KCB Group is the largest financial institution by assets in East Africa, serving over 9.7 million customers across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia. KCB needed a marketing approach that would complement the always-on digital lifestyles of today’s consumers, create top-of-mind awareness and drive leads. KCB wanted to reach people who were digitally savvy, and created a campaign to target people who use smartphones to check email.

With 3 million Gmail users in Kenya, KCB’s agency Squad Digital recognised that Gmail ads could provide a smart way to connect with users through innovative targeting and a high-impact email-like format. The team developed a lead generation Gmail ad campaign to encourage non-customers to open an account online with KCB.

We have been continuously looking at reducing the friction between customers and KCB for account opening. Given the large base of Gmail accounts, we married contextual keyword targeting and the tech to enable customers to access account opening within Gmail

Vimal Kaul, Creative Technology Director, WPP-Scangroup

The ad itself was designed to make it convenient, secure and easy for a consumer to open an account as quickly as it takes to check emails. When users opened their Gmail account, they could then click the KCB ad and enter their name, email, phone number and Kenya national ID. This data was sent to the server, where it could be validated via the government’s integrated population registration system. Once validated, the data was sent to the bank. The new account was then opened and the KCB customer would receive a text message containing the account number.

Gmail ads exceeded performance expectations, proving to be instrumental in acquiring new customers and driving awareness. The click-through rate was 8.7% and conversion rate was 10.9%, while the campaign surpassed the target for new accounts by 227% in just 14 days.

KCB is a trailblazer in the digital banking sphere of East Africa. Through our collaboration with Squad Digital, we successfully opened 3,188 new KCB accounts in 14 days, surpassing our initial target by 227%. This was made possible through micro-targeted Gmail ads shared to over 3 million Gmail users in Kenya.

Angela Mwirigi, Director of Marketing and Communications, KCB