Financial Advertising Regulations: Be Compliant While Earning Clients

Online advertisements are one of the best ways to draw in qualified clients, even in the highly-regulated finance industry. You just need to be careful and follow the financial advertising regulations imposed by major players such as Google and Facebook.

We’re here to break down those regulations, making the advertising process simpler for your firm. We discuss the policies enforced by Google, Facebook, and Instagram, but keep in mind that other regulations exist for other platforms. 

Keep reading to learn more, and give us a call when you’re ready to plan a hard-hitting online ad strategy.

Finance Advertising Regulations and Guidelines

As harmless as they may seem, online advertisements play a huge psychological role in opinion and decision-making. Some are positive and inspire consumers to take action, but other ads can mislead or outright deceive consumers, “tricking” them into buying something they don’t need or could cause them harm.As you can probably imagine, major players like Google and Facebook have decided to put an end to those harmful practices. The solution? Regulating what can and cannot be posted, particularly for finance firms.To save yourself from wasting money and thinking up ads for naught, make sure you have a firm understanding of this list. Go through it several times; tape it to your desk or your fridge, and whatever you do, don’t violate the rules laid out by Google and Facebook.

Who You Can and Cannot Target in Ads

financial advertising regulations targetingIt’s not just the content of an ad that’s subject to approval; Google and Facebook will scrutinize your target audiences to make sure you’re following their community guidelines.Let’s go through Google’s stipulations first. You can actually narrow your Google Ads campaigns by income level, net worth, and liquid assets. In Google Ads, you can choose your desired audience’s average income level from the following seven buckets:

  • Top 10%
  • 11-20%
  • 21-30%
  • 31-40%
  • 41-50%
  • Lower 50%
  • Unknown

In its Personalized Advertising policy, Google explains that advertisers are not allowed to target people going through certain hardships. Seeing an exploitative, negative, or accusatory post does not make for a good user experience. Google explicitly states that finance companies cannot create ads targeting the following groups:

  • People with negative financial status (bankrupt)
  • People who are currently in a welfare services program
  • Homeless shelters, or houseless people themselves
  • Unemployed people

Predatory lending products and services are also prohibited.Facebook enforces the same guidelines as above with additional prohibited financial products and services. These include:

  • Initial coin offerings
  • Binary options
  • Contract for Difference Trading
  • Cryptocurrency token sales (tax services for cryptocurrency companies and blockchain technology information is permissible)

These restrictions might mean you have to take more time to ensure the content of your ad is permissible, but it also means that you’re helping keep users safe and free from harmful claims. As Google explains, the purpose of these restrictions is to support “a healthy digital advertising ecosystem” that’s trustworthy and transparent. By following financial advertising regulations, your firm will do its part to protect current and future clients while bringing in business.

What’s Allowed in Google Ads

There’s plenty of room to work your creative magic in Google Ads. You just need to be careful, but we’ll discuss possible penalties later. For now, let’s focus on the positives.

Local Service Ads

It would take hours to unpack all the benefits of local ads – more visibility and clicks and sniper-like targeting, for starters – but for finance firms, it’s really quite simple. Local ads (also known as Local Service Ads, or LSAs) put you in front of your target client at the exact time they’re looking to hire.

financial advertising regulations local service ads
Look familiar? You’ve probably noticed ads like these if you’ve searched professionals in your area.

You may have heard of Google’s 2020 update that prevents marketers from targeting services based on gender, age, parental or marital status, or ZIP code. Yes, those are lots of exclusions, but your firm can still make local ads that target by city, county, or radius rather than ZIP code.

Third-Party Accreditation or Endorsement (For Client Trust)

“Give credit where credit is due” – we all learn this lesson at some point, and nowhere is it more vital than in advertising. Clients are bound to find out if you make false claims, steal another company’s wording, or make up accreditations that your firm doesn’t have. Third-party accreditation or endorsement can boost clients’ confidence in your ability to deliver high-quality financial services, but only if you do it right.You must include links to the third party in your ads, especially if you’re using the accreditation to improve the reputation of your website. For example, if you’re a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, include a link to the CFP in your ad. If you’re advertising tax services, you could link to your membership page in the National Association of Tax Professionals.

What’s Allowed in Facebook and Instagram Ads

Since Instagram was acquired by Facebook and is no longer a standalone company, the platforms’ shared advertising regulations make it fairly easy for finance companies to put themselves out there across multiple channels.There are a few differences between Google and Facebook/Instagram’s financial advertising regulations. If you’re looking to expand your firm’s online presence through Facebook Ads, it’s important that you understand and follow these differences. 

financial advertising regulations social media
Facebook and Instagram: Popular apps, rarely apart.

Here are some of the things allowed on Facebook and Instagram that you can (and should) include in your ads:

Localized Ads by County

Similar to Google Ads, you can target people by county or area on Facebook and Instagram. In the ad set level, you’ll see a dropdown menu of U.S. counties, which you can select to have your ad displayed in those areas. You could also go the ZIP code route, but remember that you have to include a 15-mile radius around said ZIP code.

Breakout Placements

Ad placements are a fun little “hack” that helps put you in front of your desired audience while remaining compliant.“Placements” are simply the different places within each platform where your ads can be displayed. With 15 placement options divided into Feeds and Stories, there’s plenty of space for creativity.Depending on your advertising objective, you can choose for your ads to appear on the following platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and/or Facebook Messenger. Here are just a few of your options for ad placement:

  • Facebook News Feed
  • Instagram feed
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Facebook suggested videos
  • Facebook stories
  • Instagram stories
  • Facebook Messenger stories

What’s Not Allowed in Google, Facebook, and Instagram Ads

We know, we know – lots of rules. But if you read anything in this blog, it should be this section. Knowing what’s prohibited in both Google and Facebook will help you frame and execute well-made, thoughtful ads in compliance with federal and state regulations. You’ll prevent wasting money and the heartbreak of having to delete an ad that you toiled over.This is another great list to print out and keep on your person when you’re brainstorming or making ads. Here’s what’s not allowed in Google ads:

  • Failing to provide legitimate contact information, including a physical location, for your business.
  • Failing to disclose associated fees. Disclosures cannot be roll-over text or only accessible in another link or tab. They must be clearly and immediately visible without the user having to click, hover, or navigate anything.
  • Failing to include links to third-party accreditation or endorsement where affiliation is stated or implied.

And here’s what’s not allowed in Facebook and Instagram ads:

  • Promoting credit cards, loans, or insurance services to people under 18.
  • Ads promoting credit cards, loans, or insurance services that request for the person to provide their financial information, including credit card numbers.
  • Ads that promote misleading or deceptive services related to student loan consolidation, forgiveness, or refinancing.

Trust us – you’ll be a lot better off if you follow these rules. Click here to see a list of Google’s financial advertising regulations, and click here for Facebook’s list.

Quality Ads for Financial Businesses

When using PPC ads, the financial service industry has one of the highest click-through rates (CTR) in internet search, clocking in at 3%, and one of the highest conversion rates of over 7%.These numbers illustrate how much you’re probably missing out on if you never post PPC ads. Forget what you may have heard about paid ads – they’re effective and can generate a high ROI. With a smart approach and dedicated team in your corner, you can attract more users, earn more clients, and grow your business.The PPC experts at EverSpark will conduct a thorough audit of your current campaigns or will set one up from scratch. We’ll manage your PPC campaign the right way, with you as an active participant. Call us today at (877) 323-4661 to learn more about our financial PPC services.

Maximize your firm’s potential with our digital marketing expertise

EverSpark specializes in helping law firms like yours succeed in the digital realm. With our proven expertise in SEO, Paid Ads, and online branding, we can enhance your visibility, drive targeted traffic to your website, and ultimately boost your client base. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to take your firm to the next level. Contact us today and let’s start growing your practice together!

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