Inside the Digital Marketing Strategies of Neobanks Revolut, Monzo – The Financial Brand

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By Bryan Yurcan, Reporter for The Financial Brand
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When it comes to excelling at digital marketing, banks and credit unions can take a page from what some prominent neobanks do well.
An analysis of the digital marketing strategies of Revolut and Monzo, conducted by digital media shop GA Agency, drilled deep into the strategies of both firms and came up with some key takeaways.
“Overall, there are a lot of pros and cons to both Revolut’s and Monzo’s digital marketing strategies,” the agency wrote, adding that the analysis offers a “a deeper understanding of the audience they are targeting, countries, performance, keywords targeted, and their main marketing investments.”
By way of background, Revolut, established in 2013, and Monzo, launched in 2015 are both U.K.-based neobanks that compete directly with established banks via mobile apps. Monzo, with about 5 million customers, operates primarily in the U.K., having dialed back its U.S. ambitions for the moment. Revolut has expanded aggressively and operates in numerous countries, including all of Europe, and in the U.S. via partner banks. It has more than 15.5 million users.
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The analysis noted that Revolut relies heavily on brand-bidding — a strategy based on bidding on certain keywords related competitors. GA Agency observes that Revolut invests a large part of its budget in buying competitors’ keywords such as “Monzo,” “HSBC business” and “Lloyds commercial business.”
“Revolut is really pushing out on buying competitive keywords, they are being really aggressive about it, which jumped out from the research,” says Guido Ampollini, founder of GA Agency in an interview with The Financial Brand. He says this is a tactic traditional banks can be more aggressive with as well.
An article in Search Engine Journal noted that, as of 2019, Google has abolished previous restrictions it had placed on businesses’ bidding on a competitor’s branded keyword.
The GA Agency analysis notes several benefits of a brand bidding strategy. One is access to very relevant traffic.
“If you offer the same services as a competitor, you know that brand bidding will result in high-quality traffic,” the agency notes. “As this traffic will consist of users looking for a service or product provided by a competitor, we can assume that it will have high intent and is likely to result in a conversion.”
Furthermore, brand bidding can enable financial marketers to increase exposure to their firm, since the people searching for those terms are looking for financial products and services the bidding firm likely also provides, Ampollini states.
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To combat the brand-bidding tactic, financial institutions can bid heavily on their own branded terms to ensure they come up first in search. However, this is not a great strategy, GA Agency maintains, because it means marketing dollars are being spent on acquiring potential customers already searching for that specific institution’s brand name.
“In comparison, if they targeted keywords that were just related to their product, they would be introducing new visitors to the website who might have not previously heard about them,” the agency says in its analysis.
These terms can include “online bank,” “business bank account,” “bank card” as well as queries such as “how do I open a bank account online.” They allow potential new customers to discover a financial institution’s products and services.
“You’re offering them a solution to the query that they are searching for,” the agency states. “In general, you should look for keywords that have low competitiveness but high search volume, improving the SEO for your website before targeting the most competitive keywords.”
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For a content-marketing strategy to work, financial institutions must of course have relevant content — such as blogs — centered around the topics, keywords and phrases they want to promote. Monzo has been outperforming Revolut in this regard, the analysis found, using its blog to great effect. Monzo targets queries such as “should I get a credit card?” A blog focused on that topic enables a new audience to discover their services.
There is no silver bullet around what content will perform the best, Ampollini notes, but there is nothing wrong with a little competitive research.
“You can study copy that seems to be working well for a competitor and try and put in place similar copy,” he suggests.
Beyond the SEO benefit of blogs, they also create a sense of authority and improve credibility, which can be a deciding factor for consumers who are searching for a product or service. The GA Agency analysis notes that Revolut uses it blogs largely to target upper funnel queries of people searching for basic information about finance.
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It’s also important to have unique landing pages for different queries, GA Agency notes. Doing so plays a large part in how Google Ads calculates businesses’ quality scores. Of the two neobanks studied, Revolut excels at this. Business-related queries land on its small-business-focused landing page while other queries go directly to its App Store download page, according to the report.
The key to creating great landing pages is through testing, says Ampollini. How much a financial firm can do this depends on internal resources. It may not be possible to test dozens of different pages, but some amount of testing should be done.
For example, “You can do A/B testing, sending 50% of traffic to one landing page and 50% to another,” he explains. “And track which one converts better.”
Forms on landing pages should be short, including no more than a name and email address. More information can always be collected later on. Otherwise, “if the form is too long and the person is in a rush, you risk losing them,” says Ampollini.
While institutions of different sizes all have different budgets dedicated to digital marketing, the above tips can be used and adapted for marketing teams of all sizes. And it’s imperative that banks and credit unions don’t fall further behind marketing-savvy neobanks.
“Companies like Revolut and Monzo tend to be much more involved in digital marketing than traditional banks,” says Ampollini.
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