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BofE had no business case for £3000 Snapchat filter

24 November 2017  |  6165 views  |  3 Mark Carney, BofE

Was £3000 on a SnapChat geofilter to promote the new £10 note money well spent by the Bank of England? We'll never know because the bank did not put together a business case prior to the campaign or carry out any evaluation once it was completed.

The BofE caught some flack in September when it paid for a filter on Snapchat to promote the new Jane Austen tenner.

The filter, which let Snapchat users overlay their posts with the images of the new note, was made available in seven cities around the country and promoted by governor Mark Carney.

In response to a Freedom of Information request from Business Insider, last month the bank confirmed that it spent £2819.28 (excluding VAT) on the filter.

Wanting to know the justification for this expense, blogger Sharon O'Dea put in another Freedom of Information request.

Responding, the BofE, says it has "no recorded information held about the specific objectives of the social media aspect, including the Snapchat geofilter, of the Bank’s overall educational campaign to raise awareness of the new £10 banknote".

There were no "performance indicators" for the filter and no "evaluations" were carried out, although the filter was used 1415 times, receiving 101,000 impressions.

At a cost of £1.99 for every Snap, we'll never know whether the (public) money was well spent, although O'Dea has her suspicions, branding it "nonsense".

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 27 November, 2017, 10:21

On the flip side, I would imagine it would cost the BofE more than £3000 to create and approve a business case, so this looks to me like a good example of agility and keeping up with social trends without drowning things in paperwork.

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Bill Trueman
Bill Trueman - Riskskill.com - London | 27 November, 2017, 12:10

EXACTLY - spot on comment above:

1. Business cases in major banks cost a lot of money and take a lot of time to resource and pay for. Some things just need ACTION. £3,000 is nothing in the context of the costs of the cost of replacing the £10 note with a new plastic one.

2. Every marketing agency, and doubtless the one used by BoE or their own internal people; MUST be advising the Bank to align themselves with the modern / current channels of communications for its customers: and more specifically towards social media to get messages out. The Bank HAS to adopt these technologies.

3. Compared to traditional media messaging that the Bank could use, such as TV adverts, broad-sheet adverts and other radio/tv interview messaging: this would likely have been part of a packge that was MUCH, MUCH much cheaper than the traditionally required communication, reached more people and been noticed in a deeper way.

It seems to me that sometimes people who make these information requests do so without thinking through the questions that they are asking (probably thinking that they are being clever in asking without thinking about the wider issues): i.e they are just adding costs onto the 'system' and hence for all of us as taxpayers, and making our civil servants become less effective by making them double think every little decision.

We have to have accountability, but this is nonsence. STOP IT please.

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Steve Ellis
Steve Ellis - Metia - London | 28 November, 2017, 07:52

Reassuringly sensible comments. We can't expect institutions to catch up on using contemporary channels and techniques, if they don't get some latitude for experimentation. Snapchat is probably a bit of an outlier for the Bank of England but the budget here is relatively trivial. We can't criticize the financial sector for being detached from the mainstream and then knock them for exploring ways to get closer.

More interestingly, I've noticed the bank will be livestreaming the financial stability report announcements on stress testing via Youtube. Which, while not exactly bleeding edge, is to be applauded.

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