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TD Canada Trust Launches "Split It" on Facebook

By William Azaroff on August 16, 2007 5:20 PM | Comments (8)

While so many FIs are scratching their heads wondering what to do about Facebook, it turns out that TD Canada Trust, one of Canada's biggest banks and the ninth largest bank in North America, is doing all kinds of interesting initiatives there.

What makes their efforts so impressive is that they have clearly tried to figure out the value they add to the demographics of Facebook users. They have managed to strike a balance of being true to their brand, yet not seem like they're pandering to a youthful audience, and offering something of value to the Net Generation.

What first crossed my desk this week was SPLIT IT, an application they created that allows roommates who are on Facebook to manage how they split basic bills.

SPLIT ITSPLIT ITSPLIT IT

Welcome to the SPLIT IT by TD Canada Trust application – a no-hassle, budget-sharing tool that enables you to share bills with your roommates. SPLIT IT makes it easy to determine who owes what, view your balances, and keep on top of your payment dates.

SPLIT IT

The application launched within the past few days. When I first saw it on August 15 it had 44 users. It's grown to 66 a mere 24 hours later. It will be interesting to see where it goes during the  next few weeks. I'm also curious to see how it's promoted. Will TD send information to its youth customers, or will they rely solely on word of mouth?

 SPLIT IT 

SPLIT IT 

After seeing SPLIT IT I was mightily impressed. It's not easy to find a way to add value for Facebook users. From SPLIT IT, I linked through to their Money Lounge, and I was floored. They have job postings, videos, offers, all sorts of ways to engage the Facebook audience. Scrolling down, I noticed that they have 1,480 members of their group. Even if many of the group's members are employees, it's still an impressive engagement metric.

Money Lounge

Money Lounge 

So, well done TD Canada Trust! The first bank to build its own Facebook app.

William Azaroff is the interactive marketing & channel manager at Vancity where he develops interactive marketing initiatives, and pioneered ChangeEverything.ca, the groundbreaking change-themed online community. William also plans strategy for the online channel, with a view to its potential to help Vancity, its members and the community. William brings nine years of experience in Vancouver, Seattle and Los Angeles producing Web projects for such clients as Honda, Disney, Intuit Canada and Nike Jordan. He writes about the intersection of online branding, social media and the world of banking on his blog at azaroff.com/blog

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8 Comments

Great to see an FI finally taking advantage of Facebook. I know how to cater Facebook towards businesses -- where the true monetization lies.

Facebook has/will disallow showing two seperate wall pages (one to you, one to your friends). Split It claims to use your wall to give you your financial information "but only you can see it". Hopefully they're aware of the changes and don't display a bunch of people's private information....

Great coverage of this William, thanks.

@ Eli - Thanks for pointing this out. I'm working to understand this issue better and will comment once I do.

@ Ed - Happy to help!

I am quite surprised that this little app is being being applauded here and at thebankwatch. I see it as little more than a half engaged attempt to provide a link to The Money Lounge.

More than Split it, I think The Money Lounge is a more couragous effort. It is yet known whether this demographic wants to have conversations with institutions in their resident social networks. I like that TD is willing to at least test this theory with Money Lounge.

But unfortunately my gut is that The Money Lounge group is currently more reminiscent of Wells’ ‘The Loan Down’ blog.

To truly add financial functional value, there must be a more complete experience that includes transactional capabilities that ‘Split it’ lacks.

Want 'impressive' innovation in this space. Show me a bank that looks to Buxfer/Amazon or leverages PayPal. I'm surprised we haven't seen Citi make a move with its relationship with Billmonk/Obopay.

@ APVC - There are certainly things to criticize about this effort. Having worked with the app a little more, I see that it could alert roommates more strongly that they owe money - it would be easy for someone to miss a bill. Also, it does seem like a lot of the discussion in The Money Lounge is amongst employees, which makes sense because they're most likely to be engaged with TD - more so than customers.

But I applaud the fact that they're using an open forum at all and giving up some control. I don't disagree with you, but I think banks are a few steps away from the picture you paint, and I think Split It and The Money Lounge represent an important step in the right direction. If this goes well, they, or some other FI, will go from a dipped toe to a submerged ankle.

TD Canada Trust really designed a compelling marketing approach to drive account acquisition and usage among Facebook users without being too heavy-handed. Other banks should take notice of this creative marketing to Facebook’s core Generation Y demographic to promote other banking products (e.g. mobile banking) that are relevant to this segment. Recent studies by Javelin and Celent, among others, clearly point to Generation Y consumers taking the lead in mobile banking adoption, particularly those solutions with an SMS/text messaging component.

TD canada trust may be inventive in developing their facebook site re. split it, but it is typical of their opportunistic business practices. TD bank has the worst record of the big banks of overlending to small business and then forclosing when they realize their mistake. Beware young people being sucked in by these heartless suits on baystreet ;-).

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