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The banking industry continues to evolve. Here's how digital audio ads help brands stay ahead.

Banking customers are changing how they manage their finances, especially in today's challenging economy. They're holding providers to ever-higher standards, making it more difficult for both traditional banks and fintech competitors to retain existing customers and find new ones.

The pandemic renewed the sense of urgency for both types of firms to reevaluate their growth strategies. More Americans—either by choice or necessity—have become comfortable with using a fintech company. According to a survey from The Harris Poll and Plaid, not only do 88% of Americans use fintechs (up from 58% in 2020), but the majority plan on sticking with them.1

This trend isn't an automatic win for the fintechs, however, since incumbent banks enjoy the advantages of sheer size and scale. Plus, they have the perception of being safe havens people tend to prefer during times of financial uncertainty. But traditional banks are facing a new customer acquisition problem: digitally-native Gen Zs trust fintechs (66%) with their financial data more than traditional firms (63%).2

That's where digital audio comes in. Traditional banks and fintechs alike can use music streaming and podcast advertising to help drive brand awareness, boost audience engagement, and ultimately, spur revenue growth.

Let's take a closer look at the biggest trends and challenges facing the banking industry—and how digital audio ads can help.


Traditional banks and fintech companies aren't just straightforward competitors. In many cases, they've established partnerships and collaborations to improve customer experiences.

As Cornerstone Advisors reports, 65% of banks and credit unions partnered with at least one fintech over the past three years, and 35% invested in one. Among those legacy players who haven't taken the plunge, 37% expect to partner with a fintech and 18% expect to invest by the end of this year.3

This creates a messy landscape for everyday banking customers. They often can't keep up with which bank is launching its own digital spin-off, partnering with a fintech, or acquiring a digital competitor. Fintechs must also do their part to reduce confusion and set themselves apart from direct digital competitors who offer a similar value proposition.

How do brands fix this? Make it super clear how they can deliver unique value—and why they're the most reliable firm to do it.

The solution: Understand audio preferences to build trust and credibility for your brand

Spotify helps traditional banks and digital banks differentiate through trust—especially among audiences like Gen Zs and millennials, who are big fans of streaming audio. With the power of audio ads, brands can get in the ears of Spotify's 256M ad-supported monthly active listeners, including Gen Zs who are making their first big financial decisions and millennials whose financial needs are becoming more complex as they enter their prime earning years.

In fact, Spotify Free listeners are already digitally savvy when it comes to their banking needs. More than one in three use a banking, investing, or insurance website or app. And “managing finances and savings" is the number-one reason Spotify Free listeners use the internet in the first place.4

Spotify listeners also remember financial ads. A recent study found that exposure to financial services campaigns on Spotify increased ad recall and brand awareness. In other words, Spotify is a great fit for financial brands looking to reach an audience that's already primed for their products and services.


People are using their smartphones now more than ever—not just to stream movies and video chat with friends, but also to manage their finances. According to Insider Intelligence, 89% of Americans use mobile banking channels, and 70% say mobile banking is now their primary way to access their bank accounts.6

To match these behaviors, traditional banks and fintechs are doubling down on delivering easy and convenient mobile experiences. In fact, the greatest channel shift from physical branches to mobile banking is likely to happen over the next three years.7

Still, most banks will continue an omnichannel approach, ensuring that physical branches, call centers, websites, and other ways of serving customers remain. They know that customers who use more channels hold more products (like a checking account, savings account, and debit card). The average single-channel customer holds five products, while the average omnichannel customer holds nine products and generates more than twice the amount of revenue.8

The solution: Use digital audio advertising to drive deeper engagement on mobile

Audio has overtaken social, video, and gaming for time spent on mobile,9 making it one of the most effective channels for driving engagement. Digital audio advertising can offer a screen-free alternative for reaching customers burnt out from too much screen time.

As the leading digital audio platform, Spotify is uniquely positioned to help brands deliver audio ads across mobile devices. Not only do Spotify listeners stream for long periods, but they're also already engaging with relevant content. More than one in four Spotify Free listeners track spending on their mobile devices,10 and one in five Gen Z and millennial bank customers listen to Spotify while using the internet.11


People have come to expect personalization from brands. And while many industries are delivering, banks are having a tough time keeping up. In fact, financial services firms still lag behind retail, media, and tech companies when it comes to providing the level of personalization customers crave.12

Moving away from product promotions and toward personalization is one way that banks—both traditional and digital—can transform from transactional providers into true lifestyle brands. And this focus on personalization is key to survival: More than 70% of Americans say personalization is "very important" to the banking experience.13

Specifically, today's banking customers want providers of all types to know, remember, and predict their preferences and needs. The business stakes are high: Firms that personalize effectively outperform those that don't for acquisition, cross-sell, and retention.14

The solution: Reach customers with personalized digital audio experiences

Spotify offers personalization for all types of listeners and moments. People can choose the music, playlists, and podcasts that match their moment—whether they're hanging out with friends, studying, exercising, or relaxing.

This level of personalization is the reason why Spotify has the highest listener engagement compared to other forms of audio, which results in higher engagement with ads. As recent research highlights, brands have a 19% higher impact on Spotify than other media platforms, largely because of these immersive experiences.15

Personalization is also particularly important for banking customers, who—compared to other Spotify listeners—are twice as likely to stream personalized playlists, and less likely to listen to something like the top charts, which aren't personalized.16

Additionally, Spotify's in-depth knowledge of listeners allows for the sharing of first-party insights with advertisers. These insights help traditional banks and fintechs better understand their target audiences and align with their passion points.

As the banking industry continues to evolve, brands can use digital audio to meet changing customer needs and build powerful financial services advertising campaigns to deliver new experiences to tuned-in audiences. In such a volatile and rapidly evolving industry, meeting customer expectations, however great, mustn't be an afterthought—it's a business imperative.

Learn more about how Spotify helps businesses earn trust and attention in competitive industries.

Sources: 1 “Expectations & Experiences: Fintech Adoption," The Harris Pill and Fiserv. Dec 2021. 2 Plaid/The Harris Poll, November 2021 3 "The State of the Union in Bank-Fintech Partnerships," Cornerstone Advisors. 2022. 4 Spotify Free Users, US, GlobalWebIndex. 2021. 5 "Nielsen Brand Effect on Spotify." March 2021. 6 "US Neobank Market Report," Insider Intelligence. May 2021. 7 Digital Banking Report. 2022. 8 "Retail Banking Insights," McKinsey & Company. 2017. 9 Time Spent with Mobile, US, eMarketer. Oct 2021. 10 Spotify Free Users, US, GlobalWebIndex. 2021. 11 "The Mixer" Research, Nielsen + Spotify, U.S. online population, n=3,964. 12 Forrester. 2021. 13 Capco. 2021. 14 Forrester. 2022. 15 Sonic Science research, part one, Neuro-Insight and Spotify. June 2021. 16 Spotify Internal Data, Free users in US, 30-day streaming period, Banking audience = 3P Financial Services Consumers.

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