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Money talk: listening in to social media conversations about financial services

by Julia Beaver , 16.03.2015

Who’s talking most about financial technology? Consumers are – on social media. Of all the content relating to financial technology online, 60% is generated by consumers. Consumers are talking about financial technology on social media, forums, blogs and brand websites and by doing so are wielding more power over brands and products than ever before.



Payment systems are a hot topic of online conversations

Within the past few years a vast array of new technologies have become available, from contactless to wearables, making it easier than ever before for consumers to pay for items and manage their accounts. Our research* shows that 78% of the “buzz” online about financial technology is specifically related to these new payment systems.

Social networks account for 33% of all of the conversations around financial technology. Across all online content, the split of positive comments is almost even between brand (54%) and consumer (46%). This 50:50 share of comments shows that consumers are willing to share their positive experiences, so it’s a misconception that people only take to social media to complain, especially about their banks.

This information is a goldmine for marketers of financial services. Consumer comments and feedback can help brands understand teething problems with new technology, and offer help and support. By seeing exactly what is being discussed and where, marketers can gain useful insights, enhance their presence on social media and improve brand communications.

However, much of the consumer content online is, frankly, confusing. The key is to mine it intelligently to identify what is relevant and to turn the raw data into useful insight. Adding to the challenge is the language that consumers use. People speak on social media using irony, sarcasm and slang, often changing language and sentiment according to the device they’re using.

Understanding the sentiment

In a recent survey, we examined the online content around financial technology searching for words related to “online banking”, “contactless payment”, “ewallet”, “virtual currencies”, “pay pass”, etc. to determine which aspects are most talked about. SMI uses human coding to interpret the sentiment of posts, giving greater accuracy and reliability.

The most discussed terms on social media were found to be “account”, “how new products sync with your bank account” and “credit” (specifically how credit cards will be used with existing and new payment systems). 68% of the online content around payment systems has been created by consumers.

For new payment systems there is a balance between positive and negative comments. Posts included terms such as “next-gen payment wristband concept you can connect to your bank accounts” and questions such as “can you send money from your ewallet to your bank account?”

A 50:50 split between positive and negative comments

There was interest in the idea of a “payment system that turns smartphones and iPads into credit card readers”. There were also security concerns. “I always thought Visa PayWave chips on credit cards were a security risk”.

Positive comments about payment systems included “used pay wave for the first time today, it’s changed my life”, “addicted to MasterCard PayPass” and “if only they could make pay wave build into our phones! #pinwise.” Most of the negative comments about contactless payment focused on security concerns: “Does MasterCard PayPass make it really easy to use a stolen credit card” and “Yo credit [sic] card companies, you get rid of signing to stop credit card fraud but then allow Visa PayWave, which requires zero authentication???”

Using social media analysis that gets to the heart of the sentiment shared by consumers provides brands with greater insight into what they are thinking and their behavior. Our research shows that consumers do have misconceptions about the available payment systems, which feed their concerns about their security. This highlights a perfect opportunity for brands to address these fears through their communications, and by taking on board and using consumer feedback to inform product and service development. As well as providing valuable insight into consumer opinion, used wisely, the information social media analysis provides can enable brands to stand out from the competition in an increasingly crowded market.

For more information contact GfK Digital Market Intelligence

*The research, conducted on August 11, 2014, looked at not just the data from that day but any social media posts available on that day.