By Kerry Tracy, CEO of Working Media Group
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has been reaching out to a number of big banks over the last year in an attempt to get their customer data. After the many data access and privacy struggles hitting Facebook, you would think banks would be super-reluctant to share customer financial data. But banks realize that Facebook holds a dominant engagement position with mobile consumers and they continue to struggle to get their depositors to embrace their own mobile solutions. So, perhaps teaming with Facebook as the platform for their clients to utilize their services may have merit.
Do banks want to surrender the platform by which their clients make payments and interact to a gorilla like Facebook or do they want to own it themselves? Or both? It’s a strategic call that could go either way and many of the bigger banks like JP Morgan Chase are reportedly opting to go it on their own.
Facebook says they have no plan to use the customer data to further target and segment audiences for purposes of serving ads. So, what’s the benefit to Facebook? Engagement! The data access and Russian interference issues had little impact on Facebook’s performance. Facebook, however, is very concerned about is the ongoing usage and engagement of its offering to users. If client usage slows then so does Facebook’s mobile momentum and overall value. Facebook’s share price had the biggest drop in stock market history because of slowing engagement. Facebook needs more offerings to keep users using the product longer. Mobile payment and access to banking information is one of the many ways that they could. Content is another.
While the biggest banks have scale and will keep getting bigger, likely with or without Facebook, mid-size and regional players may want to improve their mobile experience and team with Facebook to integrate their mobile offerings and provide clients an added way to benefit from and use their services. As the boomer (a key depositor) segment spends greater time on Facebook (a growing trend), introducing mobile bank solutions through the Facebook mobile platform could be a smarter approach than trying to engage them on their own.
Working Media Group is a strategic, data-driven agency that helps clients to successfully navigate the complex media landscape and drive business results.