Santander uses cross-screen tactics to engage audience

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Santander partnered with Google to become the first European finance brand to use YouTube’s latest targeting options in an innovative approach to launching its new brand positioning.

Case study summary

• Bank wanted awareness of brand purpose via user generated content that highlights prosperity is more than financial wealth.
• Used a variety of YouTube ad formats as well as new cross-screen capabilities to deliver a relevant and timely message to its audience.
• Campaign delivered ad recall in top 25% of Brand Lift Surveys.

The challenge

Santander offers an array of financial services and products, with a brand purpose to help people and businesses prosper. It wanted to embed awareness and recognition of Santander’s brand purpose via a new creative featuring User Generated Content (UGC) which highlights how prosperity means more than financial wealth.

The solution

The campaign centred on Santander’s purpose to help people and businesses prosper. This was the first time Santander had explicitly talked about its purpose in advertising activity. It used UGC to bring to life the different meanings that prosperity has for different people, with creative that is personal, heartfelt and lively.

It was important to Santander to tell the prosperity message in an innovative and timely way and to engage with the right audience on YouTube, using a range of ad formats and targeting options to best effect.

Santander took advantage of YouTube’s new targeting option called Life Events. Using real-time data and signals across Google properties, Life Events enables brands to engage with consumers when they arrive at important milestones, such as graduating, owning a home, and getting married. Patterns are recognised as users move between devices, guaranteeing a holistic picture. This is the first time a Financial Services brand has tested Life Events.

“This campaign explored what prosperity means for our customers and how through our understanding of them, we showcase Santander’s products and services to help them prosper. By using YouTube, a platform that ordinary people use every day, we were able to target our customers with different variations of content in different formats,” says Andy Freeman, Head of Social at Santander.

"My favourite discovery was on the creative side,” adds Santander’s Marketing Communications Lead, James Casey. “Finding content that supported our brand purpose and worked across multiple channels and devices was a real challenge. That said, leveraging UGC was the right vehicle for us to authentically reflect what prosperity means to different people and it was rewarding to see people engaging with the campaign.”

A range of YouTube video ad formats were used to engage with the audience in different ways: Bumper ads (6 seconds video ads, particularly effective for reach and people on mobile), TrueView in-stream ads (pre-roll video ads which are skippable after 5 seconds), and Google Preferred (video ads which access audiences watching the most popular YouTube channels).

Keen to create a compelling story for its audience, Santander tested Video Ad Sequencing, and was the first Finance brand in EMEA to do so. Consecutive ads are served based on a viewer’s engagement and reaction to an initial ad. The first video acts as the entry to see the rest of the sequence, which can contain as many videos as required. In this instance, Bumper ads were shown to viewers who did not skip the TrueView instream-ad, acting as a short reminder for an already engaged audience.

Santander used Brand Lift Surveys to measure the campaign’s success. These surveys enable advertisers to understand the impact their YouTube ads are having on perceptions and behaviours throughout the customer journey. A randomised control group (who did not see the ad) and an exposed group (who saw the ad) were both asked the same question.

The results

The Brand Lift Surveys revealed that the campaign received an extremely positive response, with Ad Recall being in the top 25% of Brand Lift Surveys within the UK market. The results also highlighted key considerations, including which demographic the creative resonated with the most, the optimal frequency at which to show them the message, and the most effective ad format.

Following the campaign’s success, Darren Russell, Digital Director at Carat UK, reflects: “We believe the success was down to a truly collaborative approach between Santander, Google, Engine and Carat. Santander provided valuable audience insights, which provided us with the perfect platform to really understand their customers. This was crucial in ensuring we utilised the right products on YouTube that could keep our audience engaged, maximise view time and deliver a lift in key branding metrics. The objective was simple, we wanted our customers to take away the true meaning behind the ‘Here to help you prosper’ campaign. Engine created content that was optimised to YouTube’s platform, which enabled us to tell our story through a variety of formats.”

Now armed with valuable insights, creative assets and a variety of UGC, Santander continues to actively share its brand message on YouTube.

Andy Freeman, Head of Social, Santander, said: "By using YouTube, a platform that ordinary people use every day, we were able to target our customers with different variations of content in different formats.”

James Casey, Marketing Communications Lead, Santander, added: “It's so rewarding to find clips and then see people engaging with your campaign.”

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