Digital News

Intelligence: Leveraging Social Media For Customer Acquisition

For a tiny, emerging nation in Southeast Asia, the Philippines’ connectivity to social media and the Internet remains unparalleled.

The Philippines is still one of the top countries on social media, clocking in at 76 million users this year. Time spent daily on social media also soared in the Philippines, with the country spending the most time checking their accounts at 4 hours and 12 minutes, the fourth straight year it’s topped the list. We’re also apparently on our phones a lot: 67 percent of online Filipinos access social media on their phone, higher than the global average of 42 percent.

All that time spent on the Internet is not just for social media though. E-commerce activity in the country grew as well, with 48.9 million users buying their goods online, generating a revenue of $970 million, or P51 billion. Strides in Internet habits have grown just as Internet speeds have risen from 15.19 mbps to 19 mbps — a dismal number from the global average of 54.3 Mbps, but still a welcome improvement in the world’s social media capital.


In the matters of connecting businesses to consumers, it should make sense: the Internet has long been a dominant force in trade and business for a good decade now. Sophisticated consumer services point to a heavy reliance on a seamless, user-friendly digital platform, and increased online infrastructure and heavy social media connectivity should lead to a vast wealth of potential customers in the Philippines.

That’s not yet quite the case for banking services, however. As inclusive as social media has been in the country, this connectivity has not trickled down to financial inclusion. Interestingly, there are more Facebook users in the country at 75 million than there are bank account holders. In 2018, only 15.8 million Filipino adults were reported to own bank accounts, which only accounts for 22.6 percent of the country’s population. A much bigger number of Filipinos — 52.8 million — still remain without bank accounts.

Penetration in the local financial sector, whether for banking or insurance has always been a challenge. Despite efforts from these companies to ease the process, the benefits and convenience customers would receive from opening their own accounts don’t effectively reach their intended market. The idea of working with banks is still largely intimidating — to this day, people still think that they don’t need a bank account or other formal financial services, while others simply don’t have the knowledge to do so or are unaware of where to even begin. Sixty percent of unbanked Pinoys saying that they don’t have enough money to open one, as well as other pain points for the average folk such as the daunting task to produce the required documents.

There is much potential to be seen in the vast sea of local Facebook users, who can be easily reached by just a few clicks and taps. It’s clearly done wonders for local businesses, from mom-and-pop shops to larger enterprises with the help of various Facebook Ad tools, the introduction of Facebook Marketplace and the direct, personalized customer interaction through Messenger.

This presents an interesting challenge for brands in the financial services field: How do we convince the vast number of Filipino users on Facebook to do something as simple as opening a bank account?

How a bank embraced Facebook and successfully earned new customers

“Security Bank prides itself on offering a great customer experience. Facebook helps us not only share our experience with customers, but allows us measure to our marketing activity more effectively. Leveraging Facebook’s Custom Audience and lookalike audience tools has had a significant impact on our brand’s advertising efficiency and has allowed us to scale the campaigns.”

– Gerry Dy, Retail Digital Head, Security Bank

As the largest independent bank in the country, Security Bank has prided itself on being an innovative company compared to older, traditional banks as they stay on-trend in providing superior customer and user experience. Security Bank uses Facebook as a key marketing channel for all its retail products, using Facebook Ad tools to acquire new customers and increase the number of products used by its customers.

To achieve their goal, Security Bank’s online strategy was to run a six-month Facebook campaign with creative video ads and customized audience-targeting options.

The video ads featured newlywed celebrity couple Erwan Heussaff and Anne Curtis candidly discussing Security Bank’s benefits, touching on topics that are relatable to any young family, such as their mobile-first approach and the joy of acquiring free life insurance without a medical exam. Using elements of storytelling, illustrative images, direct messaging, and credit card and loan products, Security Bank was able to understand which aspects of their social media strategy appealed most to their new applicants.

Using Facebook Ad tools, Security Bank utilised a lookalike audience based on a Custom Audience configuration of their high-value customers, meaning this allowed them to look for scout for potential clients among the vast number of Facebook users that most closely resembled their existing high-revenue clientele. They also installed the Facebook Pixel on their website to track the conversion rate of viewers to applicants.

Security Bank’s campaign on Facebook was highly successful, generating 15 percent of new customers during a six-month period over all channels, and improved their return on ad spend by eleven fold. 

How exactly did the campaign exceed expectations?

Clear and creative storytelling that best appeal to the target audience was key. Find what makes businesses and consumers human, and connect to that aspect. At the end of the day, people are drawn a good story, which ultimately makes the message of the campaign more impactful once it comes from a brand that understands them and relates to their everyday struggles and concerns.

By understanding which elements of their video campaign appealed most to their current audience, Security Bank replicated those elements and generated leads to potential clients, by targeting similar Facebook users.

When you are trying to expand your target reach on Facebook and ensure that the essential information reaches your intended audience, getting familiar with Facebook’s powerful audience selection tools is essential. There are three helpful solutions to find and connect to these prospects: Facebook Pixel, Custom Audiences, and Lookalike Audiences.

With a rapidly changing digital landscape through evolving algorithms and a shift in customer demands, digital marketers should realize by now that posting online and getting likes is only half the battle. As brands continue to adapt to social media and figure out how to create campaigns that target their intended audience in that sweet spot, specialized tools that map out and identify their actual market, as well as their behaviors, are of the essence. By learning to utilize these solutions to your brand’s advantage, only then can you truly create a powerful marketing strategy that leaves an impact.

Read more about this success story here.


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