By Jeff Matteuzzi, SVP of Digital and Analytics

People often turn to banks for their service and convenience. Having a retail bank outlet and readily available ATMs is a principle reason often cited for selecting a local bank. Equally important but often overlooked is that people demand a bank that they can trust to hold their money securely. A recognized brand name and strong reputation in the community are the hallmarks of trust and often take many years to build. So, when we were asked to take a local NY bank – with strong brand recognition in its Brooklyn community – and attempt to use that brand to drive deposits across the US using limited online marketing only, we recognized a challenge in the making.

This local NY bank was over 100 years old. Many remember it as a community bank with an old and staid heritage – and client base. But few outside of Brooklyn had ever heard the name. While many of its clientele had likely retired to Florida, most left behind the institution when they resettled. It was unclear that any had heard the name. So how would we drive people to deposit their monies to a new, unknown bank?

We treated the exercise as we would a typical direct response exercise. First, develop a compelling offer and call to action. What were depositors craving – secure liquid investments at higher returns than their current bank offered? Most banks were offering no interest on savings or money market accounts so, even a small interest rate, if well positioned, should be attractive and compelling. So we looked at competitive interest rate tables and chose to match the most compelling rates available.

We also needed to build a campaign that would deliver amazing reach and highly efficient CPMs across the US. We started with a baseline search strategy that focused on search terms that aligned with our offers – “best money market interest rates” and aligned our ad copy and landing pages to respond specifically with our offers. For those that did not convert, we served new ads using retargeting tactics that reinforced the message and stressed the ease of depositing and earning more.






From there, we branched into display advertising tactics aimed at targeting individuals in context as they explored better returns for their deposits. And lastly, we tested premium rate table comparative sites to ensure that our rates were advertised and remained competitive.

While we inherently believe in the ability of targeted and efficiently purchased media coupled with compelling messaging to bring visitors to the site, we knew we needed to work quickly to enhance the user experience and ensure those site visitors were taking action. We set up funnel tracking to help isolate specific opportunities for improvement within visitor conversion paths. Based on the insights provided by the funnel tracking, we employed specialized software to automate the online forms as well as the back end due diligence that all banks must perform. That decision dramatically improved funnel conversion rates as well as the bank’s back office productivity allowing us to take full advantage of the scale that a national digital media campaign can deliver.

As with every DR campaign, each tactic had to be trackable and attributable so we could measure tactical performance. Optimization is re-allocating funds to the better performing tactics: i.e., those generating the best cost per qualified depositor.


What we learned was that the compelling offer trumped the need for brand awareness. Savers were anxious to garner some better returns on their investment with low risk and liquid investment vehicles. The opportunity to get a slightly higher return than they could elsewhere was a major impetus to securing their deposits. Moreover, some of the higher CPM tactics were more effective (lower overall cost per depositor) than what we had anticipated. The results were outstanding. In a twelve-month period, we were able to secure over $750 million of new deposits nationwide for a bank that most, if not all, had ever heard of. In month 1, we were getting a 800% return on our ad spend and by campaign end, we had garnered a 3,000% return. In short, with relatively few marketing dollars, we were able to drive incredible awareness and returns by using optimized tactics and compelling messages and offers.

Working Media Group is a strategic, data-driven media agency that helps clients to successfully navigate the complex media landscape and drive business results.