written by
David Vangeison
David Vangeison

smava: Performance TV campaigns for an online loan portal

smava: Performance TV campaigns for an online loan portal

Smava started in 2007 and was the first German Fintech company. Since then the loan comparison site makes loans for consumers "transparent, fair and affordable". We talk to David Vangeison, smava's Chief Marketing and Growth Officer, about data-driven TV campaigns, marketing in times of corona and the future of the German loan market.

How does smava use TV to drive performance impact?

I originally studied math and I use this as the basis for how we run all of our channels, including TV. One of the biggest challenges with TV advertising is that there is no click-based attribution, so instead we use a useful tool which measure spot impact: spoteffects. They look at the time when the spot airs and notice uplift. We then use this data to understand which channels, time of day, shows and spot length work for us, and work with media planning teams at the different broadcasters to allocate our spend.

smava invested heavily in television advertising before and during the Corona crisis. Why is this advertising channel so successful for your product?

Both TV and smava have one big overlap – we both appeal to a broad target group. TV is nationally run and reaches a large segment of our customers. If we were a niche product it might make less sense, but because we are a loan company and we appeal to most people, TV is a great channel for us. I´m convinced that our product solves a real problem so it is vital to demonstrate this continuously and stay in touch with them.

Did you adapt the smava TV campaign during Corona? If so, in what way?

Our campaigns focus on the advantages of a loan comparison site like smava. Borrowers save on average more than 35 percent due to smava. Moreover they don´t have the hassle of arranging a loan with a physical bank in a branch. Due to the Corona crisis both aspects became even more relevant for customers. So, we didn´t have to make any changes.

Which spot elements generally work best for smava?

One of the key things for us is to be unique and stand out! Ultimately you are competing with strong advertisers in the same commercial block – sometimes these are direct competitors but mostly not. But even if they are not competitors you are still competing with them for the viewer’s attention. Another thing I think some advertisers often miss out on is having a clear and understandable message. This is important because a product like ours is new and a huge number of loan customers still go directly to their local bank to arrange a loan, so in many ways we are still educating some of the market that there is a better solution when looking for a loan. Finally we find both a combination of audio and visual elements important because, if we are being honest, not every viewer will be watching through the commercial break. They might leave the ads running while they make a snack, for example, and for that reason it’s important that our audio also makes an impact.

Which target groups do you generally look to address with your marketing campaigns?

It is more that we avoid certain groups. It´s obvious that, for example, a ten-year old child should not and can’t take out a loan, so we naturally avoid any programming that is targeted towards young people.  Otherwise our target group is extremely broad. The average person who takes out a loan in Germany is between 35 and 45 years old with a family. But this is not the whole market. We address anyone who is looking for a different, a better solution than simply going to their local bank for a loan.

A key part of the sustainability agenda is shopping locally. As an online comparison site, how do you respond to this?

Our business model is a win-win model, so everyone involved benefits from it. Customers get a transparent overview of loans from more than 20 banks and thereby save on average more than 35 percent compared to the national average. Due to these advantages more and more customers apply for their loan via smava. That means, we help banks to acquire new clients in a very comfortable way.

What does the future look like for the loan market in Germany?

We are right in the middle of a big market transformation. Due to the obvious advantages of online loan sites like smava, the millions of Germans who take out a loan every year are increasingly using portals like ours instead of going to their local bank. This shift accelerated due the Corona crisis even more. And it´s still the early days. We are happy to shape this future new loan market.