Fintech challenger Revolut ‘ready to experiment’ with agencies on ad offering
The Media Leader Interview
Having helped build a sales operation for a then little-known social media app called TikTok, Revolut’s commercial chief Inam Mahmood is now focussed on developing another challenger brand with a mission to become the ‘lifestyle platform of choice for everyone’.
Inam Mahmood, Revolut’s head of global lifestyle solutions, says testing and learning with agencies will help the online bank understand where its new advertising offering sits between brand-building and performance marketing.
Mahmood was the first commercial TikTok hire in EMEA in 2018 and most recently was its director of strategic partnerships for ecommerce and involved in launching TikTok Shop, before joining Revolut in February.
He told The Media Leader he has been applying learnings from his time at TikTok, when it was barely known to the UK advertising community and operated out of a WeWork in London’s Holborn. Now, at Revolut, he is working with “a blank canvas”, and building its advertising offering in-house from the ground up, something he says is “really exciting”.
“As I’ve experienced in my previous role, from the initial plan we had thought at TikTok, it changed,” Mahmood says. “It spun on its head, then 360 [degrees] and 180… we’re ready to embrace the changes and explore and experiment at this stage. I think it’s always the best way.”
The online banking app has 30 million users globally and launched its first advertising offering in March in select markets including the UK, Ireland and some European territories with the plan to roll out across more markets imminently.
The new advertising formats including widgets, banners, media headers on a carousel, alongside existing search listings which are viewable in the Revolut Shops section of the app which was also launched in March this year after successfully debuting in Ireland.
Ads are only carried on this dedicated section of the app and there is a third party marketing opt-in so it is “a high intent audience”, Mahmood says.
With the launch of these formats, Revolut has focussed on direct brand relationships, but is now eyeing opportunities across the ecosystem.
“At this stage, we’re open to having different conversations. Whether it’s partnering up with retail media, having direct relationships with agency groups, or getting closer to the client partners that we’ve already been working with,” explains Mahmood.
He says working on building Revolut’s ad offering is “the same challenge, different environment” and the main goal this year is to test and learn with agencies and brands and educate them to help them understand the new solution and use case so they can become “native to the platform”.
“The best way you grow and scale is you have advocates in the market. They understand how it works and they understand the power of it, so I think that would be our priority and focus for this year,” he adds.
Mahmood ultimately wants Revolut to be “a destination for brand performance” and “the lifestyle platform of choice for everyone”.
“Ultimately we are operating in the digital ad space, so anyone that is vying for those budgets you can classify as a competitor. I think given our unique proposition and solution at this stage, we don’t have like a direct comparison.”