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Monzo joins the legions of startups using TV to turbocharge

A few eyebrows were raised when Monzo launched its first TV campaign back in May. The challenger bank has always eschewed the ‘traditional’ way of doing things and its marketing efforts have relied upon word-of-mouth growth and predominantly social channels. As Monzo’s head of marketing previously said regarding TV advertising, “It’s really expensive and no one at Monzo even watches TV, we had 700 people and only five watched it” …

So quelle surprise, last week Monzo announced that it had seen “insane” growth from its TV launch with June being the bank’s biggest month for sign-ups, attracting more than 250,000 new customers, up from 150,000.

All Response Media has of course been at the forefront in launching a huge range of startups on TV. So why do new brands often overlook the benefits of TV, and how do we see the channel working for our startup clients?

It’s no surprise that many new businesses overlook TV, there is still a common misconception that TV is expensive and mainly the solution for big brands with large budgets. This doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, with TV advertising technically 21% cheaper in real terms than it was 10 years ago. In fact, a rough TV all-time cost per thousands (CPM) is generally similar or lower cost than a comparative impression/view on display, social media or video. That being said, it’s undoubtedly quicker, easier and there is less creative cost initially launching via social media, display and PPC.

Another issue that many startups suffer from is a classic lack of customer orientation. As Monzo aptly mentioned, no one there “watches TV” – which overlooks the fact that the average person in the street looking for a new bank isn’t working for a tech startup in Old Street and thus has different consumption habits. Again, the notion that no one watches TV anymore can be dismissed, even for younger viewers, via a range of independent industry research.

So, once we have successfully challenged these misconceptions, what impact have we observed TV having for startup brands?

Similar to the Monzo experience, we’ve seen that TV has the potential to turbocharge growth, especially for those who have hit a natural ceiling and are experiencing diminishing returns via digital channels. The below chart shows the impact of TV advertising on a financial startup this year which was faced with exactly that, with TV doubling their volume of conversions:


Whilst TV will deliver a response in its own right, direct to your website (or call centre), it also can improve the efficiency of your online marketing channels.

When on TV, you should see:

  • An increase in brand traffic (brand name search terms that lead to your website)
  • Improvements in generic PPC click through rate (as awareness increases)
  • Potential uplift via social media channels

We’ve been analysing this effect further as we look to quantify the halo impact and associated costs. Below is analysis that showed the online journey splits for those responding to a TV advert for an e-commerce retailer:


So, whilst direct and brand search would be the main benefactors as suspected, we also see an uplift on social, organic search and shopping engines. Taking a holistic view of channel mix and the wider impact of media such as TV is critical to success.

Away from the harder metrics, the reach provided by TV is central to the growth of brands with a potential broad offering such as Monzo, no other channel has the ability to reach 96% of adults in one week. Similarly, trust is all-important, particularly for financial brands who are potentially going up against age-old institutions. TV is the most trusted medium according to INTV and again, having this presence will drive further interest and validity for online channels to harvest.

As always, it’s important to never suggest a one-size-fits-all approach and address the intricacies of each client individually. TV might not be right for all of our startup partners, particularly those with a very regionalised offering, but for those brands that do fit the bill, the Monzo experience is one we have seen countless times before and will again.

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