Increase Loans, Deposits, and Brand Awareness With YouTube (PART 1)

Is YouTube advertising part of your organization’s marketing strategy? If not, consider these three facts:

  • Video is the king of content: Our brains are designed to absorb and retain audiovisual information.
  • YouTube is the go-to video platform: It reaches more U.S. adults than all cable TV networks combined.
  • 55% of marketers currently use YouTube: That’s a sizeable share, but there’s plenty of room to stand out.

For community banks and credit unions looking for new ways to win business and deepen relationships, YouTube ads can be a highly effective vehicle. With an intrinsically engaging medium, a huge reach, and easy-to-use targeting and tracking tools, the possibilities abound. But to optimize your ROI, you need a sound strategy from the start.

In this two-part blog series, we’ll look at how YouTube advertising can benefit financial institutions, the different types of YouTube ads, and tips for creating content that informs, entertains, and converts.


YouTube is the second-most-visited website after Google, with billions of views every day from every corner of the world. It also gives creators a high level of control when it comes to tailoring paid content to defined regions and interests. This combination of breadth and precision gives community financial institutions an unmatched opportunity to boost brand awareness, demonstrate topic expertise, and promote specific products and services.

Targeting Your Ideal Audiences

Targeting can be tricky for financial brands – institutions need to be very careful to adhere to current regulations, policies, and advertising platform parameters regarding demographic and geographic factors. But the beauty of YouTube is that its targeting tools can go beyond the standard criteria. Leveraging state-of-the-art AI technology, advertisers can zero in on major life events like graduations and job changes. Affinity segments like “music lovers” can be used to build brand awareness. And in-market audiences actively researching financial topics can be pinpointed to drive engagements. Some use cases include:

  • A bank uploads a list of customers who don’t have an operating account to cross-sell its free checking product.
  • A credit union creates custom audiences for auto loans by layering keywords with recently visited websites.

Being There for Life’s Moments

On Google, your prospects might be searching for “best checking accounts,” but on YouTube, they’re much more likely to be searching for things like “how to build a multi-level deck.” That calls for a more nuanced approach to keyword research, but it means you have the opportunity to more naturally reach prospects at significant decision points. Consider these case studies:

  • A community bank targets aspiring deck DIYers with ads for a home equity line of credit with a special intro rate.
  • A credit union delivers ads about its nationwide fee-free ATM network to users searching for cross-country road trips.

Retargeting Your Prospects

YouTube’s campaign controls also enable you to remarket to people who have interacted with your brand in some way but haven’t made a commitment. You can customize the content that they see based on what actions they’ve already taken and what your desired outcome is. We’ve seen many creative retargeting campaigns that draw from a range of data sources, like:

  • A credit union delivers a “Need help?” message to people who have left a loan application partially filled out.
  • A bank targets previews of new informational videos to users who have viewed, liked, saved, or shared previous videos.

Celebrating Community Connections

A recent survey found that, next to convenience, trust is the second most frequently cited reason for choosing where to bank. With so many dynamic elements to employ – including dialogue, music, animated graphics, still images, and live footage – video is an ideal medium to tell compelling human stories that convey your organization’s relationships and values. For instance:

  • A community bank showcases local businesses that they’ve helped stay afloat with small business loans, with subtle brand cues throughout.
  • A credit union highlights its partnership with a disability employment agency that conducts work experiences at its main branch.

Measuring, Learning, Improving

Perhaps YouTube’s most distinctive attribute that sets it apart from traditional channels like TV is the ability to track each element’s performance in real time and nimbly adjust as needed. The site’s robust measurement tools let you see engagement levels, audience demographics, and performance compared to similar ads. Then, you can double down on what’s working and nix what isn’t:

  • A regional bank regularly runs A/B tests for special promos – one offer-focused, one lifestyle-focused – and reallocates on the fly.
  • A credit union runs a series of animated videos and live action videos and measures results over time, focusing its resources on the style that performs best.

Controlling Costs

Last but not least, there’s the question of money. You might know John Wanamaker’s quip: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” With YouTube, that’s less of an issue. Not only can you measure and optimize your individual campaign elements as noted above, but you can also define your own budget and bid preferences:

  • A college-affiliated credit union opts for the “cost-per-view” strategy, where it pays only when a user watches at least 30 seconds of the video or engages with the ad.
  • A savings bank prefers to use the “maximize conversions” strategy, which utilizes machine learning to target users most likely to convert with a set daily budget.


In Part 2 of this blog series, we’ll cover the various types of YouTube ads you can choose from and some actionable tips for creating a successful YouTube campaign.

When you work with LIGHTSTREAM, you’ve got a dedicated marketing team with a deep understanding of community banking. We’ve helped over 40 banks and credit unions all across the country to connect meaningfully with their target audiences. Wondering what we could create together? Get in touch today.