Monzo sees ‘insane’ growth after running first TV ad campaign

Monzo is reaping the benefits of its first major TV ad campaign, seeing spikes in both brand awareness and app downloads that suggest more “traditional” advertising can pay off for the fintech challenger.

The campaign, which launched on TV towards the end of May, aimed to articulate Monzo’s brand voice and promise for the first time.

It included four TV spots – one 60-second and three 30-second versions – that promoted the brand while also highlighting features such as money management and tackling perceived barriers to opening a digital bank account.

The impact on sign-ups was immediate. June was “by far” Monzo’s biggest month for sign-ups, attracting more than 250,000 new customers, up from 150,000 a couple of months before. And prompted brand awareness increased 13 points from 35% to 48%.

Speaking exclusively to Marketing Week, Tristan Thomas, head of marketing and community at Monzo, explains: “Clearly we went into this looking to see a significant uplift in downloads and people creating Monzo accounts. It was pretty insane actually. We saw in June by far our biggest month of sign-ups… and we are still seeing those impacts today.”

Thomas says Monzo is still seeing a run-rate that would work out at 200,000 new customers in July, meaning the campaign has already brought in more than 150,000 new customers. And these new customers are sticking around, using the app “relatively similarly” to current users.

“It shows us the power of traditional advertising,” he says. “It definitely opens the door to a whole new world beyond the organic marketing we have been doing up until now.”

Monzo preps first major ad campaign as it looks to ‘supercharge’ growth

Monzo didn’t give itself a lot of time to create the campaign. Its brand lead Vicki Reeve only joined in January and was given little more than three months to go from creating the brand strategy to launching the campaign.

That doesn’t mean, she says, that Monzo skipped any steps, but it tried to speed the process up by making faster decisions and being really transparent with its agency Engine, which it brought on board as creative consultants. For example, the Monzo marketing team was shown three creative ideas for the ad campaign in the morning and had made the decision on which to go for by the afternoon.

“It was manic. But that is how all the best ideas come to life, because you don’t really have time to second guess yourself,” explains Reeve. “We just had to work quickly with the research we had but also follow our gut instinct in terms of how we wanted to express the brand.”

Talking on a more emotional level

This brand expression sees Monzo try to come across as a bank with more personality and humour than traditional banks, while setting itself apart from other challenger banks by focusing on the brand rather than talking too much about functionality.

“When we were looking at how to tackle this, we looked at what competitors were doing and we felt like there was this really great category job being done, especially in out-of-home through an education piece around functionality and how digital banking works,” says Reeve.

“We really felt like that had already been done so that gave us an opportunity to speak on more of an emotional level, to bring our brand personality out a bit. We humanised Monzo with the voiceover actor Hugh Skinner, we really felt like that gave us an advantage with our customer proposition.”

It was manic. But that is how all the best ideas come to life because you don’t really have time to second guess yourself.

Vicki Reeve, Monzo

While TV was the main bulk of the spend, the campaign also ran in outdoor – mostly in transport hubs – and was implemented across its own media, including on its social channels and website. Monzo also looked to engage its community in the ad, asking them for ideas on what a Monzo TV should look like and inviting them to a screening the night before the campaign went live.

The final results of the campaign are still coming in, with Monzo keen to do a deeper dive into the type of user it attracted and their value, as well as awareness and buzz. Then the marketing team will look at how to sustain that growth without having to be on TV all the time.

Reeve says the numbers look “really promising” and the campaign will help decide if TV is a “viable media” for Monzo. But going forward she believes Monzo might need to do on TV to show off the app and its functionality.

“The hardest thing in this campaign was the balance of building an emotional brand connection versus direct response. We got a good blend but moving forwards I would love to see more ads around the functionality of Monzo and show the app a bit more,” she concludes.

“It’s difficult in 30 seconds to show a card plus an app. The TV ad has to do one thing and that is get people in. That is something we want to weigh up in the future.”