LONDON: Late night weekend special offers would appear to be the key to a successful digital financial services campaign according to new research.

Rocket Fuel, a provider of artificial intelligence advertising solutions to digital marketers, analysed 2,300 ads run on its platform over a two month period, from over 200 credit card and financial services campaigns.

It found that consumers were significantly more likely to convert on financial services campaigns on Saturdays (+16%) and Sundays (+30%). Further, they were most likely to do so late at night, with conversion rates peaking between midnight and 6 am.

More significantly, consumers were ten times more likely to convert on those ads featuring a special offer than those that didn't. But special offers did not necessarily extend to incentives such as reward points, as consumers were only 1.5 times more likely to click or convert on ads showcasing these.

While special or limited-time offers were important factors in attracting consumers, Rocket Fuel also found that 'learn more' was by far the most effective call to action.

Digging deeper into the creative of these campaigns, the research suggested that animated ads tended to draw lower click-through rates but significantly higher conversion rates.

In addition, conversion rates appeared to be affected by the colours chosen for an ad, with the highest rates being achieved by those featuring green, white or yellow backgrounds.

Credit card companies may need to think carefully about their approach as Rocket Fuel's analysis showed that human faces were more important than an image of the card itself.

Consumers were slightly more likely (+8%) to click on credit card ads with a human face and twice as likely to convert on such ads.

But ads featuring an image of a card performed considerably worse than ads without one, regardless of whether or not those ads featured a human face.

Consumers were nearly twice as likely to convert on campaigns for a credit card after exposure to ads that did not feature an image of the card compared to ads with an image of the card.

Welcoming these insights, Dominic Trigg, Rocket Fuel's VP and Managing Director Europe, noted that financial services companies had laid out over $5 billion in digital ad spending globally in 2013 and said financial-service providers faced a major challenge in attracting the right audiences with the appropriate products, services and advertising creative.

Data sourced from Rocket Fuel; additional content by Warc staff