to selecting a financial services company, Startzel said, "These are purchase decisions we make in these early years, stick with the rest of our lives and only change rarely. We know this intuitively - and the data shows that, as well."
More than 90 percent of the finance campaigns running on the network targeted audiences using specific device types. Millennial found that, compared to the overall mobile audience, mobile finance consumers were more likely to use tablets and e-readers, with the iPad2 the most popular at 12 percent.
When it came to content, comScore found that mobile finance users were highly utilitarian, with weather the category most often accessed, at 84 percent. Following that were maps (74 percent), search (69 percent) and news (67 percent).
The top audience targeting methods used by finance advertisers in 2011 were content targeting, tactical targeting, local targeting and demographic targeting.
While the obvious finance advertising strategy is to message against financial content, Startzel noted, "Mobile finance users are everywhere," on ad-supported sites including sports, games and news. That is where brand advertisers are running campaigns. It's much less about content and more about the audience."
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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