Credit Card Marketing: How Capital One…

Credit Card Marketing: How Capital One Target Millennials

Millennials are immensely interested in building credit: 56% of undergraduate students have a credit card, 59% of them use it to build credit. 18-24 year olds are also 24% more likely than older generations to search for “credit score”. Financial institutions are trying to tap into this market. The benefits of doing so are clear – attract your customers at a young age, establish a relationship that builds loyalty and trust, then grow those customers over their lifetime with different financial products and offerings.

Targeting millennials is easier said than done, but one leading example is Capital One. Using Hitwise data, we show how this provider has successfully understood and attracted the millennial generation.


Searches for “Captial One Journey” is most over-indexed for young millennials 

Americans aged 18-24 are 186% more likely to search for “capital one journey”, which far surpasses all other branded searches around credit cards. The difference between older generations is also more disparate, with people aged 25+ less likely to search for this credit card by 30%. Interest for Capital One has also grown over the years, up by over 3% since 2016 for 18-24 year olds. So, how have Capital One achieved this?

Capital One Searches Marketing to Millennials

Social media is a key traffic source for Capital One

Meet your customers where they are online. Capital One has done so by being very social. 18-24 year olds are 24% more likely than older generations to arrive on from social media. Their social media traffic is driven heavily from Facebook — but much of their growth in young audiences specifically has been driven by YouTube, with a +52.53% difference from their 25+ year old counterparts.

Social Media Share - Marketing to Millennials

Partnerships are key to maintaining mindshare

Social-driven promotions are expertly used by Capital One. For example, earlier this year Capital One became an official sponsor of March Madness, with commercials starring Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee and Jennifer Garner. During this campaign they attracted more social engagement (mentions, likes, comments, and retweets) than any other sponsor, such as Unilever, Intel, Northwestern Mutual and Reese’s. Searches for “capital one” amongst 18-24 years old also grew by about 0.2%.

Capital One March Madness - Marketing to Millennials

Social media, in particular YouTube, is a key traffic driver for this age group. Financial institutions should focus on building a robust YouTube strategy and connecting their brand to timely media events like Capital One did with March Madness.

For more strategies for financial marketing to millennials, check out Part 1 our Financial Lifestages Report – Marketing to College Students and Early Career Consumers.


Source: Data pulled using Hitwise AudienceView over 4 weeks ending 5/12/2018, 5/13/2017, and 5/14/2016. March Madness data pulled using Hitwise AudienceView over 4 weeks ending 3/3/2018 (Before), 4/7/2018 (During), and 5/12/2018 (After).

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