Friday, December 23, 2011

Google Search Trends for Banks in UAE - 2011

A known fact - people in need of Financial Services flock to the Internet to conduct their preliminary research. A largely ignored fact - Online Sentiments determine the demand and supply in the 'offline' world and online research helps the customers make their purchase decisions. An excellent example of Sentiment Analysis is; how Google Index trends along with the UAE's housing pricing index to show fall in online searches when the property bubble burst. Search engines are one of the most popular ways for people to conduct their research for financial products. Google being one of the most popular search engines is able to give data on customer's online behavior and their search habits.

I have used few queries to determine the Google search habits of people in UAE. The below analysis is on Google using 'Rising Searches' and 'Top Searches' for Financial Services Industry in UAE. According to Google "Rising searches highlight searches that have experienced significant growth in a given time period, with respect to the preceding time period" and "Top searches refers to search terms with the most significant level of interest." The below data could be used in planning your online acquisitions, positioning your products/channels online, competitor analysis, understanding customer behavior etc.  


The 2011 searches for the "Banking" category shows that, people are keen to know about the recently introduced "iban" payment system. "Rakbank Online" seems to be a very popular followed by 'emiratesnbd'. HSBC and Emirate NBD's online banking also fall in the top 10 searched keywords. Overall Emirate NBD the largest bank by assets in Middle East, seems to attract lot of searches on Google. IFSC code is another payment system used by the banks in India.


The search criteria were to use the keyword 'Card' in the Credit Cards category to derive the results in the chart. 'Prepaidcard' is the most searched term in this category. Interestingly, First Gulf Bank card seems to be popular search term among the online users. Emirate NBD is also listed in the top 10 category. NBAD is listed in the top 3 as a preferred search term in the credit card category.

I also did an analysis on what were the Top most searches for cards on Google in the Credit Cards Category during 2011. 

Visa Card makes an entry in this category. "Prepaidcard" keyword is no. 1 in the rising searches category. To connect the dots, probably Visa Prepaid Card was something people may be searching for. HSBC, Mashreq and ADCB also have made it into the top 10 keyword search list.

Auto Finance

There has been a sudden spike in Auto Finance online ads in UAE. Probably this data can be useful to banks to position their online campaigns. The most common terms used on google search are 'lease' and 'leasing'. Availability of second hand cars and steady fall in the price pf popular cards in the region would make the auto-financing a hot proposition.

Home Finance

Post crash of the property market in UAE, there has been several inaccurate predictions with the real estate pundits on how the market will perform in the near future. For the banking industry there lies an opportunity to encourage borrowing. I have used 'home loan' and 'mortgage' as keywords in the Home Financing category to arrive at these results. 
(زايد للإسكان) Zayed Housing Scheme is the top keyword searched on google in UAE.  It is a housing scheme run by the government of UAE to help nationals buy/build a home by granting them loans. 'ADCBloan' is a popular keyword searched online. Calculators also are very popular search, which shows that banks need to invest in having easy to use calculators on their public websites.


Insurance is one of the hottest Businesses at present; thanks to all the uncertainness in the world. I have used the 'Top Searches' category for the below analysis. 'LifeInsurance', rank's 2nd in the search list followed by 'healthinsurance' and 'carinsurance'. Medical and Travel insurance fall at 7th and 8th most searched keywords respectively. AXA  and RSA are the only two companies that fall in the top 10 keywords list.

Online Banking

Online Banking usage in UAE has significantly grown and the channel remains popular among customers for conducting their banking transactions. I have queried 'online banking' and 'internet banking' keywords in the 'Banking' category to determine these results. In the 'internet banking' keyword category HSBC clearly takes the lead in the most searched keyword for online banking followed by Emirate NBD. Interestingly two bank, Axis (Indian Bank) and BDO (Philippines Bank) also turn up in the top 10 list.

In the 'online banking' keyword category the results are strikingly different. NBD takes the lead for the most searched keyword followed by Standard Chartered. Mashreq and ADCB are the other two banks who appear in this search.
It is important to understand how a bank has positioned itself on internet for various keywords. Some banks are able to leverage on the keyword 'internet banking' while other top the list of 'online banking'.

An analysis on the interest level in both terms shows that 'Online banking' is a clear leader in terms of online search.




  2. Thanks for sharing this excellent analysis. Have sent u a mail as we would like to get in touch with you.

    Neil Wilson

  3. Rupert - Thanks for sharing the link on your blog.

    Neil - Thank you for your comments. I shall respond to your email.

  4. Wish Google could also give some demographic info.




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