How CapitalOne Generated $247 Billion in Deposits In Under 15 Years

Pop quiz: Do you know which bank is the youngest to join the top 10 America’s largest banks by assets?

If you said Capital One, you are correct.

Capital One is not only the youngest bank but also became the fastest-growing bank to join the rank of America’s 10 largest banks by assets (rank 10th) in just 13 years (bank chartered in 2003).

What’s interesting is that Capital One Bank has a unique perspective on how they do banking, and it’s vastly different from its peers. According to their 2018 annual report, Capital One’s vision is to “build a technology company that does banking and competes against banks that use technology.

In this post, I will break down Capital One’s digital strategies and tactics, and how they made their mark as the youngest and fastest-growing bank to become one of America’s top 10 largest banks by assets.

Note: Despite my research effort to analyze Capital One’s digital strategies, I am not able to cover their offline strategies – such as billboards, direct mails, local sponsorship, printing, publications, etc.

 

Summary of Strategy

Website Traffic Analysis

Influencer Marketing

Celebrity Marketing

Sport & Event Sponsorship

Social Media Marketing

Top Performing Paid Search

Top Performing Display Ads

Landing Page Analysis

Conclusion

What Do You Go From Here?

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Total Deposits 2007 – 2018 (Source: Capital One’s Annual Reports)

YearTotal Deposits

(in millions)

Difference

(in millions)

Annual

Growth %

2007$82,761Acquired Hibernia and North Fork Bank
2008$108,621$25,86031.25%Acquired Chevy Chase Bank
2009$115,809$7,1886.62%
2010$119,010$3,2012.76%
2011$126,694$7,6846.46%
2012$203,055$76,36160.27%Acquired ING Direct & HSBC’s U.S. credit card
2013$209,045$5,9902.95%
2014$205,675-$3,370-1.61%
2015$210,989$5,3142.58%
2016$223,714$12,7256.03%
2017$239,882$16,1687.23%
2018$247,117$7,2353.02%

Capital One total deposits

Total Credit Card Loans 2007 – 2018 (Source: Capital One’s Annual Reports)

YearTotal Credit Card Loans

(in millions)

Difference

(in millions)

Annual

Growth %

2007$16,792Acquired Hibernia and North Fork Bank
2008$23,496$6,70439.92%Acquired Chevy Chase Bank
2009$15,603-$7,893-33.59%
2010$57,492$41,889268.47%
2011$63,148$5,6569.84%
2012$90,942$27,79444.01%Acquired ING Direct & HSBC’s U.S. credit card
2013$81,305-$9,637-10.60%
2014$85,876$4,5715.62%
2015$96,125$10,24911.93%
2016$105,552$9,4279.81%
2017$114,762$9,2108.73%
2018$116,361$1,5991.39%

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Deposit Portfolio Analysis

By utilizing ProfitGPS™, our in-house proprietary tool derived from research published in the Harvard Business Review, I input specific Capital One data points — such as the total number of customers (45 million people), total deposits of $249,764 million (in 2018) and other points — and found many insightful nuggets from its deposit profile.

Note: my analysis figures are within +/- 25% margin of error

Here’s the chart of Capital One’s deposit portfolio.

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(80/20)1 Analysis (called 80/20 Analysis)

The purpose of (80/20)1 Analysis is to analyze if 20% of Capital One’s customers should be accountable for 80% of the total deposits.

Given 20% of 45 million customers = 9 million, we have the following:

First 1,000,000th customers$44,750 millions in deposit (18% of total)
Second 1,000,000th customers$24,630 millions in deposit (10% of total)
Third 1,000,000th customers$17,370 millions in deposit (7% of total)
Fourth 1,000,000th customers$13,560 millions in deposit (5.4% of total)
Fifth 1,000,000th customers$11,190 millions in deposit (4.5% of total)
Sixth 1,000,000th customers$9,562 millions in deposit (3.8% of total)
Seventh 1,000,000th customers$8,373 millions in deposit (3.4% of total)
Eighth 1,000,000th customers$7,463 millions in deposit (3% of total)
Nineth 1,000,000th customers$6,743 millions in deposit (2.7% of total)
Total Deposits of top 20% customers$143,641 millions (57.5%)

It’s obvious that the top 20% of Capital One’s customers only reach 57.5% of total deposits vs. 80% of total deposits.

What it means is that Capital One is potentially leaving $56,197 million (22.5%) in deposits on the table.

I call this “Invisible Deposit Money.” Basically, it’s the deposits their customers have but they park their money elsewhere and don’t give it to Capital One.

According to the Federal Reserve, the reserve ratio (RR) for a bank with Capital One’s size is 10%. Let’s see how much revenue Capital One could have received if they were able to capture some portions of the “Invisible Deposit Money” (IDM).

According to Capital One, their Net Interest Margin (NIM) is 6.87%.

Deposits Claimed$ Avail for Lending

(10% RR)

Additional Net Interest Income
Capture 100% of IDM$56,197 millions$505,773 millions$34,747 millions
Capture 50% of IDM$28,098 millions$252,882 millions$17,373 millions
Capture 25% of IDM$14,049 millions$126,441 millions$8,686 millions

Even if in the most conservative case (only capture 25% of the IDM), Capital One still adds $8,686 million to their bottom line!

Conclusion:

  • When Capital One failed the (80/20)1 Analysis, my prediction is that their marketing strategy was not optimized and not allocated efficiently to attract the full potential of the top 20% of customers.
  • In other words, without this focus, Capital One will continue to waste their marketing dollars on prospects/customers who are not prime targets to big deposits.
  • All they need to do is to create specialized campaigns that target that segment exclusively because their customers are not depositing enough.

(80/20)2 Analysis (called 80/20 Square Analysis)

The purpose of (80/20)2 Analysis is to analyze if the top 4% of Capital One’s customers should be accountable for 64% of the total deposits.

Given 4% of 45 million customers = 2 million customers, we have the following:

First 1,000,000th customers$44,750 millions in deposit (18% of total)
Second 1,000,000th customers$24,630 millions in deposit (10% of total)
Total Deposits of top 4% customers$69,380 millions (28%)

Well, once again Capital One fell short because its top 4% of customers only account for 28% vs. 64% of total deposits.

In other words, for the top 4% customers, Capital One’s “Invisible Deposit Money” is $89,915 million (36%) in deposits.

According to Capital One’s annual report, their Net Interest Margin (NIM) is 6.87%.

Deposits Claimed$ Avail for Lending

(10% RR)

Additional Net Interest Income
Capture 100% of IDM$89,915 millions$809,235 millions$55,594 millions
Capture 50% of IDM$44,958 millions$404,618 millions$27,797 millions
Capture 25% of IDM$22,479 millions$202,309 millions$13,899 millions

In the most conservative case (only capture 25% of the IDM), Capital One still adds $13,899 million to their bottom line!

Conclusion:

  • The (80/20)2 Analysis adds another level of urgency to the team, and where they should be spending more time, because by focusing on the top 4% of their clients, the reward is greater, even in the most conservative case (i.e 25% of IDM leads to $13,900 millions).
  • The marketing strategy for the top 4% will be much different than the remaining 96% of their customers because they have different needs, goals, priorities, and risk profiles.
  • For example, Chase Private Client was a good example of how to extract more values out of your existing customers because Chase did understand the (80/20)2 Analysis really well.

If you are interested in learning about how much deposits your bank is leaving on the table and what are the strategies to claim it, please reach out to our office, or call us at (940) 239-7564.

In the next section, I’ll deconstruct the entire Capital One’s digital growth strategies and how you will learn what works for you.

Website Traffic Analysis

Total One Website Traffic

97% of Capital One’s traffic arrives from three buckets:

  1. Direct – visitors who use Capital One’s URLs, or search for branded terms (71.46%)
  2. Referrals – websites referring traffic to Capital One’s website (13.95%)
  3. Organic Search – traffic coming from organic SEO (11.39%)

Direct Traffic

  • Over 77 million visitors out of 108 million visitors (71.46%) are aware of Capital One’s brand and directly type their branded terms in the website’s browser.
  • By putting the direct traffic in perspective of the entire U.S population (327 million in 2019), we’ve come up with the conclusion that 1 in 4 Americans are aware of the brand.
  • This is HUGE for a 13-year-old bank like Capital One, as it shows the company’s leadership realizes that enormous investment in branding ($2 billion in 2018) can bring about the recognition they need.

Screen Shot 2019 04 11 at 5.21.59 PM 1

As you can see, 92.97% of traffic to Capital One is branded traffic. Chairman, CEO and President Richard D. Fairbank claimed that the Capital One brand is “one of the best known and most powerful brands in banking, with near universal awareness.”

In the next section of “Celebrity Marketing” and Sponsorship, I’ll dissect how the bank achieves its “near universal awareness.”

Referring Traffic

Besides the 71.46% of direct traffic, referral traffic also leads to 13.95% (15M+ visitors) to the Capital One website.

Here’s the list of top referral traffic to Capital One:

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  1. CreditKarma.com (Total 70.66M visitors)
    • Originally offered as tool to check your credit score for free, Credit Karma emerges as a place for people to compare offers for credit cards, and more.

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  • Imagine for a moment, creditkarma.com sends 6.64% of its visitors (4.69M) to Capital One’s website, and it never stops.
  • For example, on one of its pages (https://www.creditkarma.com/credit-cards), it features “Best Credit Cards from Our Partners.” Sure enough, Capital One’s offer shows up.
  • I believe this is the best traffic source for Capital One because:
    • The content is relevant to what the bank offers because people are comparing credit cards.
    • The temperature of leads is definitely warm, not cold, because, from this page, people will not only see all the details, the ratings, the reviews from previous happy clients, or (best of all) the trust people put into Creditkarma.com for many years.
    • Warm leads certainly increase Capital One’s chance to win their business.

Capital One

  • Another page (https://www.creditkarma.com/credit-cards/balance-transfer) addresses another common need from American people: balance transfer.
  • Make no mistake, creditkarma.com does an outstanding job of positioning Capital One’s offer to their visitors (for balance transfer along with reviews, details, etc.)

Capital One

  1. Cabela’s (Total visitors: 12.14 millions)
    • Capital One took over Cabela’s credit card unit back in 2016 for a price tag of $200 million, when a rival, Bass Pro Shops, bought the outdoor gear seller.
    • The deal compliments Capital One’s strength and, best of all, the amount of traffic, which Cabela’s redirected to Capital One.
    • A total of 7.2 million Cabela’s visitors (59.34% of 12.14M) were redirected to Capital One’s website.
    • This is one of the best “insurance policies” Capital One bought for itself because it can continuously get traffic to Capital One’s website for years to come without paying Google and Facebook a single dime.
    • In 2016, Capital One’s credit card loans were $105,552 million, a $9,427-million increase from 2015.

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Organic Traffic

  • In addition to the success of creditkarma.com and Cabela, Capital One enjoys a firm position in the organic search results in major keywords.
  • For instance, the keyword “capital one” occupies No. 1 in the search engine, with a search volume of 9,400,000. The No. 1 position indicates a powerful strength in the Capital One brand.

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  • Furthermore, as Capital One launched more and more products, Capital One team also did a good job to rank its products names such as “capital one bank,” “capital one 360,” “capital one credit card,” which all share No. 1 position in the search engine (as illustrated below).

Capital One

In summary, Capital One has built a huge brand recognition on a national scale (over 71.46% in direct traffic). For a bank that’s only been around for 20 years, it’s not an easy task, but Capital One made it happen!

Influencer Marketing

Instagram Influencer

Back in 2000, Capital One launched its iconic campaign, “What’s in your wallet?,” which took them from “Capital Who?” to a household name almost overnight. It caused them to achieve near universal awareness levels (99%) within three years of launch.

Riding on the current popularity of influencer marketing, Capital One decided to activate its popular, “What’s In Your Wallet?” campaign on Instagram to build brand awareness as a leader and innovator in financial services.

The Solution

Capital One launched a five-week long #walletstories campaign by redefining their well-known “What’s in Your Wallet?” tagline and leveraging the user-generated content campaign to invite people to open their wallets and share the keepsakes and memories they carry with them.

Instead of creating their own ads, Capital One tapped three popular Instagram influencers: Zach Rose, Kimberly Genevieve, and Paul Octavious, who documented #walletstories using different perspectives and visuals and shared them on Capital One’s Instagram account.

Capital One Marketing

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Capital One Marketing

According to Capital One, the results after the five-week campaign were so successful that they were featured on Adweek.

  • The images boosted Capital One’s ad recall 16 percent, particularly among Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.
  • With people 45 and older, the ad recall increased 25 percent.
  • Brand favorability shot up 3 percent for people between 21 and 24 years old.

Top Performing Blogs

Besides Instagram influencers, Capital One team also cultivated its relationship with bloggers, especially for frequent travelers.

This post about the  Venture Card on thepointsguy.com, which attracts a whopping 7.93 million visitors, generates 1.8k Facebook engagements.

Capital One Marketing

What’s even more appealing is that thepointsguy.com generates 733k+ visitors to Capital One’s website. Here’s the break-down:

There are 7.93 million visitors to thepointsguy.com, and 9.25% (or 733k+ visitors) will visit Capital One’s website.

Capital One Marketing

Top Performing Videos

A search of “capital one” on YouTube reveals the following stats:

  • Highest Views: 434,337,341
  • Average Views: 13,155,364
  • Average Subscribers: 154,910

Capital One Marketing

  • The 9-min long video from the creator “How To Build Credit TV” generates 25,854 views, which really shows how important YouTube creator can do to drive massive traffic to Capital One’s products.

Capital One Marketing

Conclusion: Capital One has mastered the game of influencer marketing because the results from Instagram campaigns, YouTube, and influencer bloggers were “statement” win to serve as foundations for future campaigns.

Celebrity Marketing

Besides influencers, Capital One is famous for its Celebrity Marketing campaigns featuring mainstream celebrities (from movie stars, to sports legends, etc.) in their TV commercials to build massive brand awareness.

  1. Jennifer Garner (2014 – present)

With over 5.8m followers, Ms. Garner has been working with Capital One since 2014 as the face of Capital One’s TV commercials.

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According to ispot.tv, Ms. Garner’s commercial has been aired nationally for over 7,822 times with 91% positive rating.

Capital One Marketing

  1. Samuel L. Jackson (2013 – present)

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SImilar to Ms. Garner, Mr. Jackson has worked with Capital One since 2013 and has made many TV commercials, which had 8,954 national airings and 80% positive ratings.

Capital One Marketing

  1. “Road Trip” Final Four campaign, featuring Jackson, Spike Lee, and Charles Barkley.

Capital One Marketing

  1. Alec Baldwin – Venture card

Capital One Marketing

  1. Jimmy Fallon – Cash card offer

Capital One Marketing

  1. Jerry Stiller – High Yield Checking

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Without a doubt, Capital One understood the power of celebrity and has invested strategically in TV commercials featuring celebrities for years. The investment has paid off handsomely, considering the direct traffic reached 71.46% and 1-in-4 Americans are aware of the brand.

Sport & Event Sponsorship

Since 2009, Capital One has shown their commitment to sport sponsorship. Over the years, Capital One has upped its game to reach the highest level of sponsorship marketing, from becoming the official sponsor of the NCAA, to winner of Sports CLIO awards for its “Road Trip” Final Four campaign.

Capital One Marketing

Sports CLIO Award

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NCAA’s Official Sponsor

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Official bank & credit card of NCAA March Madness

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iHeart Radio Sponsorship

Capital One team also made sure that they are maximizing those events by using social media channel like Facebook to engage with their customer base and further build their brand awareness.

Here is a the list of top Facebook posts, which a large number of comments and engagements are from the sports and musical events that Capital One sponsored. (Note: Be sure to study the language, hashtag, images and videos they used)

pasted image 0 149https://facebook.com/capitalone/posts/1493762820671189
pasted image 0 139https://facebook.com/capitalone/posts/1926972274016906
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https://facebook.com/capitalone/posts/1569372009776936

https://facebook.com/capitalone/posts/1567610756619728

pasted image 0 159https://facebook.com/capitalone/posts/1925683920812408
pasted image 0 154https://facebook.com/capitalone/posts/1493693354011469
pasted image 0 141https://facebook.com/capitalone/posts/1927641330616667
pasted image 0 113https://facebook.com/capitalone/posts/1493607414020063
pasted image 0 91https://facebook.com/capitalone/posts/1939889986058468
pasted image 0 143https://facebook.com/capitalone/posts/1321018777945595

Social Media Marketing

Although people were aware of Capital One’s products from myriads of TV commercials and NCAA sponsorship, Capital One team felt the need to establish a deeper connection with current and prospective audience because they were unfamiliar with Capital One’s brand promise.

In 2016, Capital One team created a brand-focused campaign called “#DefineYourDream” to highlight empowering and uplifting stories from Capital One customers, and it ran primarily on Facebook and Instagram.

By leveraging on the user-generated content, people are creating their own definition of success, and, on top of that, Capital One is providing a platform and new ways of banking to better serve those success stories.

There are three-featured videos from the campaign. The first video focuses on a small business owner who sells lingerie (Oh La Bra) and runs a program to help cancer survivors.

Capital One Marketing

The second video is about an adventure-taking life coach Catherine who quitted her 9-5 job to pursue her dream to help people.

Catherine also penned an article on Capital One website:

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Capital One Marketing

The last video features a teacher Sheena in Los Angeles who uses cash-back rewards from her Capital One cards to buy supplies for her low-income and homeless students.

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Capital One was leveraging the best storytelling tools from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote their stories.

Facebook Canvas

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Instagram Story

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Twitter Moment

Capital One Marketing

The campaign was so successful, not only in numbers but also in winning the hearts and minds of Capital One customers.

Strength in numbers (source: Emily Mitchell Design)

  • 15+ million video views overall
  • 693k earned impressions
  • 353k total engagements
  • 11PT increase in favorability
  • Austin ADDY Award Winner – Social Media Campaign

Comments like these are exactly what Capital One set out to do, and they made it!

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Top Performing Paid Search

Despite a modest 3% of traffic from paid search, Capital One team has clearly understood the power of dominating the #1 Search engine in the world: Google.

In the offline world, when there’s a bank on every corner, the online world works very differently because as far as Google concerns, the #1 spot in the search engine yields 32.5% of the overall traffic.

Capital One Statistic

As you discover, the traffic cost of paid search was in the neighborhood of $174M vs $21M (organic search), more than 8 times. Moreover, the traffic generated from paid search was 96.5M vs 14.8M (organic) – 6 times more traffic.

Indeed, you can see a hockey-stick pattern for paid search vs organic.

Capital One Statistic

Below is a list of some of the top-performing paid search ads:

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  1. Those are the ad headlines for credit card offers, which Capital One team has been testing relentlessly. They are drawing traffic, leads, and conversions that you don’t want to miss.
  2. The secondary headlines extend the benefits for the main headlines.

Paid search is definitely a must-have tool for any bank to grow its traffic, brand awareness, and credit card offers. Capital One understands how important this channel is, and they fully capitalize and maximize what Google offers.

Top Performing Display Ads

Although the display ads traffic from Capital One only accounts for a tiny portion of less than 1% of the total traffic, the impact is still enormous, and display ads can serve as “digital” billboard that effectively follows people across the Internet.

Below are some of their top-performing and longest-running displays ads. Capital One team did invest a considerable amount of money in doing A/B testing and continued to optimize their ads. I hope you can learn and model after their success for your campaigns.

One fascinating piece of information is about the traffic source. In the past, you might have wondered how you can draw more traffic to your website or offers. You don’t need to look any further because I also deconstructed Capital One’s primary traffic sources.

Next time, all you need to do is to send your creatives to those traffic sources and watch your website flood with traffic.

Credit Card Top-Performing Ads

Capital One Marketing

  1. Days seen: 37
  2. Top traffic sources to the ad:
Site (Web Rank) Impressions Days Seen
yahoo.com2,388,236,60034
yahoo.com162,740,2003
msn.com128,636,4003
answers.yahoo.com19,293,20034
news.yahoo.com2,539,70019

Capital One Marketing

  1. Days seen: 14
  2. Top traffic sources to the ad:
Site (Web Rank) Impressions Days Seen
yahoo.com714,320,80014
answers.yahoo.com6,109,80014
news.yahoo.com1,592,8008
homes.yahoo.com101,30010

Capital One Marketing

  1. Days seen: 12
  2. Top traffic sources to the ad:
Site (Web Rank) Impressions Days Seen
yahoo.com930,299,80012
answers.yahoo.com8,065,60012
yahoo.com1,641,6002
games.yahoo.com634,6006
screen.yahoo.com291,50012

Capital One Marketing

  1. Days seen: 18
  2. Top traffic sources to the ad:
Site (Web Rank) Impressions Days Seen
yahoo.com1,178,044,10016
yahoo.com166,323,0004
answers.yahoo.com9,186,40016
answers.yahoo.com1,324,9002
games.yahoo.com1,267,60011

Original Landing Page: http://findmycard.capitalone.com/en/PageVersions/LandingPages/LP_ONE_V01.aspx

Capital One’s team changed the destination of the landing page often.

For example, in 2016, visitors were redirected to the following landing page (destination) after clicking on the ad.

Capital One Marketing

  1. As you realized, all the above ads invite consumers to see which credit cards they will be prequalified for. When they landed on this landing page, it was good that the language was a continuation of what’s on the prospect’s mind, such as “choose a category.”
  2. Immediately after that were a selection of cards with different purposes from travel rewards, business rewards, building credit, etc.
  3. The call to action was also appealing: “Find Out in 60 seconds.” It’s a strong action and serves as a bridge for the perception gap between the ads and offer.

Results in 2016

  • In 2016, Capital One’s credit card unit did fairly well. The total credit card loans were $105,552 million (a 9.81% increase, or $9,427 million more than 2015).
  • I am not surprised because when Capital One generated 5,720,649,900 impressions, a strong offer, a strong call to actions – good things happened.

In 2017, visitors were redirected to this version of the landing page:

Capital One Marketing

In 2017, Capital One team changed their landing page again with lots of exciting changes.

  1. What I liked about this page is the main message/big bold promise. It goes “See if you’re pre-qualified… in less than 60 seconds.” The message was very compelling and addressed the No. 1 question everyone was asking: “How long does it take?”
  2. Back in 2016, the landing page featured a list of cards, and when people clicked on the button “Find Out in 60 seconds,” the prospects had to fill out the form. In 2017, Capital One team presented the 11-question form upfront to simplify the process.
  3. The call to action button, “See your card offers,” was carefully crafted to continue the thought process. After filling out the form, what would the prospects want to see next? The offer, indeed.

Results in 2017

  • 2017 was another stellar year for Capital One’s credit card unit. The total credit card loans were $114,762 million (a 9% increase, or $9,210 million more than 2016).
  • It’s so obvious that a small change in your landing page will increase the clarity and power of your offer, and it reflects in the numbers.

Banking Top-Performing Ads

Capital One Marketing URL: http://www.capitalone.com/bank/growstrong/

Days seen: 58

Last Seen: 8/25/2017

Traffic Source:

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Capital One Marketing URL: http://www.capitalone.com/bank/growstrong/

Days seen: 68

Last Seen: 10/1/2017

Traffic Source:

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Capital One Marketing URL: http://www.capitalone.com/bank/lp2/360moneymarket/

Days seen: 116

Last Seen: 10/16/2016

Traffic Source:

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Capital One Marketing URL: http://www.capitalone.com/bank/lp/360MoneyMarket/

Days seen: 153

Last Seen: 5/15/2017

Traffic Source:

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What we learned from Capital One’s top-performing ads for its banking offer:

  • As you realized, Capital One’s offer for its 360 Money Market was crystal clear in its language and offer. For example, the Capital One team spelled out exactly what the prospects were going to get.
    • The rate: 1.10% APY
    • Nation’s best saving
    • Top rate
    • No fees
  • The traffic source for banking product was more diverse than those from the credit card offers. You see new sources such as U.S. News, Morningstar, Amazon, Hotels.com, etc. Once again, this is the best piece of intelligence Capital One left behind for you because you know exactly where to promote your banking offer next time, don’t you?
  • With over 2,396,515,200 impressions from those top ads above, Capital One really drove a tremendous amount of traffic to not only build the awareness about its 360 Money Market but also score a huge success in deposits from 2016-2017.
  • I covered in detail Capital One’s landing page from 2006-2019 in the section below.

In summary, Capital One team flexed its muscles in display ads for its credit card and banking unit. With more than 8+ billion impressions for top ads in credit card and banking, Capital One left many valuable lessons for its traffic source choices and its relentlessly scientific testing in its ads creative and landing page designs.

Landing Page Analysis

Studying landing pages of Capital One is one of the most underutilized and overlooked research tools to dissect and deconstruct opportunities and mistakes about their strategies, such as how they attract their prospects, what offers they should create, and how they position their offer.

Evolution of Capital One Landing Page Since 2006-2018

Capital One is a unique case for a financial institution because they only started to get into banking from 2003. Compared to other top 10 banks, Capital One is a young bank, but their growth is awe-inspiring and worth studying.

In this section, you will learn how I broke down the changes of Capital One in the early years of its banking arm and the financial impact of changes they made on their website.

2006 & 2007

Capital One Marketing

In 2006 and 2007, when Capital One was in the early stage of its banking unit, its landing page was busy and included a lot of info.

  1. Notably, Capital One acquired Hibernia and were busy to integrate it to its Capital One branding.
  2. As you now know about the history of Capital One’s banking, they built the momentum of their banking arm by acquisitions in the early year, and they relied heavily on product/service offerings from the acquirees. In fact, its website reflected with many product links from personal, small business, and commercial products.
  3. By the end of 2007, Capital One’s deposit grew to $82.761 billion after the acquisition of Hibernia and North Fork Bank.

2008

Capital One Marketing

In 2008, there were several noteworthy new developments:

  1. Capital One acquired Chevy Chase Bank in D.C. They rebranded and changed their logo, but the catch tagline of “what’s in your wallet?” remained the same. It makes sense for Capital One to do a logo change after absorbing three bank franchises for the past two years.
  2. Notice how Capital One changed its background image to a more specific offer, “Card Lab” in this case. It was a good move for them because it indicated that they developed focus on a particular type of offer instead of the generic “announcement-type” message in 2006 and 2007.
  3. Obviously, the experience from acquiring three banks started to pay dividends. Capital One started to flex its offering in saving accounts, auto loans, and home loans. When you have clarity in your offerings, it shows up on your financials. Indeed, the total deposits in 2008 (along with the deposits from the acquiree Chevy Chase Bank) was $108.621 billion (a 31% increase, or $25.86 billions more than 2007)
  4. The legacy links were still present; although, its real estate has been downsized to give space for the offerings.

2009 & 2010

Capital One Marketing

In 2009 & 2010, Capital One made several changes and revealed its new strategy.

  1. Capital One team moved the “Manage Your Accounts” section from right to left and the main background image to the right.
    • Capital One has listened to the feedback well because as more and more people know about the brand, positioning the most used feature to the most dominant real estate on the screen increases the user experience.
    • As you realized, Capital One added a small section called “Mail Offer – Respond to an offer you received in the mail.” They’ve been an early player of direct mail orders to grow their credit card offerings. Guess what? Those direct mail campaigns gained tractions and produced results. That’s why Capital One team wanted to leverage its heavy traffic website to increase the direct-mail offer redemption.
  2. Capital One team continued to refine their message to increase the conversion of their credit card offerings. The call to action button and the image were engaging people to take action.
  3. The legacy links area was completely gone to give space to “Top Requests” area – another terrific effort from Capital One to increase its resourcefulness and user experience. Wouldn’t it better to have all of the top requests your customers asked all the time in one place? You bet it would.
  4. In area numbered 4 and 5, Capital One strategically highlighted its signature “Design Your Own Card” and its most popular and expanding offerings. As you realized, they offered more banking products such as Reward Money Market and 2-Year CD.
  5. Takeaways in 2009 and 2010:
    • Capital One was more strategic in utilizing the real estate on their website, maximizing its conversion and user experience.
    • The clarity and the breadth of their offerings have been improved when they were clear about the message and action their customers should take.
    • The total deposits in 2009 and 2010 were $115.809 billion and $119.010 billion, respectively. In those two years, the combined total deposits increased to $10.4 billion.

2011

Capital One Marketing

  1. The website in 2011 was similar to its run in 2009 and 2010, but I want to point out, once again, that the Capital One team has figured out what has worked for them in the past two years to launch their new Venture card. Specifically, here’s what worked for them:
    • The promise (main message): Best Rewards Card if you aim to rack up airline miles. The Capital One team was clear enough to use the quote from the authority (MONEY magazine), which happened to be in line with what the Venture Card offered.
    • The call-to-action button’s style and language are relevant and to-the-point.
    • The photo with stacked airplanes complimented the main message: to rack up airline miles.
  2. Capital One team wasted no real estate on their website and used it to strategically advertise for their new Venture Card.
  3. Overall in 2011, Capital One did well when their total deposits were $126.694 billion, an increase of $7.684 billion compared to 2010. Well done!

2012

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In 2012, lots of changes for Capital One, let’s start off with the 2 major acquisitions they closed (ING Direct & HSBC’s U.S. credit card). The entire Capital One was extremely busy to integrate 2 new brands to the Capital One’s umbrella along with all the back office operations. be very busy.

  1. Honestly, I don’t understand why Capital One decided to use the left nav menu. It appeared as if like the legacy links in the early years. I don’t know what the focus really is but placing the submenu on the most visible area was not a wise usage of website real estate. It could have been better.
  2. Despite the flop on the left nav, team Capital One did a really good job on the offering.
    • The promise (main message): Get Paid. Twice. Very enticing and irresistible offer of their saving account. The detail of the offer was also crystal clear because they spelled out exactly what the consumers are going to get & and how. Overall, the promise is short, brief, but packed with powerful forces.
    • The call-to-action button’s style and language are relevant and to-the-point.
  3. The acquisition of ING and HSBC really boosted the depth and quality of Capital One’s offers tremendously. Capital One was capable of offering more and more products targeting a wide variety of needs.
  4. The focus on customer experience from Capital One started to pay off when they won the “Customer Service Experience” award. This indicated that Capital One team focused on the right direction because as they expanded, they need to lead the customer experience front to compete efficiently.
  5. In 2012, Capital One racked up $203.055 billion in total deposits ($76.361 billion increase vs 2011). Although part of this massive deposit increase was the result of ING & HSBC acquisitions. Capital One has more than doubled its size in just four years (since 2007). They had the size, the technology, the team, and the vision to eye for more growth.

2013

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  1. In 2013, Capital One fully integrated ING & HSBC under its umbrella and launched its new Capital One 360, “the official bank of today.” It was a right strategic move to streamline offers from ING (and others) into an universal brand of its own to avoid confusion.
  2. The sub-headline bolstered its confidence when Capital One touted how “checking and savings available in your area (unless you’re on a desert island). This confidence was tremendous because for the first time Capital One felt that they reached the scale and visibility like other megabanks.
  3. I’d revise the call-to-action to something like, “Discover more,” or something different than its usual “Learn More,” especially when you’re launching a brand new line like Capital One 360.
  4. As you can see, all other elements on the website from previous years (such as login, top requests, etc.) were all gone to yield the whole attention to the Capital One 360. In 2013, Capital One’s total deposits were $209.045 billion, a $6 billion increase from 2012. Way to go, Capital One!

2014

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  1. In 2014, for some reason, Capital One messed up their landing page big time, which took away the power of the big, bold claim previously used in 2012. You almost don’t recognize if this was the Capital One or something else. I get that the Capital One 360 has expanded geographically and the team added a way for consumers to find its way, but there’s got to be a better way to do it.
  2. The banner here was compliment to the branch finder by zip code.

What can you learn from changes in 2014?

  • The website was awful and looked like the Capital One team threw away their playbook.
  • Where was the big ,bold promise, the call to action, etc? There were many ways to help your customers see “the great things available” to them, but this was simply NOT the way.
  • Without clarity on the promise and vision, you will suffer. In 2014, Capital One’s total deposits declined to $205.675 billions (a loss of $3.370 billion)
  • If you were interested in learning about how to prevent financial loss from lack of clarity on your website and landing pages, please reach out to our office or call us at (940) 239-7564.
  • To be fair, the landing page in 2014 was not the only factor causing the loss of $3.370 billion dollars, but the lack of clarity on the landing page definitely caused confusion and loss of new prospects.

2015

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What a difference! Capital One’s financial loss in 2014 has finally awakened the team and urged them to go back to the drawing board to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

  1. In 2015, the Capital One team went back to what worked by introducing a brand new site layout. The big, bold promise Capital One team made: Banking built the right way: for you. What a concept! It was a complete 180 degree from last year where Capital One seemed lost and just by changing the main message; Capital One was back in business. Well-done!
  1. The call-to-action was no longer the boring “Learn More.” Instead, Capital One invited consumers to “explore,” a very refreshing and friendly approach. Moreover, the hero image of a mom and her son enjoying their time together was inviting a personalized atmosphere and matched well with the overall theme of banking built “for you.”

What can you learn from changes in 2015?

  • When I analyzed this landing page in 2015, I was impressed by the new design and position (big, bold claim) Capital One is promising and embracing. I am so glad that Capital One team remediated their landing page in 2014.
  • In previous blog where I analyzed Chase Private Banking, I can see similar pattern when there was lack of clarity, the bank suffer financially. The bounce back occurred when the bank made a big bold promise.
  • Without a question, Capital One reverted the loss and went back to the black ink with the total deposits of $210.989 ($5.314 billion increase, or a $8.6 billion swing compared to 2014). Kudos to Capital One team for a fantastic comeback.

2016, 2017 & 2018

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I combined 2016, 2017, and 2018 because there weren’t many significant changes. As you discover, Capital One team took the loss to heart and learned from what worked. They didn’t make any substantial changes to the landing page.

  1. The big, bold promise was getting better and bolder: Your money matters. You matter more. Capital One team clearly understood that the powerful message moves people.
  2. They also introduced the sub-headline: “Experience banking that puts you first,” which amplifies the theme of “You matter more” and expands the “how” – that is via “experience banking”. Needless to say, the team at Capital One spent a lot of time to refine and find the right combination of main message and sub head.
  3. The call to action was good, but the double call-to-actions weakened the power of the potent promise because when people are unsure of what to do, they will do none. Capital One team needs to determine which is the primary action they want their customers to take to maximize their effectiveness.
  4. Needless to say, Capital One were doing really well from 2016-2018, total deposits topped at $247.117 billion dollars in 2018 vs $210.989 billion dollars in 2015 ($36 billions increase)

Current Landing Page Breakdown (2019 and onward)

URL: https://capitalone.com/bank/

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This is the above-the-fold section of Capital One’s landing page.

Everything they need to convert their user is in this section:

  1. Right off the bat, Capital One asserted its positioning with the big, bold promise, “Grow your money with up to 2.00% APY.” To come up with this ultra-specific promise, Capital One did a lot of research on their end to capture 80% of what their customers need: a high yield saving account. The choice of a smiling a professional man in a suit does add more persuasion to the offer.
  2. The call to action of “Open Account” is my most favorite because of its clarity. You don’t have to beat around the bush anymore; take the action of “Open Account,” and that’s what Capital One team wants its customers to do. Very bold and effective.

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3. Capital One substantiates why you should bank with them. By mentioning the digital experience and the digital Cafes, Capital One further resells its coolness and a brand new experience they have been investing heavily. Moreover, the usage of icons and punchy benefit statements strengthened why.

4. Capital One went extra miles to emphasize the reasons why consumers should consider them.

  • First benefit: “Goodbye stress. Hello simple.” This is where Capital One positions its offers vs. other alternatives. The copywriting carefully crafts a perfect offer and positioning: no fees, no minimums, no bait, and switch, open in 5 mins.

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  • Second benefit: “Manage your money on the go.” Once again, Capital One is known for its prowess in technology. Therefore, selling the benefit of a bank anywhere, anytime, and on “on the go,” further illuminates Capital One’s strength.

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  • Third benefit: “Inviting space. Friendly people.” This is where Capital One differentiated itself from others: by redefining the role of the bank as a place where they can kick back with a cup of Peet’s coffee and enjoy “wifi.”

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5. Testimonials are always a good tool to build trust, and Capital One is doing a good job to feature their best client. I’d strongly recommend the bank team to include a headshot above the testimonial text (similar to what Chase has done to maximize conversions).

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6. The final call-to-action is to invite customers to find a location near them.

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7. Capital One didn’t leverage all the opportunity they have to not only educate potential customers about the benefits of opening an account with them, but also take the time to add “money management tips” to increase the perceived value and resourcefulness of the bank. In other words, Capital One wants to send a message: “I am not here to do a hard sell, I am here to add values.”

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Conclusion

There you go! The complete digital growth playbook of Capital One!

Needless to say, Capital One team does not leave any stones unturned. As the “technology trait” is in their DNA, they are fearless and hungry to experiment and stay of on top of their game not only in TV commercials, NCAA sponsorship, but also in new areas such as Instagram influencer marketing.

For banks that do not match the marketing budget like Capital One, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of work involved. My advice is to pick one strategy and go deeper until you master that channel.

Remember, Capital One empire doesn’t get built overnight. It requires discipline and commitment.

What Do You Go From Here?

If you are serious about seeking help to design a growth strategy like Capital One, get in touch with us here.

Until then, you can download the one-page pdf annual growth plan to get clarity on where you want to go as you discovered from my research with Chase & Capital One, lack of transparency and direction can lead to the loss of billions of dollars. Don’t let it happen to you.

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