Thursday, December 29, 2011

Google Search Trends for Banks in Singapore - 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's Search 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 Singapore. The below analysis is on Google using 'Rising Searches' and 'Top Searches' for Financial Services Industry in Singapore. 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 actively searching for POSB iBanking. POSB was acquired by DBS bank in 1998, however they continue to serve the customers. POSB branches fall at the 3rd place in the Top searches for banking. HDFC quick remit, a free online remittance service, seems to be very popular in Singapore, as it appears on 2nd, 3rd and 5th rank. OCBC, CITI and DBS internet banking channel also appear in the top 10 list of searched keywords. OCBC branch keyword appears at number 10.
Insight – POSB bank customers are very loyal, as they continue to use the brand services/channels, thanks to its wide spread network and low cost offerings. It is interesting to see people searching for bank branches on Google, showing potential to understand why they are interested to know branch locations. Alternatively, they could be migrated to other cost effective channels.


In the Cards search category I have queried the 'Top Searches' for Credit Cards category to derive the results in the chart. Standard Chartered card is a clear leader in keyword search.
Standard Chartered’s Manhattan Card is a popular search on Google. CITI bank is another MNC bank that appears in the top 10 list. UOB and OCBC are the only regional banks that make it in the top 10.

I also did an analysis on what are 'Rising Searches' for cards on Google in the Credit Cards Category during 2011. Regional bank, OCBC and Standard Chartered are on the top of the list. May Bank and UOB are the other banks that make it in the list.

Insight – MNC Bank card searches are quite popular. Regional banks may need to step up efforts for their online presence

Auto Finance
Cars in Singapore are a luxury. However there are many financing option available in the market. Probably this data can be useful to banks to position their online campaigns. I have queried the Auto Finance category to arrive at the results. The most common terms used on Google search are 'lease' and 'leasing'. People are also looking to Car Loan Calculator in the online search.

Insight – Bank’s should offer calculators on their Public Websites to give customers an idea on financing details.

Home Finance

Loan Calculators also searched on Google, which shows that banks need to invest in having easy to use calculators on their public websites. This could help in acquiring new customers.'

Property prices in Singapore are high; however government has always intervened to provide affordable housing. Keywords like ‘loan’, ‘home loan’, ‘mortgages’ are popular amongst users. ‘HDB Loan’- is part of a government scheme to provide affordable housing. The Housing & Development Board (HDB) is Singapore's public housing authority and a statutory board under the Ministry of National Development.


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. NTUC Insurance seems to be the most searched on Google followed by Aviva and AIA insurance. Car and Life insurance fall at 8th and 8th rank respectively. I am not able to see any specific search for health insurance, my hunch on this would be probably, insurance brands are more popular searches than the type of insurance.

Insight – Travel insurance is the most popular search on Google in Singapore.
Online Banking

Online Banking has been growing in popularity in Financial Services Sector and the channel remains popular among customers to conduct 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 UOB clearly takes the lead in the most searched keyword for online banking followed by OCBC. POSB and DBS also make it in the top 10 list.

In the 'online banking' keyword category the results are strikingly different. DBS takes the lead for the most searched keyword followed by its own brand POSB. CITI Bank is the only MNC to make it in the top 10 search category. OCBC and UOB also manage to appear in the top 10 keyword search list.

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 ' Internet banking' is a clear leader in terms of online search.


  1. Very Interesting insight.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. This is very interesting. Most of the banks are trying to be in the top 10 search on Google via pre-determined keywords. Looking at this data the entire online acquistion game can be changed. Just sent you an invite on LinkedIn.

    J P Wong

  3. Internet vs Online Banking really made my day. Looking at this data was just an eye-opener.


  4. Thanks for sharing this Kapil. Interesting to see the true online behavior of the customer. Sent you a email. Hope to hear from you.




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