Ad Design Secrets for Financial Service Advertising

by Henningh van Schoor

We make ads to help us reach specific business goals and spend hours tweaking and refining every detail to design the perfect ad. Reaching customers interested in financial services isn’t easy, there’s a lot of competition. Naturally, you want to beat your rivals. See your ad perform, and gain the customer.

With the right principles, techniques, and secrets (shhhhh don’t tell) you can create unstoppable ads that perform at the highest level. Ads that help you to exceed your business goals for months to come.

In this post, we will look at everything you need to know to start designing high performing ads. Ready? Let’s get into it…


Popular ad design styles for financial service providers

Next time you see an ad by a financial service provider, take a closer look. More often than not, the ad will be designed according to one of these nine styles:

  1. Numbers & Stats
  2. Testimonial
  3. Awards
  4. Benefits
  5. Product Demo (Steps)
  6. Before & After
  7. FAQ
  8. Recognizable Logos

Let’s examine each style.


Numbers and Stats Ad

As you might have guessed, this is an ad containing numbers and stats that relate to your business, service, customers, competitors, or industry. Ads that contain numbers and stats are extremely persuasive because customers generally trust numbers and respond to evidence.



The Statistics Appeal is best used when you have numerical data and statistics that you can directly correlate to the success or quality of your product or service. Luckily financial service providers do not have a shortage of numbers and stats to use in their ads.

In the example below, PayPal makes use of numbers and stats in their ad design to attract businesses that can benefit by using their service to expand and increase their conversion rates.

It’s important to use this ad style ethically and showcase numbers and stats that are true. Failing to do so can hurt your public relations and get you into trouble.


Testimonial Ad

Inherently humans make decisions based on the experiences of others. We let their value judgments inform our own so that we can avoid wasting time and resources after making a poor decision.

Testimonial ads speak directly to this instinctive bias of ours, and that’s why they’re so effective.

This ad design is perfect for any financial service provider, from debt counselling to investment management, customer testimonials can work for you.

In our experience, using this style of ad design can be very effective, especially when shown to customers that have already warmed up to your business. For example, someone who is at the decision-making stage. They have seen your brand awareness ad. They know a little bit about the services that you provide. Now they are ready for a remarketing campaign that contains your testimonial ad.



Outsurance is a financial service provider that makes good use of testimonial ad designs. Since the ads featured are advertising life insurance, the design contains a diverse mix of families (think of your audience), as well as the customer’s name, age, insurance, and premium.


Potential clients seeing this ad now know that:

  1. Other families trust this life insurance.
  2. They can benefit from paying the same competitive premium.


Pro Tip: Make sure that you use detailed audience targeting and a creative design that matches the audience being advertised to.

And again, this should go without saying, but don’t make up your testimonials. The real deal works. The outright lies will get you in trouble.


Awards Ad

Are you running an award-winning business? Then show it off!

Awards are only handed out to the top performers, and customers know this. Therefore, boasting with award ads can instantly increase your credibility and might just be the nudge your potential customer needed.

When designing ads that feature your achievements, be sure to target your audience carefully. The relevance of the award should be obvious to people seeing your ad design. If they can’t instantly figure out why the award(s) make you the better choice for them, then this style of ad design might not work as intended.


Benefits Ad

Benefits are the outcomes or results that users will (hopefully) experience by using your financial services – the real reason why people become customers or clients.

People buy things to solve their problems. Your product might have a ton of cool features, but the end-user, the customer, cares about what it will mean for them (features vs. benefits). Is it the solution that they’re desperately searching for?



So when designing your ads think of your customer as the hero in a story (Luke Skywalker), and you’re the mentor (Yoda) that helps the hero to succeed. This approach will help you to think through your customer’s story, and as a result, you will come up with the benefits that matter most to them. Incorporate these in your ad designs, you must (see what I did there.)

Nedbank’s ad is a great example! What benefit do you think is being advertised?… It almost seems like a silly question considering how obvious the answer is (guaranteed capital growth of 7,25%.)

But that’s the point. This ad design is effective because it is clear and the benefit is compelling.


Product Demo (Steps)  Ad

If your customers don’t know how your service works, then it’s hard for them to see a reason to become a buyer. Take a look at your website, you probably have all the right ingredients to make a super compelling product demo (steps) ad already. Do you highlight the steps involved in using your financial service on your website?

Product demo ads work best in a video format, but with a little creativity, it’s not hard to design an image or two that does just as well. Take a look at the ad below…



Here, FNB uses a carousel to display the qualifying criteria (similar to steps) for their COVID-19 loan scheme. This ad design is extremely user friendly, which customers will love. And since the qualifying criteria is laid out so nicely, the number of unqualified leads is reduced, saving the sales team from making thousands of wasted phone calls.


Before & After Ad

“This was Jessica two months ago, and THIS is her now!” We’re all familiar with the conventional weight-loss before and after pics used to advertise diets and supplements.

Any company selling aesthetic improvement instantly jumps at the chance to use a before and after ad, but they’re not the only ones who get to use this design. Financial service providers can profit by designing imaginative before and after ads too!



Adyen is a Dutch payment company that allows businesses to accept e-commerce, mobile, and point-of-sale payments. In this example they make creative use of the before and after ad design to illustrate how payments are moving away from wallets (before) to digital mobile payments (after/now) and then offer their advice on how to optimize for this new standard.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Ad

Have you ever noticed how frequently asked questions relate to specific product features or benefits for the customer? This presents an amazing opportunity for our ad designs.


You can design a simple text ad that frames a question that your customers often ask you, and then answer the question in the ad design. This FAQ ad design style presents the benefits of your financial services in a more engaging manner. When using this type of ad design, the questions don’t even have to be ones that come up often. If you can highlight a benefit or feature by framing it with a question then go for it!


Recognizable Logo Ads

Now, this ad style is rarely used as a standalone design. Usually, designers will simply include recognizable logos in designs that utilize another style. 

The purpose of recognizable logos is to catch attention and to generate trust. Our eyes stop when we see a brand that we love. We want to take note, and happily give recognizable logos our attention. In addition, your customers gain confidence in your business when they see your financial services associated with a brand that they already adore.



Take a look at how effectively Capitec Bank uses other well-known brands to catch our attention. The bank partnered with Dstv, Get Smarter, and Hello Doctor to create additional benefits for their account holders. Therefore this is a combination between a benefits ad and a recognizable logo ad.


Use the right ad designs to promote your financial services

There you have it! These are just a couple of creative ad design styles that you can add to your arsenal. Keep your overall strategy in mind and use a style that compliments your campaign goals. As can be seen above, the big boys know how to use these design styles to take their ads to the next level, even combining styles in a couple of cases. Now you can do it too!

It takes a lot more to create truly awesome, high-performing finance and bank advertisements. If you’re too busy running a business (or want more professional designs), consider hiring a talented creative to design the perfect, clickable ads just for you.

Since you’re in the finance industry, you probably know a thing or two about money, so use these design styles to your advantage and make sure that your next campaign exceeds its ROI potential.


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