Wema Bank Plc said it spent a total of N556.4 million on advertising in the first half of 2018, a 78% increase from the N311 million spent a year earlier. The bank has steadily increased its advertising spending since launching its flagship online digital banking platform, ALAT.
In 2017, the bank spent a total of 1.21 billion naira on advertising and marketing, roughly three times the 421 million naira spent in 2016. In total, the bank has now spent around 1.7 billion naira on advertising and marketing. advertising in the last 18 months. Wema Bank launched ALAT in May 2017 and since then the bank claims to have recruited around 200,000 new customers, who have completed nearly 900,000 transactions totaling 12 billion naira.
ALAT by Wema Bank has led the way in the digital banking space in Nigeria and is available on Google and AP Store. According to data from the Google Playstore, ALAT has more than 100,000 downloads with the Wema Bank app owned by the parent company. Wema Bank embarked on a major rebranding exercise in 2015, introducing a new logo and committing to stay innovative. ALAT was its first major innovative products and since then the bank has spent billions on technology and promotional activities for the app.
In March, the bank released two new features for ALAT that allow it to offer quick, short-term loans and a virtual dollar card to pay internationally online. The ALAT Virtual Dollar Card is a non-physical, dollar denominated debit card designed for online payments. Like ALAT loans, the card is accessible to all of the bank’s customers via its applications. The ALAT app was recently named “ Best Digital Bank in Africa ” at the Asian Banker Awards 2018
A recent article from Nairametrics indicates that Nigerian Tier 1 banks spent around 35.7 billion naira on advertising during the year ended December 31, 2017. This amount is slightly higher than the 31.1 billion naira spent for the same purpose in 2016. Wema Bank’s advertising spending is still significantly lower than that of other Tier 2 banks such as Diamond Bank and FCMB, which spent around 3.2 billion naira and 2.1 billion naira respectively on advertising and promotions.
While most banks spent more than Wema Bank in absolute terms, the Tier 2 bank outperformed the rest in terms of year-over-year growth. For example, Diamond Bank cut its advertising spending by more than 50% while Zenith Bank Plc, the biggest spender, incurred 8.8 billion naira in advertising costs compared to 9.5 billion naira in 2016. GTB a also reduced its advertising spending by 7.4 naira. to 7 billion naira last year.
The FINTECH revolution in Nigeria has led the rave for faster and more innovative mobile-driven financial inclusion. Several FINTECH apps have been launched over the past three years, as the developers seek to take advantage of Nigeria’s nearly 100 million mobile phone users.
A recent Terragon Group digital trends report says Nigeria is the most engaged country in the world, with the bulk of internet traffic coming from mobile devices. Banks are taking advantage of this situation and producing competing mobile banking apps to power mobile payments. ALAT is, however, the first fully digital banking app.
The bank’s latest result for the period ended June 2018 showed net interest income of 9.09 billion naira for the period ended June 2018, compared to 8.48 billion naira for the period ended June 2017. This represents an increase of 7% for the comparative period in 2017. Profit before tax was 1.81 billion naira for the period ended June 2018, an increase of 27% from 1.43 billion naira. for the period ended June 2017.