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ING Direct Canada relies on mobile to build social prescense

Financial institution ING Direct Canada is using mobile advertisements to bolster its social media strategy.

ING Direct is using mobile ads to increase interest to the company’s social media outlets with a sweepstakes that is giving away a Microsoft Xbox. The company partnered with mobile ad network Sympatico for this effort.

“We wanted to get the message across other channels than our traditional outlets and create an interactive way to get consumers involved,” said Mark Nicolson, head of digital and interactive at ING Direct, Toronto.

“From what we’ve seen in the past, social media tends to have an engaged audience and are high adopters of mobile,” he said.

ING Direct is a subsidiary of ING Bank of Canada and offers clients wireless banking via the Internet or phone.

Sympatico is a Canadian-based ad network.

Buried treasure
The mobile ads are part of ING Direct’s larger “X marks the spot” campaign.

To participate in the campaign, users “like” the company’s page on Facebook and can play daily to win prizes.

To play, consumers flip a group of 16 virtual cards to find patterns.

If users match up the cards correctly, they are entered into the sweepstakes to win an Xbox console.

The games are branded with a ING Direct logo that runs across the top of the pages.

Over the course of the campaign, ING Direct will give away seven Xbox consoles.

Here is the game consumers play to win prizes

ING Direct started the campaign in September and added mobile ads to the marketing mix two weeks ago.

The campaign runs through 2011 and is targeted at ING Direct’s target tech-savvy audience of 18 to 34 year olds.

Consumers can play the game directly on a mobile-optimized page inside the banner ads.

After playing, users can share the game with friends via Facebook.

Users also have the option to “like” the ING Direct Facebook page or play again.

“We have done both display and search advertising in the past and wanted to build onto the platforms that consumers can access the game on with this campaign,” Mr. Nicolson said.

Virtual bank
Mobile advertising makes sense for ING Direct campaigns because the bank does not have branches and only offers online and mobile service to its clients.

ING Direct has mobile applications for the iPhone, iPad, Windows 7, BlackBerry and Android devices as well as a mobile-optimized Web site.

ING Direct is not the only financial institution using mobile ads to increase brand awareness.

Most recently, Citi ran mobile ads on The Weather Channel’s iPhone app to reward consumers with prizes (see story).

For this particular campaign, ING Direct is thinking outside the box of its mobile tools to realize that social and mobile go together.

“Social is a conduit into mobile,” Mr. Nicolson said.

“Mobile is a platform that enables our clients to have better access to their money,” he said.

“Our goal is to support our clients regardless of what device they have.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York