Credit Cards and Their Brands: A Comprehensive Analysis
Consumers openly share their opinions about clothing, music, movies, and television on social media, but what about their opinions on financial decisions and consumer financial products? Financial discussions on social media are very different from other consumer products, but we have discovered that they do, in fact, exist. Similar to other verticals, financial institutions greatly benefit from knowing where they stand amongst their competitors. With a growing curiosity about what these consumers are saying, we decided to analyze the discussions around five leading credit card brands and dove into one topic to gain further insights within this social conversation.
Our study focuses on discussions on Twitter around American Express, Capital One, Chase, Citi, and Discover in relation to credit cards. Blogs, Forums, and other content sources are available for analysis through Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight platform, but typically reflect more of an expert, rather than casual consumer, discussion.
First, we find that discussion around American Express credit cards led the group in volume from January 1, 2013 to Oct 23, 2013.
Even though it helps to know which brands generate the most discussion on social media, a more important aspect of the conversation is “what” people are saying. Unsurprisingly, the topic of credit limits drove most of the discussion, though we find it interesting that discussion around points and rewards ranks fourth, behind fraud and interest rates.
It might seem clear that the key players use the majority of their marketing budgets promoting rewards and points through TV commercials and other advertising outlets, and these efforts appear to yield a great deal of discussion on Twitter. With ForSight, we can learn even more about how and why these marketing efforts are generating a social buzz.
If you work for American Express, or a competitor, you should ask, “What is driving the rewards and points discussion relative to my brand?” We examined the discussion more closely and found that “redeeming points” and “looking to increase points” led the conversation. However, we were very surprised to find that “questions and confusion” about points and rewards was a significant topic.
Example tweets continued to lead us to ask more questions, and we discovered that American Express has a very active customer engagement program using @AskAmex.
@AskAmex Can I transfer my gold card points to my costco amex?
— Meg Busa (@skulugramma) May 21, 2013
@AskAmex Which airlines can I use amex australia points on
— Keith Piggott (@kpiggott) May 29, 2013
We decided to take another dive into this analysis (more specifically, @AskAmex) to understand the topics of consumer engagement conversation. As expected, points and rewards are significant drivers of conversation. Yet, it is interesting to note that website, online, and mobile category dominates the @AskAmex discussion.
What are the specific concerns about the website and mobile support? How do the other brands compare? All of these business questions can be discovered and transformed into actionable insights. For example, it is clear that there are some technological concerns among AMEX customers, so an investment in improving the usability of the website and mobile apps could be very helpful for the brand name in social media. It just requires a perspective of social media as more than engagement, and as a rich source of insights for multiple groups within an organization.
So what does all this mean for a credit card business? We began with a simple credit card brand analysis, where it quickly became clear that American Express has had the largest volume in 2013 so far. As we honed in on the drivers of the conversation, similar to root cause analytics, each analysis led to additional questions. Customer care is an expensive operation and we quickly identified the key issues generating the discussion:
- Confusion around points & rewards programs
- Troubles with the technological features of the brand (website & mobile apps)
Addressing those issues could eliminate additional tweets and customer service calls (costs to the organization). Credit cards live in a highly competitive sector and consumers are providing large volumes of unsolicited opinions. Are you using them to your advantage?
To learn more about social analysis can impact financial brands marketing, please download our study on Profiling the Unbanked and Underbanked.
Editor’s Note: Chase Richey, Gary Shuman, and Stephanie Newby collaborated on this analysis.