Prosper - Competitive Landscape

Part
01
of three
Part
01

SoFi

SoFi gas aired 54 commercials on television to date. They currently have three commercials running on television. Their 2018 marketing spend was $200 million. The majority of their commercials target the struggling millennial.

USE OF COMMERCIALS

  • SoFi has aired 54 commercials on television, and has been a Super Bowl advertiser. In the last week, they had 1,865 commercials aired.

CURRENT COMMERICALS

  • "Get Your Money Right With SoFi" is 30 second commercial that is currently being aired. The commercial revolves around the idea that with rising costs people need a side hustle just to get by. SoFi will help get their financial back on track with help with home loans, student loans, investing and credit card debt.
  • "Personal Loans CC" is a 30-second commercial that is currently being aired. The commercial discusses how one in four millenials have debt they will die with, with most of it being credit card debt. SoFi has the solution with their personal loans of up to $100,000 for no fee.
  • "Refinancing Student Loans" is a 30-second commercial that is currently being aired. This commercial focuses around refinancing student loan debt and getting better interest rates.

PAST/INACTIVE COMMERCIALS

  • "Get Your Credit Card Debt Right With SoFi" aired in 2019 as a 30-second commercial. This commercial focused on millennials and credit card debt, and how using personal loans can help get them back on track.
  • "Time To Get Your Student Loans Right" aired in 2019 as a 30-second commercial. The commercial states that by re-financing student loans, millenials can save enough money to work towards their other financial goals.
  • "Brand Mirror" aired in 2019 as a 30-second commercial. The commercial has a message for millenials. They work hard, but it seems that all they get is the hot dog bun instead of the whole hot dog. SoFi has the answers with student load consolidation, personal loans, home loans, investing, and credit card debt personal loans.
  • "It's Baby Time" aired in 2019 as a 30-second commercial. An expecting couple has just bought a house, but now they need money to get the house ready. They decide to take out a SoFi personal loan.
  • "Underpaid" aired in 2019 as a 30-second commercial. SoFi believes you are being underpaid. They want to help you make more money with a hybrid account that earns 2.25% APY.
  • "Get Your Money Right: Expensive" aired in 2018 as a 30-second commercial. It featured a discussion around college, bills, and life in general being expensive. The SoFi app can help manage those expenses.
  • "Tiny Kitchen" aired in 2018 as a 30-second commercial. The commercial features a kitchen in need of remodeling, but there is no money. Instead, they feature tiny-scale kitchen appliances as their remodel.
  • "Debt Free" aired in 2018 as a 30-second commercial. It features a college graduate thinking about her student loans and how bad they were before she refinanced with SoFi. She now can get a new car and travel.
  • "Business School" aired in 2018 as a 30-second commercial. A man is thinking back on his six credit cards he had after graduating from business school. He got a SoFi personal loan right after he got engaged, and now he is able to contribute to his wedding.
  • "And More" aired in 2018 as a 30-second commercial. The theme revolves around wanting to do so many things with your money, and needing guidance. SoFi helps manage finances and keeps you debt free.
  • "Get My Money Back" was aired in 2018 as a 30-second commercial. It was centered around overdraft fees and introduced their hybrid account that earns 2% APY, has no cost, and has free ATMs.
  • "Wrecking Ball" was aired in 2018 as a 30-second commercial. It revolves around fees and how everyone hates them. SoFi got rid of fees on personal loans (and smashed them with a wrecking ball).
  • "The Real Cost" aired in 2017 as a 30-second commercial. The commercial revolves around being honest about the real cost of things, once you apply credit card interest. SoFi rates could be lower than credit card rates, thus making things cost less.
  • "We Are" aired in 2017 as a 30-second commercial. This was centered around their beliefs as a business and how they are driven and dedicated.
  • "This Is The Beginning Of A Bankless World" was SoFi's 2016 Superbowl commercial that ran for 45 seconds. It was a play on the 2008 financial crisis.

ONLINE VIDEO ONLY COMMERCIALS

  • "Invest: DR" is an online only, 30 second video commercial, that is currently being aired. This commercial focuses on millenials and wanting to be able to retire someday. Investing is they key to retirement, but they are not actively investing. SoFi will help you shop stocks and ETFs for free.
  • "Invest: Mid Funnel" is an online only, 30 second video commercial, that is currently being aired. It discusses the stock market crash and how that might make one hesitant to invest. Investing is essential if millenials want to improve their financial situations. SoFi has created an investment tool to assist.

TARGET AUDIENCE

  • Thier current primary target audience is millenials and their struggle with debt. Their other commercials target the average consumer and their need for affordable financing and investing.

MARKETING SPEND

  • In 2015, SoFi's marketing budget was $30 million dollars. This amount has increased significantly over the last four years.
  • In 2016, their marketing budget was increased to $120 million.
  • In 2017, SoFi spent $170 million on marketing, which equated to $756 per new customer they gained.
  • In 2018, they spent $200 million on marketing.
  • SoFi has switched to their own in house marketing team to save money.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Avant

It appears that Avant is currently inactive in the TV advertising space, as the only such commercial we found was from 2014. We also found an advertisement published by the company on YouTube, which might have been a TV advertisement, yet that too was published years ago in 2016 with nothing more recent since then. Both of those advertisements have a happy, positive vibe about them.

Findings

TV Advertisement

  • The only TV advertisement we found for Avant aired back in 2014.
  • In that TV advertisement, Avant appears to be targeting young mothers and/or single parents, as the only people featured in the commercial are a young mom (probably in her 30s) and her toddler.
  • That advertisement is 30-seconds long.
  • In terms of content, the following is the entire transcript of the auditory content included in the advertisement: "Join over 200,000 customers who have already received a personal loan through Avant. View your rates with no effect your FICO score with our quick, online application, instant decision, and competitive rates. Funds can be deposited into your account as soon as tomorrow."
  • The following is a continuation of the aforementioned transcript of the auditory content: "[Lady speaking]: 'The service agent was very knowledgeable. The company seems to truly care about the people that are applying for the loan. They asked a few questions and I was approved right away.' Discover a new way to borrow at Avant dot com; Apply today at Avant dot com."
  • The visual, typed content included in the advertisement was very minimal, as there were only two such points of emphasis. The first point stated: "Loans up to $35,000 starting at $1,000" and the second point stated "Loans from $1,000 to $35,000."
  • This TV commercial appears to have been used to promote Avant's services by trying to persuade people to apply for its loans online. Almost all the content in the commercial seems to promote that purpose.

Digital Advertisement

  • The other relevant advertisement we found for Avant was published by the company on YouTube in 2016. Though we couldn't determine whether it was a TV or digital-only advertisement, there's a chance it might have been a TV advertisement so we included it (full rationale explained in research methodology section below).
  • That advertisement on YouTube is titled "AvantCredit: Richard's Story" and was published on February 17, 2016.
  • That advertisement appears to target young professionals, as the only person featured in it is a man who appears to be in his 30s and is wearing business casual attire. Furthermore, this advertisement is targeting young professionals in the U.K. specifically, as the website shown in the ad ends in ".UK" (meaning a UK website).
  • The advertisement is 20-seconds long.
  • In terms of content, the following is the entire transcript of the auditory content included in the advertisement: "'Thank you very much' [voice of customer, seemingly thanking Avant]. Thousands of people are already experiencing the benefits of an Avant Credit personal loan and 48.5% Representative APR of funds can be deposited in your account as soon as the next day. To see how we can help you, apply now at Avant Credit dot co dot UK."
  • Only one main point was depicted in visual, typed content within the advertisement, which stated: "From €1,000 to €20,000."
  • This advertisement appears to have been used to show how satisfied customers are with Avant's services and to persuade people to apply for its loans online, as nearly all the content in the advertisement promotes those purposes.

Avant's Marketing Spend

  • While we couldn't find any data about Avant's marketing spend, whether for TV commercials, overall, or similar, we found insightful information published by the Wall Street Journal about the company's pause on marketing in 2016 (which likely explains why there were so few advertisements).
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, "Avant Inc. is putting most of its marketing partnerships on hold to pull back on the company’s volume of loans because of concerns over capital availability . . . . The marketing cuts will result in a loan-volume reduction of about two-thirds . . . .The slowdown efforts started earlier this year but are accelerating now."
  • Furthermore, the aforementioned article stated: "The company had about 50 partnerships and has suspended 45 of them . . . . Among its partners are lead-generation sites such as Credit Karma and LendingTree, as well as affiliate marketing networks."
  • That article continued by stating: "Just recently, consumer lenders were spending large amounts on marketing to reach more borrowers. But cooler capital markets reduced the demand for loans, which caused several companies, including Avant . . . to cut spending on marketing."

Your Research Team Applied the Following Strategy:

In looking for Avant's TV commercials, we consulted the reputable sources iSpot.tv, Inc. and Ads of the World, as those sources publish companies' advertisements dating back years. Only one TV commercial was listed for Avant on iSpot.tv, which is the first commercial we analyzed above. We didn't find any TV commercials for Avant on Ads of the World nor elsewhere. We then checked Avant's YouTube channel because companies sometimes publish their TV commercials there as well. To our surprise, Avant only had two consumer-facing advertisements on its YouTube channel and both were from years ago (2014 and 2016).

On YouTube, the video advertisement from 2014 was almost two-minutes long, so we reasonably assumed it was not a TV advertisement because that would be very long for a TV commercial and expensive for the company. However, the other advertisement on YouTube (from 2016) was 20-seconds long, so there's a chance it might have been a TV commercial, as it was similar in length to the one TV commercial that we found for Avant that was 30 seconds-long. Accordingly, we analyzed that 20-second advertisement on YouTube, though we couldn't determine whether it indeed aired on TV or whether it was a digital-only advertisement. Nonetheless, the advertisement provides further insight into how the company markets itself through video-based advertisements. For both advertisements, we transcribed the auditory content included in the advertisements in their entirety by listening to and typing said content.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Lending Club

Lending Club has had four different television commercials, which none are currently active. The last commercial aired in 2018. They are far more active on YouTube and with desktop/mobile advertising.

USE OF COMMERCIALS

  • Lending Club has had four different commercials for television. They are not currently using any television commercials.

COMMERICALS

  • "Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands" debuted in 2016. It was aired 31 times, and last aired January 2, 2017. In this commercial a woman cuts up her credit cards and goes to Lending Club to help eliminate her high interest rates. The commercial lasted 30 seconds.
  • "Living The Dream" debuted in 2018 and last aired on September 30, 2018. It aired 346 times. The commercial lasted 30 seconds. The commercial features a couple buying a home and discovering water damage in the basement. They go to Lending Club to get a loan to repair their water heater. The wife wishes that unpacking was as easy as getting a loan from Lending Club.
  • "Some Debt You Plan For, Some Just Happens" debuted in 2018 and last aired on September 30, 2018. It was aired 267 times and was a 30-second commercial. The commercial is about the debt you accumulate that you do not plan for and how it can be overwhelming for a credit card.
  • In 2011, they produced a commercial that was targeted to bring more borrowers on the platform. They had viewers go to a special landing page that counted the metrics to see the viability of the commercial. No other information on this commercial was available.

TARGET AUDIENCE

  • The commercials' target audience is the average consumer with a debt load.
  • Their product line and YouTube commercials indicate a larger target audience, considering they offer personal and business loans, auto-refinance, and patient solutions. They have recently moved into the individual and institutional investment areas.

ADVERTISING OF INTEREST

  • Lending Club is active on YouTube and seems to do most their "commercial" type advertising there. They have several 30 second commercials. In the last year they have released 17 videos, with nine of those being in the last two months.
  • According to Moat, they are heavily invested in desktop and mobile advertising.

MARKETING SPEND

  • According to their 10-Q financial statement for fiscal year 2018, they had a budget of $401, 178,000 for sales and marketing. They do not break down their spend by marketing and sales. It is of interest that their budget was much larger ($262,509,000) for the first half of the fiscal year, compared to the last half ($138,369,000).
Sources
Sources

From Part 01