Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Mar 9, 2015

CASE STUDY: How DBS HK used data to reduce cost of acquisition

HONG KONG - DBS applied programmatic buying to its digital campaigns and achieved an average CPA (cost per acquisition) of 53 per cent less than the industry average by employing both third-party and internal CRM data.

CASE STUDY: How DBS HK used data to reduce cost of acquisition


Given that DBS's media share-of-voice (SOV) is hovering at around 3 per cent in Hong Kong, the bank needed to strategically focus media spending to reach the audience most likely to apply for personal loans.

Before May 2014, DBS had focused on buying ad space on premium local websites and major portals via ad networks.


DBS's recent strategy, by contrast, focused on three major groups of customers:

  • Potential applicants who are unaware of DBS offers
  • Potential applicants who share similar demographic and behaviour traits with current DBS loan applicants (according to DBS internal CRM data)
  • Potential applicants who have been to the DBS loan promotional page but have failed to complete the application process (according to DBS website analytics data)

The bank's media agency, MEC, identified the first target group through analysing DBS existing loan customer profiles, as well as their banking and credit-card spending habits. This allowed the bank to create a precise prospecting segment based on first-party data which can be matched with third-party cookie data and deployed through programmatic buying by DSPs.

The 25-44 age group was identified as the mostly likely group to apply for loans. This served as one of the criteria in setting up targeted programmatic buying campaigns.

Through the use of predictive modelling with DSPs to dynamically identify behavioural patterns of completed online loan applicants, DBS targeted the second target group of new online prospects who have not been to the DBS loan promotional page.

For the third target group, remarketing was conducted to close the consumer journey with incentive offers to convert information-seekers to actual customers. Tracking pixels were placed on the promotional page, and each step of the online application process to identify the drop-offs.

Prospective customers who failed to convert during the initial visit indicated an intent and immediate need of the DBS product. To entice them to return and complete the application, a remarketing message with specially crafted with added incentives was served through DSPs to this particular group of people.


DBS was able to achieve (according to its own analysis and data):

  • Average CPA at 53 per cent below the average industry CPA.
  • Remarketing CPA of 30 per cent of the average industry remarketing CPA
  • Media efficiency of 18 per cent of all paid-media conversions driven through programmatic buying, while 10 per cent of budget used on programmatic buying

Because of this success, DBS has taken on more projects to leverage internal CRM data and first-party website data in programmatic buying across all of its banking products. The objective is to reinvent standard digital media buying into a performance-driven direct response channel.


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