Chase KOs Bank of America with Local Engagement
Connecting with the individuals who make up every local community is a hyperlocal requisite that must not be overlooked. In September’s Brand Battle, Bank of America and Chase clashed over local-social engagement strategies in a fight for the local brand crown. The rounds with the largest disparity were Reviews and Social Engagement, displaying Bank of America’s lack of focus on these engagement tactics.
Both Bank of America and Chase have more than 5,000 locations competing for customers in the U.S. Chase was founded in 1799, while Bank of America was founded in 1998. It might be the extra 200 years of experience in the banking world that helped Chase win this month’s Brand Battle, but Bank of America proves to be a worthy competitor with local SEO.
Round 1 – Data Quality
WHY CHASE WON: Every brand’s online presence is affected by its data quality. This is essential for establishing a strong brand identity and consumer confidence. For September’s analysis, Brandify used location data obtained from a major core data provider and performed minor data cleansing to ensure the analysis reflected how the data is being distributed. With thousands of locations sampled for each bank, some data quality issues were inevitable. Chase blew Bank of America out of the water on this round. Looking at Facebook and Foursquare, more than 90 percent of Bank of America locations had at least one issue with their data quality, meaning that one location either encountered an address or phone number disrepancy or their profiles were not claimed on these platforms. Across Google, Bing, Yelp, Facebook, and Foursquare, Chase had cleaner NAP (name, address, phone number) data than Bank of America, with the exception of Google: Bank of America’s Google data was cleaner than Chase’s by 5 percent.
Round 2 – Local SEO
WHY BANK OF AMERICA WON: This was the closest round in September’s battle, with Bank of America besting Chase by four-tenths of a point! For Local SEO, Brandify analyzed four major components including local pages, locators, website optimization, and page rankings across Google Maps and Bing Maps. The search evaluation looked primarily at four key components for local search: local pages, locator, website, and page rankings results for the keywords “local bank,” “nearby ATM,” and branded keywords “Bank of America” and “Chase” for each brand. Any result out of the top 10 was considered “not found.” On Google, neither brand ranked for the term “local bank,” but both made appearances in the top-four positions for the term “nearby ATM.” Bank of America narrowly ranked higher for nearby ATM locations with 30 percent of locations appearing.
Round 3 – Reviews
WHY CHASE WON: Monitoring online reviews is crucial to maintaining a positive online reputation. Brandify conducted an analysis across six different types of experiences a customer could have at each bank by looking at consumer sentiment related to the following keywords: “helpful,” “interest,” “loan,” “fees,” “friendly,” and “card.” When looking at consumer sentiment associated with these keywords, Chase customers were twice as likely to associate these terms with positive reviews than Bank of America customers. What’s more, over half (53 percent) of Chase customers gave their bank four-to-five star reviews vs. just 25 percent for Bank of America. By contrast, the share of Bank of America customers posting one-star reviews for their bank was 29 percentage points higher than Chase customers.
Round 4 – Social Engagement
WHY CHASE WON: Having a social-local strategy is crucial for all brands, especially nationally recognized names with thousands of locations across the country. In the round focusing on brand engagement in the social media space, Chase was the clear winner. Not only did Bank of America not have an active Instagram or Pinterest account, but on the platforms on which it did have an account (Facebook and Twitter), Bank of America was less engaged with its customers than Chase. Across platforms, Chase had more fans, posts, and “check-ins.” In order for Bank of America to begin building a positive reputation with its customers, the brand should start engaging more with communities online.
Round 5 – Local Advertising
WHY CHASE WON: Similar to many brands in previous battles, neither Bank of America nor Chase is optimizing its local advertising strategy. Although both Chase and Bank of America have advertisements that include city and state keywords, ad campaign web links are directing users to the brands’ corporate websites rather than to local pages. However, Chase makes more of an effort to enhance local advertisements. According to digital marketing research company SEMRush, Chase targets more than 21,000 keywords, spending approximately $1.4 million per month for online advertisements. This substantial investment means that Chase sees more returns for its local advertising efforts. More than 68 percent of Chase advertisements ranked in the top-three positions, appearing 15 percent more often than Bank of America’s.
Round 6 – Competitor Benchmarking
WHY CHASE WON: Benchmarking the top competition nationally and locally gives brand managers the insights they need to better compete and win real estate across local digital search. Brandify did a local search analysis using the phrase “local ATM” across Google. The analysis revealed that Bank of America and Chase have four main competitors at the local level. Their top competition is each other, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, and Citibank. Thanks to Chase’s engagement on the local-social level and its local advertising efforts, Chase wins the benchmarking round and the September Brand Battle overall.
Brandify Recommendations: Bank of America
Bank of America won only one round in September’s Brand Battle with a slightly better local SEO strategy than Chase. To work on closing gaps and advance its local branding presence, Brandify recommends Bank of America focus on these areas:
1 – ENGAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Responding to Facebook comments, favoriting Tweets, and connecting with local customers on social media has great potential to advance brand reputation. Bank of America could also claim physical bank locations on Facebook to provide local bank updates such as store hours and job openings. Twitter can be utilized as a quick form of customer service.
2 – MONITOR REVIEWS. Customers increasingly are using social media and online review sites to air their concerns and find information. By following reviews of Bank of America locations, brand managers can learn about customer service issues and track consumer sentiment about company products and offers.
3 – CREATE LOCAL ADS. Bank of America made efforts to add location information to its non-branded keyword list, but it only focused on state and city name. Moreover, the link directions for these keywords are all linked to the national corporate website. In addition, ads linked to local pages would provide more information for consumers after the ad is clicked.
Brandify Recommendations: Chase
The Chase brand is succeeding in the local space. Here are Brandify’s suggestions for Chase to further strengthen its presence:
1 – IMPROVE LOCAL ADS. Local advertising campaigns could benefit and attract more customers if they were tied to local webpages with appropriate web links. Rather than using mostly branded keywords, a more varied, creative list of keywords would boost search traffic.
2 – OPTIMIZE LANDING PAGES. For ATMs located in places other than bank locations, Chase should ensure that all information is accurate. For example, if hours are missing or incorrect, customers might go to a closed location after hours by mistake.
3 – CLAIM ONLINE LOCATIONS. Chase already has a more complete presence on social media than Bank of America. However, the brand’s presence could be stronger with even more locations claimed and optimized for accuracy.
September Brand Battle Winner: Chase
The battle was scored using Brandify’s Social Data Matching (SDM) technology with data from various channels,* including Google, Bing, Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare. Data was entered into the Brandify analytics engine to test the two companies’ local digital marketing footprint to determine a final Brand Score for each.
The Brand Score is calculated with an algorithm that consists of 250 variables grouped into six pillars: Data Quality, Local SEO, Reviews, Social Engagement, Local Advertising, and Competitor Benchmarking.
Although some rounds for the above pillars were close, the final Brand Scores shone a winning light on Chase’s strategies for social engagement. Chase’s final score of 684 beat Bank of America by 87 points. Bank of America’s final score of 597 suggests that a few small improvements could make a big difference in attracting new customers.
Street Fight and Brandify will publish a new Brand Battle each month.
*Other channels included in this analysis: Yellow Pages, MerchantCircle, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.
Brandify is transforming the way businesses connect to consumers by leveraging location technology and offering unrivaled personal service. Brandify has helped hundreds of brands understand and improve their local presence. Current and past clients include In-N-Out Burger, True Value, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Applebee’s, Black & Decker, and more. For more information about Brandify, go to brandify.com.