In a well-coordinated launch, Capital One and Uber announced their new partnership on Tuesday, in a way that was fitting for both companies. Capital One chose a traditional press release, while trendy Uber announced the partnership on its blog. Within hours, major news outlets picked up the story and Comperemedia followed the marketing campaign as it unfolded…

If you haven’t heard, here is the deal: Capital One Quicksilver cardholders will receive 20% back as a statement credit on all Uber rides through April 30, 2016. if they pay with their Quicksilver or Quicksilver One Card. In addition, any Capital One customers new to Uber will receive their first two Uber rides for free, up to $30 per ride, if they use an eligible Capital One card. There is no registration or sign-up to ensure that the process is simple, seamless and consistent with the Uber customer experience. The promotion is a win-win for both companies. Uber expands its customer base securing more riders, while Capital One becomes top-of-mobile-wallet within the Uber app.

Following the announcement, Uber sent more than 8 million emails to customers promoting the partnership, according to Mintel ePerformance/eDataSource. The most used the subject line: “What if riding with Uber paid you back?” generating a 31% read rate*. A test using the subject line “Where can 20% back take you?” didn’t perform nearly as well suggesting that mentioning the Uber brand, in a subject line, can improve read rates, even in emails sent from Uber! 

The Capital One/Uber partnership has enabled the credit card issuer to penetrate the inboxes of 8 million+ Uber customers

The Uber campaign is primarily focused on existing Capital One cardholders with a bold call-to-action encouraging them to add their cards to the Uber app; however, the campaign also doubles as a brilliant piece of acquisition marketing for Capital One. The Capital One partnership with Uber has enabled the issuer to penetrate the inboxes of 8 million+ Uber customers (the campaign has a 99.6% inbox placement rate according to Mintel ePerformance/eDataSource) and those Uber customers who don’t have a Capital One Quicksilver card are encouraged to click a link to apply.

On Wednesday (April 22) and Thursday (April 23) Capital One began its campaign by sending more than 8 million emails to customers, initially using a selection of subject lines and then settling on “Take Uber for a Spin”. In total, between Capital One and Uber more than 16 million emails have been sent promoting the partnership between Tuesday and Thursday alone.

What does this mean for marketers?

  1. Look for new “top-of-mobile-wallet” promotions and incentives in the coming months
    Card issuers are looking increasingly at creative new ways to become the “card of choice” within the mobile wallet whether that is via Uber, Apple Pay or any other mobile wallet or payments app. American Express announced its own partnership with Uber in June 2014 and recently announced a partnership with Jawbone to enable American Express cardholders to pay with the new Jawbone UP4 fitness tracker. We have already seen card issuers such as US Bank and Wells Fargo offer financial incentives to customers who use their cards with Apple Pay.
  2. Look for issuers to develop creative new acquisition marketing strategies by establishing partnerships with tech firms
    New “tech” means potential new partners and, with email as the central communications hub in an increasingly connected world, card issuers can tap into new groups of customers via email and develop creative new acquisition strategies. Uber and Capital One’s customer emails generate loyalty among their own customers while also doubling as acquisition campaigns for each as a partner.

*Note: Engagement metrics as of April 24, 2015.

Andrew Davidson, SVP Mintel Comperemedia, is a multi-channel marketing and payments expert with 20+ years of marketing research experience. Andrew is a regular speaker at Card Forum and other high profile international industry events.

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