Case Studies / Royal Bank of Canada

RBC Optimizes Spend on Google and Facebook with Skai’s Impact Navigator


Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, providing personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services, and capital markets products and services on a global basis.


In the crowded and competitive Canadian financial services market, continued growth requires continuous experimentation and innovation. As part of that commitment and culture, the RBC team wanted to better understand and quantify the impact that their investments in Google and Facebook advertising had on RBC’s retail banking line of business. RBC believed these investments drive business growth but needed better information to guide planning, decision-making, and further innovation and experimentation.


Skai fully supports measuring cross-platform, cross-channel, and multi-cell testing using its incrementality measurement solution Impact Navigator. RBC partnered with Skai to design an eight-week experiment to quantify the incremental impact of RBC’s investments in Google’s search and Discovery advertising products and Facebook ads, both individually and in combination.

Impact Navigator designed a test in which geographies were split into four equal parts: 25% of cities acted as the control; search and Discovery were withheld from 25% of cities; Facebook was withheld from a separate 25%; and search, Discovery, and Facebook were all withheld from the remaining 25%. This structure enabled RBC to measure the impact of their Google ad investments, their Facebook ad investments, and the impact of having them running together.


Objective: Measure the incremental impact of advertising investments in Google search, Google Discovery, and Facebook ads

Hypothesis: All investments are adding incremental value, and there is more value in having them running at the same time, rather than individually

Warmup: 14 days

Measurement dates: 42 days

Country: Canada (300 largest cities by KPI volume)

Geo-split: 75 cities in each test cell


As the RBC team expected, their investments in Google and Facebook are helping to grow new account openings. In fact, both Google and Facebook are undervalued by standard attribution by more than 10X and significantly outperform RBC’s targeted cost per opening.

A deeper analysis revealed a number of additional insights:

  1. Its investments in Google create greater incremental lift in account openings 
  2. RBC is potentially underinvested in Facebook
  3. Investing in Google and Facebook together creates resonance, driving greater incremental lift than investing in Google or Facebook on their own

Next Tests

Based on these results, RBC is continuing to invest in both Facebook and Google and are already planning additional tests to further explore what they have learned:

The impact of increased investment

The initial follow-up test RBC is looking to run is to understand the impact of increased investment in both Google and Facebook. Because both channels have been undervalued, there may be an opportunity for increased investment in both. This test will measure these channels at multiple investment levels to understand where RBC would experience diminishing returns from the increased investment.

The impact of specific tactics across Google and Facebook

Since the test identified potential cannibalization across channels, it makes sense to dig deeper into specific tactics to understand where there are opportunities for optimization. Further testing can help reveal the best places to increase investment and where certain investments can be better optimized.

About RBC

Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 87,000+ employees who leverage their imaginations and insights to bring our vision, values, and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S., and 27 other countries. Learn more at

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