How ING Bank used YouTube to find new account customers

June 2018

About ING Bank

Serves banking customers with a wide range of financial products via mobile, internet, telephone and branches

About Data2Decisions

Part of the Dentsu Aegis Network

A Google Global Preferred MMM Partner


Find new potential current account customers

Reduce cost per request


Worked closely with Data2Decisions (part of Dentsu Aegis) and Google to model effectiveness of media mix

Modelled impact of media channels on driving current account requests

Modelled optimised media mix recommendations, including synergies between YouTube and TV


YouTube TrueView demonstrated 2X better cost per request than TV and 1.4X better than other online video at current investment levels

Search demonstrated 2.2X better cost per request than TV at current investment levels

In recent years, the financial services industry has been faced with disruptive forces in the form of technological innovation (such as digital payments and cloud-based applications), regulatory changes (for example open banking) as well as the rise of challenger fintech companies. These innovations are leading to fierce competition within the industry as companies attempt to better understand and own the customer journey from end to end.

In response to the disruption in the financial services industry, ING Bank set out to better understand the impact of different touchpoints in the customer journey, and to reach users spending more time on digital media by adding more digital advertising. While TV has traditionally been the biggest media contributor for ING, the company was observing changes in effectiveness and efficiency when YouTube was added to the mix.

“We appreciated that Google and Data2Decisions worked closely together to bring us more insights on how to improve our media mix strategy. We were happy to see that this study confirmed certain insights we learned from our own media model initiatives.”

– Frédéric Martins, Digital Media Manager, ING Bank Belgium

One of ING’s core metrics is cost per request for current account customer acquisitions. The lower the cost per request, the more profitable the current account acquisition becomes. Through media mix modelling performed by Data2Decisions (a Dentsu Aegis company), ING was able to estimate the cost per request for various media channels and thus evaluate the efficiency of different digital ad formats, including YouTube TrueView and paid Google Search. These two formats showed the best return on investment by generating the lowest cost per request and the highest efficiency at current investment levels.  


The analysis

Generic – or category – paid search often has a strong impact on upper-funnel acquisitions when consumers research a generic industry term or question before arriving at a specific brand name lower in the funnel. ING invested more in generic paid search relative to brand paid search and saw the cost per request improve over time.

Of all the tactics analysed, generic paid search drove the most incremental requests per euro. With an indexed cost per request of 45 and the lowest cost per request of all media channels, generic paid search has room to grow according to this study.

TV has been the most significant contributor of ING’s customer acquisition due to historically high investment levels. However, this large contribution came at a considerable loss of cost efficiency due the risk of saturation. In this analysis, Data2Decisions found that TV hit a saturation point where incremental investment was no longer effective. In contrast, investment in YouTube was found to be below the inflection point, with increased investment likely to deliver increasing marginal returns.

Saturation Curves for TV and YouTube: Investment per Week


Driven by these findings, Data2Decisions recommended that ING optimise its multiscreen budgets across YouTube and TV with the explicit purpose of tapping into the efficiency opportunity of YouTube and thus bringing down the overall cost per request.


The results

According to Frédéric Martins, ING Belgium’s Digital Media Manager, the international bank was pleased with the study’s outcomes. “We appreciated that Google and Data2Decisions worked closely together to bring us more insights on how to improve our media mix strategy”, he says. “We were happy to see that this study confirmed certain insights we learned from our own media model initiatives.”

Not only did the study provide ING with concrete metrics and an understanding of the effectiveness of digital media in its marketing mix, it also added useful insights into media mix measurement that the Belgian market previously lacked.

“As our market is evolving towards incremental digitalisation of media campaigns, the use of data will become paramount to advertisers”, affirms José Fernandez, Chief Commercial Officer for Dentsu Aegis Network Belgium. “We have seen improvements in the field of data consultancy, media mix modelling and attribution modelling in the last 12 months. However, the real research work is still very limited in the field. The number of advertisers ready to invest into this area is currently still limited, as are the agencies that have the expertise to develop those models."

Looking to the future, as more brands and agencies undertake studies into the value of digital media in the marketing mix, advertisers will be able to make more informed decisions about reaching consumers effectively throughout the customer journey.

Building a brand in an age of hyper-targeted messaging