Ads on the train you’re riding to commute to work. Ads when you’re checking your email. Ads when you sign on to Facebook. Ads when you’re watching your favorite TV show. Is there anywhere you can go to escape advertising? Nope. And checking your bank statement online is now no exception.
Let’s say you’ve recently charged a meal from your favorite restaurant to your Chase credit card. Sign on to your bank statement, and you could find you qualify for $15 off your next visit. Bought a pair of boots at Macy’s? You might just find a certificate for free shipping off your next order.
The above scenario has been made a reality thanks to Cardlytics, a young, privately held company that partners with the likes of heavy hitters like McDonalds and Macy’s…companies who are eager to advertise their products and services to a targeted audience. According to a recent article in Ad Age, the company has already run more than 100 marketing campaigns reaching nearly half a million customers. By the end of the summer, they expect to have 50 to 70 financial institutions on board, reaching some 10 million customers by the end of the year.
The idea of including advertisements in consumer bills is nothing new. Companies have been stuffing ads into credit card and utility bills for a long time. Advertising via online bank statements is just a new twist on an old idea.
In my opinion, online statement advertising is a situation where everyone wins. Card holders get “rewarded” with discounts and free stuff. Banks get ad revenue and the opportunity to tout the program as a “cardholder reward.” The advertising companies get business. Win. Win. Win.
Some critics of the program are saying that it’s intrusive. But personally, I’d rather receive a few targeted ads than several totally off target—like the ad I often get when I sign on to Facebook about harvesting my baby’s cord blood (For those of you who don’t know me, I have no offspring.). As long as there’s an opt-out feature (which there is, though the opt-out rate is only about five percent), I’m OK with it.