Facebook on a quest to revolutionize financial services marketing

With 12 million users in Australia, Facebook has developed into a core marketing platform to help organisations achieve their business objectives.

The organisation has been through a bit of a transformation of late, with the initial focus being the social networking customer experience – adding features to revolutionise the way we communicate and share with each other. Now though, the spotlight is well and truly on the business world, to leverage the wealth of information Facebook holds to drive efficiency and experience for financial services.

Here in Australia, Paul McCroy joined the Facebook team 12 months ago and his role as Head of Travel and Finance tasked him with the objective to build a team that can work closely with financial services to use Facebook. Paul explains: “It started with the team we created. We’ve hired a group of people to really understand the problems industry is faced with; we have people who worked in finance now working for us. It’s a constant focus to understand the problems faced by industry and build our Facebook platform to solve those problems. From there we want to work closely with financial services here in Australia to help them use Facebook in the best way possible.”

Whilst some of the big four were initially sceptical about the potential threat of Facebook in the financial services arena, the social networking giant has insisted they want to grow new users and enhance experience, rather than create banking services of its own.


There’s a huge focus on mobile and it’s clear to see why. Digital advertising overtook traditional advertising for the first time last year, drive mainly by the onset of mobile. With 10 million active daily users and 85 per cent accessing via mobile devices – it’s easy to see where the potential lies for many a marketing team. Paul explains:

“Digital has overtaken television and mobile is the new upstart. Facebook became a mobile first business two years ago, transforming from desktop. Here in Australia, there’s a higher mobile percentage than any other developed country. Facebook represents an opportunity to take advantage of the fact that more people are consuming media on mobile phones.”

It’s this drive to mobile that’s seen a surge in app development over recent years, with the finance industry among the top performers for app engagement, providing customers with ease of access like never before. But with many banks allocating huge resources to develop their own assets, is there really any need to tap into the Facebook pool? Paul explained where the potential lies:

“One of the immediate benefits is the opportunity to capitalise on the trend. Mobile Banking was developed to service the customers where they are. It is also the most cost efficient way to service customers and has been quoted by Mckinsey as 1/8 the cost of servicing via the call centre.

“One in every five minutes on a mobile phone is spent on Facebook properties. When you want to speak to people who are on a phone, Facebook is where you should go. Our biggest growth area is banks taking their apps to our platform and promoting their advert in front of their customers. Customers then go and install that app unit. In terms of results, we’re the most cost effective for getting apps installed – 30 to 40 per cent of app installs come from Facebook.”

“Phase two is where the banks have people with the app installed, but they’re not necessarily engaged. We have developed a tool that helps with app engagement. Essentially, once it’s installed, you continuously re-engage them so that they use it as a utility. By them frequently engaging on the app, it takes the pressure off the contact centre and service channels, so the overall experience has been a success.”

Easing data concerns

There are some real alarm bells that often get triggered thanks to some serious spotlight on large data companies like Facebook and Google. Naturally an integrated banking service would lead to some data concerns, an area Paul insists is at the core of that they do:

“We don’t give anybody data. We have 12 million Australian users who do a lot of things on our platform. What we do is provide a targeting interface to enable advertisements to people that fit their interest behaviour. That data is never given back to an advertiser, it stays with us. Our primary goal is privacy. We’re one of the largest data companies the world has and will ever see. Everything we do is about keeping our site secure. It works well with banks, as it’s exactly the same as what they do. Whilst some people see data as a problem, we see it as a really nice fit.”

 Driving experience and efficiency

The team at Facebook are already seeing results creating unique experiences by targeting the right people, with the right content, on the right platform.

“When it’s done well, the conversions are huge. There are key challenges facing industry right now – efficiency, scalability and profitability.

We know certain media channels are becoming more expensive, every company in the world wants to achieve their goals in a more efficient manner. Where in the world is there more scale and engagement than Facebook? Our users are very engaged and it’s a huge opportunity to reach your customers and prospects at scale.”

Paul will be speaking at Digital Financial Services 2014: “I want to impart some of that knowledge to the audience and provide real life examples. A big thing we want to bring is what we see trending and how we can work with you to capitalise on some of those trends. We’ll also take a look at what we’re developing in the future.”

Visit www.digitalfinancialservices.com.au or follow @digifinance for more information on the event.

View the full interview with Paul here: http://youtu.be/t196-WP4_8U

Data and Analytics in healthcare… The revolution is coming.

Technology is sitting right at the heart of the healthcare efficiency drive and it’s easy to see why.

Data-sharing and analytics, collaboration and digital practices will be the driving force behind delivering healthcare services predictively.

Ahead of Australian Healthcare Week 2014, I took a look at some of the biggest emerging areas where technology is driving efficiency to find out what’s on the horizon.

There’s huge potential for information to help bridge the steps towards improving patient safety and quality of care.

To gain an insight on some of the key developments in Big Data and analytics, I caught up with two people on the forefront of driving the change Michael Draheim, Chief Information Officer at Metro Health South and Sarah Dods, Health Services Research Leader at CSIRO.

What are the key areas where data and analytics are impacting efficiency?

Sarah Dods: A lot of what we do in health at the moment is on paper. You can’t do analytics without data and we don’t have big data in health at the moment, in terms of the healthcare system and how it’s delivered, those data fits are only just starting to appear.

We see three efficiency gains that are likely to happen through this process; one is prevention, if you’ve got decision support, crosschecks based on data and information that’s already in the system, there’s the opportunity to prepare and prevent things from happening.

Secondly, using data and analytics operationally, in terms of people,  understanding how the business itself runs and gaining quality assurance,  we see patient flow as being a huge opportunity in that space and one that we’re very interested in.

Finally, digital health delivery, which is another way of talking about telehealth, it’s acknowledging the data that’s collected, telehealth is not videoconferencing. There’s so much possibility because when you do things online, you’re creating data, and you can create data about the information that was shared and use it later on.

Michael Draheim: Service efficiency, service planning, meeting KPIs, predictive analytics and data modelling are a few areas that stand out as opportunities to help us adjust our existing service models to support future health care service delivery.

The richness of the data that we have will help us to understand more about our patients and services which in turn will give clinicians the right information to support the prevention and prediction of disease and treatment options. The impact of this is significant benefits on both social and welfare outcomes along with opportunities for the vendor market to have tools that support this approach.

Where do you see the biggest barriers to growth?

Sarah Dods: A lot of the things that need to be changed to improve efficiency aren’t actually technology related,  but what big data in analytics can do is point you to the problem areas and demonstrate the improvements in flow on to the rest of the system if it was fixed, data is evidence for making change.

There are certainly some funding pressures in  both the primary and the acute healthcare systems, the fact that our primary care system is a straight fee for service regardless of outcome basis, I’m not sure it’s sustainable. But that is a very disruptive change to the way the Australian health system is run, if that ever happens.

Michael Draheim: Historically, we’ve got a whole range of systems that are very disparate, built on data structures that aren’t interoperable and often duplicate the data. It’s difficult to get data out of those old fields as they were mostly free text. You may have a font of knowledge but you can’t extract it without a significant amount of cleansing. We’re now looking at better relational databases and more structure. The big advantage of that is real time categorised information flow. The challenge is dealing with our legacy and the cost of replacing that. There’s also significant organisational change involved.

You also have balance the technology, you don’t want to overwhelm people with thousands of alerts which make their life really difficult. For preventative health, it’s adding those fail safes, but not making too much more work. It’s a fine balance.

Have you any examples of results where you’ve seen technology directly impact healthcare efficiency?

Sarah Dods: One is in terms of cancer reporting where the cancer information that’s currently reported across Australia is a manual process, it’s somewhere between two and five years out of date depending on where you look. When a cancer occurs, a piece of paper gets sent to the cancer authority, there’s about a three year backlog, and somebody then eventually manually enters it into a database. We’ve got some research that we’ve been doing working with a couple of the state cancer agencies about automating that processing of the reporting data, and it’s now getting to the point where the research certainly indicates that there’s potential to do that real-time.

That’s an example where people making policy decisions or looking for unexplained outbreaks of cancer, or carrying out research will have access to be able to make an up-to-date data, it’s a huge advantage. You can then start to look at forecasting.

The second example is around patient flow, we’ve been working with the Gold Coast Hospital for a few years now, and that started out working with their emergency department about predicting who was going to turn up, the question was, can you predict who is going to turn up in an emergency department? We found that using the hospital’s own historic data we can predict with about 90% accuracy in any four hour block who’s going to turn up, what the triage categories are going to be, what the specialist categories are going to be, and how many of those people are going to be admitted.

Michael Draheim: We see significant results where we’ve digitalised existing practices. There’s one example where we’ve saved (from a workforce point of view) about $5 million for a couple of hundred thousand dollar investment – over 18 months, by digitalising a process.

We’ve also put in voice recognition badge software which has allowed clinicians to have more time for patient care – there are direct things that have improved the overall experience.

You can’t measure everything but we’re building a benefit delivery framework into all our projects post go live. We make value estimations and then we measure against that to see how we’re tracking.

What’s next for big data, how do you see healthcare of the future?

Sarah Dods: I’m actually going to be releasing a report on the digital healthcare system of the future at the Healthcare Efficiency Through Technology conference.

I’ve been leading the work that we’re doing at CSIRO around the sustainability of the Australian Healthcare system, it’s about providing evidence for innovation, improving access to services, improving efficiency and improving the quality of care that patients get through using digital tools.

We’re going to be talking about patient flow and information flow and information sharing.

Michael Draheim: It’s about more improving access and the ability to collect, report, read and analyse data on the run. We’ll be taking real time data which will often predict what’s likely to happen and provide this information to clinicians at the point of care to support their decision making. The key is to support the human elements of the way our workforce deliver services with quality real time data –  the challenge in the future is that we’ll have more information, it’s important to make sure this is provided in a way that adds to the quality our services provided by our staff.

Healthcare Efficiency through Technology provides the ideal forum to hear from facilities who have implemented technologies to improve patient care and realise operational benefits. Don’t re-invent the wheel – network, benchmark, learn and succeed.