Facebook Advertising: Brightwell Payments App Adoption - Fintech Case Study

We launched an organic and paid social media strategy from ground zero, resulting in over a 110% increase in app MAU (monthly active users) in 2018.

About Brightwell:

Brightwell is an Atlanta-based fintech company offering end-to-end payment solutions through cutting edge technology and unparalleled support, serving cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Costa, Princess, and AIDA.

End Users (Audience for Ads):

Cruise crew members and seafarers who live all over the world, concentrated in Indonesia, Philippines, and India. Many of these seafarers are unbanked or underbanked. They work on ship for months at a time and travel to their home countries in between.

Carnival Cruise employees are paid through Brightwell.

Carnival Cruise employees are paid through Brightwell.

Our Goal:

Educate and increase app adoption among a user base largely unfamiliar with digital payments, credit cards, and banking. Change habits from mainly cash and ATM use to online transfers within the Brightwell Navigator app.


  • Language barriers

  • Technology barriers (many crew lack experience with online banking)

  • Spotty and slow Wi-Fi onboard ship

  • High turnover of active crew

  • Crew’s mistrust of payments providers due to past negative experiences

  • Cash-centric cultures such as Philippines


Facebook and Instagram advertising targeting crew members, encouraging app install and adoption through features and benefits as well as persona-based messaging.

We created customer personas (AKA avatars) for each nationality on ship because culture plays a key role in relationships with money, both emotionally and logistically when it comes to banking.

Year 1 of Facebook Advertising:

launch, test, iterate, optimize, repeat


  • Over 110% increase in MAU (monthly active users)

  • Decreased CPI (cost per app install) to one-tenth that of the benchmark / goal

  • Optimized CPC and CTR with over 60% and 35% improvement, respectively

Brightwell remains a client as they continue to establish themselves as a major player in the payments space and one of the fastest growing companies in Transaction Alley (Atlanta’s fintech ecosystem).

Details available upon request.