Video platform instead of branch office: How do German banks use Youtube?

Online first – many young people today identify with the principle that originally applied to print publishers of first playing out their content on the web. And not only when it comes to general media use, but also when it comes to obtaining information on banking and financial topics. One medium dominates: Google’s subsidiary YouTube. How do established banks use the popular video platform? With which content are they trying to reach the Millennials?

The figures speak for themselves: according to a study published this summer by comdirect, the use of 60 percent of the young people interviewed (all aged between 16 and 25) primarily use the online media to find out about topics related to money and investments. More than 40 percent research social media first. The personal, individual advice at the counter in the branch of trust? Less and less relevant for young people.

One platform stands out among the social, digital media. According to the survey, 26 percent of male and almost 15 percent of female participants visit the moving image portal YouTube when they are looking for information on financial topics and banking products. And the number is growing steadily.

Video platform instead of branch office: How do German banks use Youtube?

Four years ago, only seven percent of the survey participants (a total of 1600 people) consulted the video portal on this content. By 2020, this figure will have risen to 20 percent. Particularly popular: advice, service and explanatory videos on topics such as

  • Setting up the Bank App
  • Price comparisons current accounts
  • Mobile payment in general (functions and requirements)
  • Information about certain mobile payment services (what is Google Pay?
    how does Apple Pay work? how do I add the credit card etc.)
  • Tan procedure (pushTAN, photoTAN, smsTAN, chipTAN)

Traditional (branch) bank vs. digital bank

For marketers, salespeople and community managers, the question is becoming increasingly important: With which video content can I best reach the young target group? Which content is most effective? What are the intentions, concerns and needs of my customers? A comparison of classic financial institutions with young, modern neobanks and pure digital banks with no branch network shows: By far not all established, “old-established” companies lag behind when it comes to YouTube and moving images.

Admittedly, the subscriber numbers are by no means comparable with influencers, “financial YouTubeers” and (independent) YouTube guides such as Finanzfluss or Mission Money. Nevertheless, some of the major German financial institutions have long been giving tips on saving via their YouTube channels, explaining their latest products digitally and distributing up-to-date information in (more or less) elaborately produced financial guides.

Sparkasse & Co.: The Youtube channels of the established institutions

Video platform instead of branch office: How do German banks use Youtube?

The Sparkasse’s Youtube channel, for example, has over 8350 subscribers. The Sparkasse has been active on Youtube since 2006. the number of produced / published videos is currently (as of 09/20) 51 videos (the most clicked explanatory video: “Setting up the Savings Bank App” with about 313 000 hits).

However, the Sparkasse is concentrating on German-language content, while many other (often increasingly international) institutions have both German and English videos on the channel. This explains, for example, the high number of Deutsche Bank videos.

An overview:

  • Deutsche Bank

subscribers: 24 700
Channel exists since: 2008
Videos: 1224
Most clicked explanatory video (English): “What investors need to know – annual outlook 2018” (1.7 million views, as of 09/20)

  • Volksbank and Raifeisenbank

Subscribers: 5710
Channel exists since: 2009
videos: 175
Most clicked advertising video “We are there for you” (2.6 million hits, as of 09/20) – classic explanatory videos can only be found on the Volksbank Channel a few

  • Commerzbank

Subscribers: 5330
Channel exists since: 2013
videos: 1023
Most clicked explanation video: “The Commerzbank photoTAN process” (418,000 requests, as of 09/20)

  • Postbank

    Subscribers: 4270
    Channel exists since: 2012
    videos: 30
    Most clicked explanation video: “Explanation video – Postbank Best SignApp” (278 459 hits, as of 09/20)
Video platform instead of branch office: How do German banks use Youtube?
  • Hypovereinsbank

    Subscribers: 3580
    Channel exists since: 2007
    videos: 235
    Most clicked (English) explanation video: “Real estate financing explained simply” (48 470 hits, as of 09/20)

For comparison the digital banks:

  • N26

    Subscribers: 9450
    Channel exists since: 2015
    Videos: 212
    Most clicked (English) explanation video: “This is how you confirm your identity with N26” (125 576 hits, as of 09/20)
  • Revolute

    Subscribers: 13900
    Channel exists since: 2015
    Videos: 101
    Most clicked (English language) advertising video: “The Making of Revolut Metal” (1 million views, as of 09/20)

Interviews with experts (for example with mobile payment practitioners) can also be found on Sparkasse’s YouTube channel. Of course, the Sparkasse account is also not free of empty advertising films and videos that present the bank’s own products. Banks certainly use their accounts to place their product advertisements, as do all companies from other industries. Nevertheless, there are significant differences in the quality of the channels.

“There are significant differences in the quality of the YouTube channels.”

And in setting the main focus of the content: For example, Volksbank-Raiffeisenbank’s video series “#Neighbourhood Banks” is primarily based on  contributions in which branch managers of various VR-Bank branches give their customers tips on how to deal with the Corona crisis. Postbank, for example, currently has only 30 videos in the upload area – but the proportion of informative explanatory videos (compared to advertising and TV spots and pure image films) is very high: of the 30 videos, well over half are explanatory videos.

Bottom line:

Without the portal Youtube as the leading, highest-reach video platform, it would not work. Youtube campaigns as an independent marketing channel are becoming increasingly important. This is especially true for banks, which can establish a new, easier access to an already difficult to reach target group (the digitally affine youth or “digtal natives”) with creative moving image content. They have the opportunity to score points with playful, imaginatively prepared videos on topics that are perceived by many as dry and “unsexy” (old-age provision, investment, saving, shares). Including added value, tips and tricks. Because for a long time now, the content on Youtube has not only been living from easy-going, easy-to-consume entertainment. Useful service content, expert interviews, well-founded guide videos, information and education are just as important in 2020.

Björn Schneider hat Online-Journalismus in Darmstadt studiert und arbeitet – nach Stationen in Essen und Leipzig – seit 2012 als Freelancer in Mainz und Frankfurt. Sein Geld verdient er als Film-Kritiker, SEO-Mitarbeiter und Lokaljournalist. Vor vier Jahren kam ein Gewerbe... mehr