Chase Bank Gets into the Ad Game

Chase Bank announced a new advertising unit that will use customer transaction data to target them with ads.

Photo of Chase Bank ATMs
Photo by Jan van der Wolf via Pexels

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These days every kind of company needs an advertising division, why would banks be any different?

Chase Bank announced Wednesday that it’s launching a new “digital media business” called Chase Media Solutions. The advertising unit will show ads to the millions of people who log in to Chase’s website and app, with ad targeting based on — you guessed it — transaction data. Because really who knows you better: your long-since-ghosted social media profiles, or your bank?

ABCD — Always Be Collecting Data

We got used to thinking of targeted advertising as something that belonged to the Facebooks of the world, social media giants who could follow you round the web (although in reality, it’s the data brokers who really track your digital footprint). What ends up getting cobbled together is third-party data from here, there, and everywhere to build what data brokers sell as a holistic and accurate depiction of you as a consumer, which is then filtered into big buckets of other, similar consumers.

However, shifts in exactly how closely people can be followed round the web have eroded the value of that form of targeted advertising, and ad tech companies have emphasized quality over sheer, unending quantity. Chase picked an unusually sunny spell in the ad market’s outlook to announce the new venture, and what it’s spun up is meant to be a more forensic version of targeted advertising, as it will rely on the bank’s first-party data about exactly what you spend money on:

  • In Chase’s press release announcing the new advertising business, it gave the example that brands could target “new, lapsed or loyal customers” based on their purchase history.
  • Chase will then only charge ad buyers a fee if and when a customer actually makes a purchase using an offer or a deal. Rich Muhlstock, head of offers and e-commerce at Chase, told The Wall Street Journal the tactic will help Chase prove its worth to marketers.

What’s Old Is New: Your Chase app isn’t the only corner of the internet succumbing to the ever-expanding reach of online advertising this week. Perplexity AI, a generative AI search engine company that dreams of being a Google-killer, announced on Monday that it will sell ads. Perplexity prompts users to follow up on the questions they type into the search bar with additional questions — and that’s when it plans to introduce sponsored content, company chief business officer Dmitry Shevelenko told Adweek. So the further down the AI rabbit hole you go, the more it tries to sell you stuff.