Fifth Third Bank's Creative Search Brings Customers Inside

The Challenge

Switching banks is often triggered by key life events — mainly marriage, moving, and having a baby — making for key impact opportunities for banking advertisers. Once consumers enter the consideration phase for a new account, the window is short, with 60% of checking account switchers opening an account within two weeks of beginning research.

Additionally, 28% of web-browsing adults who opened a new checking account first heard about their new account online. Reaching consumers during this brief research period means search is a vital tactic. 

The Execution

Fifth Third implements search across Google, Yahoo and Bing to acquire new checking account customers via a combination of online and in-branch applications. The tactic proved to be the highest conversion driver among all digital channels but was only reaching fractions of its potential.

For 2018, Empower analyzed 2017 in-market data to establish the point of diminishing return for each digital channel. This uncovered an opportunity to optimize the digital mix to efficiently drive more quality accounts by shifting to a savvy, search-heavy strategy. 

This shift uncovered that customers who apply in a bank branch tend to have longer relationships with the bank, signifying these customers as higher quality. 

So, it tested different calls to action for “Apply Now Online” versus “Download a Coupon and Apply in Branch.” By driving more towards the Download Coupon CTA, customer behavior shifted. 

The Results

  • For the first half of 2018, 71% more accounts were opened, spend was down 38% at a 20% lower CPA than the first half of 2017.
  • In Q1 2018, 47% of applicants came into a branch, compared to 34% in Q1 2017.
  • In Q2 2018, 65% of applicants came into a branch, compared to 58% in Q2 2017.

Key Takeaways

When tasked with spending less and delivering more, creative media is the way to go.

Lean on search marketing.

This won the Online Media: Search category in MediaPost’s 2018 Creative Media Awards.
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