Social media trends in financial services and insurance sector

September 23, 2015 16:06
Visa Korea launched a video campaign on Facebook over the holidays last year featuring popular Korean actress Park Shin-hye. Photo: YouTube

Touted as the "Fight of the Century", the epic match between boxing legends Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas was the talk of the sports world earlier this year. Brands everywhere also got into the action and promoted their products and services around this most anticipated event as well as the two athletes.

Pru Life UK took a different approach and scored a knockout. A leading insurance provider in the Philippines and a subsidiary of UK-based Prudential plc, the company focused on the fans instead, and used social media as the main vehicle for their campaign.

Cutting through the media clutter, Pru Life UK used touching videos on Facebook to not only stir national pride but also to salute the resilient nature of Filipinos, and told the story of how people in one of the poorest communities in the country fought to get back on their feet after one of the most devastating typhoons in history.

The campaign went viral and cemented Pru Life UK’s role as a social brand as well as raised customer engagement like never before: 18 million people reached in one week; 7 percent click through rate, 34-second average video view rate, and 80 percent views on mobile.

This is just part of the growing number of social media initiatives in the industry. In recent months, insurance and financial services firms as well as banks have been ramping up the use of social media. More of them are realizing that social media can help reach their target audience at scale, and achieve measurable results quickly.

Earlier this year, for example, Citibank Thailand used Facebook to generate business leads and find new credit card customers. It wanted to find a scalable solution it could use elsewhere in Asia Pacific and reduce cost per lead.

Using the platform’s Custom Audiences feature, along with photo and link ads, the bank was able to reach and re-target more customers, raising leads 2.3 times in six months and reducing cost per lead by a significant 34 percent.

Similarly, MetLife in the US also used Facebook to drive life insurance leads, increasing lead-to-sale ratio by 2.4 times and decreasing cost per lead by 49 percent last year.

Social media is also being used to drive e-commerce.

For example, Visa Korea launched a video campaign on Facebook over the holidays last year featuring Korean actress Park Shin-hye (朴信惠) which eased consumer concerns over online shopping with credit cards. With just a click, the video showed how easy it is to make a purchase. The campaign also highlighted how social media has become more personal.

In another example, AIA MPF in Hong Kong was quoted in Marketing Magazine as saying that it used social media to launch a major branding initiative to reinforce its position as a top retirement and mandatory provident fund (MPF) provider in the city.

The emotional video campaign portrayed a couple with polarizing lifestyles and showed how a step today can lead to a different life after retirement, inspiring audiences to think about their own future. In just one day, the video generated over one million views online and in social media.

With the scale of TV and the precision of digital marketing, social media is helping the industry reach business goals throughout the consumer engagement funnel - from brand awareness to driving leads and sales. Additionally, social media is helping deepen customer relationship across every channel: retail, online and mobile.

The market shift to mobile, in particular, has the industry rethinking about how it approaches social media. With Facebook as a mobile-first platform, companies already have mobile marketing strategy in place.

Today, customers are accessing social media more than ever on mobile, and spending more time on mobile. For every five minutes, one minute is spent on Facebook, for example. As a rich canvass for storytelling, video will also keep playing a larger role in social media content as shown in most of the examples.

There is huge potential in social media, and the financial services and insurance industry is just beginning to unlock this. Today, the industry’s use of social media has definitely evolved from being just a customer service tool that was nice to have to a business necessity that directly impacts the bottom line.

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Head of Financial Services, Greater China, Facebook. She oversees Facebook’s sales and business development of Travel and Finance verticals in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.