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Social Snapshot

Financial Services

We looked at the conversations around the top financial companies to outline the industry's biggest trends and challenges to prepare for

4 Minute Read

Social SnapshotFinancial Services

Financial service companies are at the mercy of an unpredictable political climate, global current events, and changing customers.

In order to react quickly to changing markets, consumers, and technology, top businesses must arm themselves with real-time, actionable data.


To understand the most impactful trends facing banks, payment companies, and insurance companies, Brandwatch studied the biggest financial services companies around the world and the conversations surrounding them.

In this snapshot, we look at:

Consumer insights and demographics

As more financial consumers consider non-traditional financial companies, financial institutions must be sure their products and services reflect their audience’s needs.

Customer-focused content, messaging, and products begin with understanding who the financial customers are, and what concerns them.

Gender Analysis

The audience of financial companies tends to be slightly biased towards male users, with consumer banking and card service audiences nearly evenly split (48% and 46% female, respectively) and insurance and investment banks more heavily skewed towards male authors (40% and 43% female, respectively).

Consumer Professions

Compared to the average customer in other industries, the people involved in conversations about financial services are quite unique.

The authors most involved in financial discussions are more likely to be executives, and less likely to come from creative professions.

Age analysis

The concerns of the average consumer are changing; in an industry where young people are much more likely to make less informed financial decisions, the benefits of being able to understand and communicate with young people are extremely important.

Additionally, capturing and engaging young adults can secure future, long-term business.

Payment networks like Visa and Chase are the most successful at engaging authors under 35, and unsurprisingly, this group of customers discuss investment banks significantly less than their older counterparts.

If your social program isn’t supporting real business outcomes, then you probably shouldn’t be selling it.
— Tracy Bell, Enterprise Media Monitoring Executive; SVP, Bank of America

Crisis detection and responsiveness

With an unpredictable political climate, unexpected data breaches, and global economic instability, financial institutions must aim to do everything they can to mitigate potential crises. Predicting trends, detecting crises, and responding quickly are always among a financial marketer’s top priorities.


For an industry notorious for negative customer experiences, financial service companies that fail to prioritize social customer service miss a key opportunity to differentiate themselves.

Consumer banks take the longest to reply to mentions on Twitter, primarily influenced by HSBC and Banco Santander, taking on average two and three days to respond, respectively.

In addition to responding to social mentions quicker than other sectors, payment companies were also the most diligent— replying to over 12% of the messages sent to them.

By contrast, insurance companies responded to less than 3% of their audience’s @mentions, missing vital opportunities to engage with their audience, learn gaps and issues with their services, and display their commitment to their customers’ needs.

Financial Sectors' Rate of Responsiveness

Sector Response Rate
Insurance Companies 2.61%
Investment Banking 8.15%
Consumer Banking 8.74%
Payment Companies 12.33%

It should be noted that nearly a dozen companies, including Visa and Paypal, didn’t respond to a single audience @mention in the 3 months analyzed.

Crisis detection

Banks and other financial services are increasingly investing in technology like Signals and Vizia that can provide real-time alerts and second-to-second updates on breaking trends and important stories from across the web.

One instance of the importance of crisis detection technology occurred earlier this year. News around the companies invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline planned to run through Western U.S. has circulated across the web. However, towards the end of January, the trending topic caused a huge surge of negative conversation online.

The repercussions of this trending topic were immediate. Only days after this spike in the discussion, investors began calling on banks to support rerouting the pipeline. Following this, two financial institutions sold their stakes in the pipeline.

The power of social insights can inform not only your marketing strategy, but better prepare you for the events that can shake your entire business.

To learn more about how to use social data and consumer insights to prepare for and respond to crises, read more in our guide to crisis monitoring.

Successful financial services companies understand the value of social insights and data on every business unit in their organization.

According to the data, here are the top social trends for 2017 financial services must be doing to thrive:

  • consumer and industry insights: conduct research to understand which consumers you’re reaching with your messaging, and be sure to learn who you aren’t, and why.
  • social customer service and reputation management: utilize social media to understand where, when, and why customers discuss your company, and prioritize customer service where customers are reaching out.
  • threat and trend detection: the world is changing fast, and any event can shake your entire business— be sure you have access to the most relevant data and the tools to be alerted and help you react.

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