Digitalisation has had an enormous impact on every part of the modern economy; particularly in the financial sector. Now, it’s estimated the financial services account for 14% of spending on online advertising, and this figure is only likely to increase. However, determining which of these marketing methods has the most influence throughout the customer journey has become a frequent challenge within the sector.
A recent study carried out by Experian discovered 51% of financial businesses still rely on outdated methods of marketing attribution. Worse yet, some aren’t bothering with it at all! This lack of understanding puts these companies at a remarkable disadvantage against competitors who already recognise the benefits of data-driven insights.
And if we consider that the average sale requires six to eight touchpoints, fully understanding the success of each marketing channel can form the backbone of budget allocation to avoid wasteful investments.
To achieve this level of understanding, the financial sector needs to introduce multi-touch attribution – allowing credit to every call-to-action (using a live chat, picking up the phone or sending an email) within the customer journey to attain a firmer grasp on marketing success.
Let’s take a look at how, with the information provided by multi-touch attribution, the financial services could optimise their approach to four forms of online marketing.
Work price comparison sites into your strategy
Finance is, as you might imagine, an incredibly competitive market; meaning advertising to obtain consumer trust doesn’t come cheap. No-one wants to feel they’ve been ripped off on a loan for example, which is why around three-fifths of would-be customers are ‘very likely’ to use a price comparison site before investing in a financial product.
As such, financial service companies should make price comparison sites a central component of their online advertising. However, with the benefits of price-comparison sites now widely-understood, the market has become rather saturated. Furthermore, future growth can depend on changes made to the price comparison sites themselves. Success here is likely to go to financial marketers who can keep their prices competitive, rather than those simply allocate a large marketing budget.
By maintaining a presence on alternative channels like remarketing, pay-per-click advertising and social media alongside efficient price comparison site coverage, financial firms can maintain a diversified presence without becoming too reliant on one particular outlet. Investing in additional marketing outlets can also drive traffic through less expensive methods and help compensate for the expenses of price comparison sites.
By drawing a correlation between actions taken and the resultant rise (or fall) in revenue, multi-touch attribution can help financial services companies strike the right balance between price-comparison sites and other avenues of online marketing, whilst identifying avenues to optimise campaigns further.
Paid search must be attributed to phone calls
For the financial sector, paid search is fast emerging as the most straightforward and popular marketing tool. Research by Growthpoint indicates the industry has one of the highest paid search conversion rates at 7.19%. Unfortunately, it also has the third most expensive CPC at $3.72 of the sectors assessed.
Let’s take a look at Google’s Keyword Planner. When researching the most searched keywords for mortgage advisors (see above), a cursory glance at the figures reveals a substantial uptick in cost-per-click (CPC). Given the importance of paid search to the financial services sector, it’s crucial that we uncover exactly how great an ROI (return on investment) this form of marketing will yield.
Instead of mindlessly throwing money at the most obvious keywords, financial marketers should be strategizing how they can wring maximum utility from existing keywords. This will help slash the cost of customer acquisition, whilst keeping conversions and click rates high. If you can determine how attribute how specific keywords are at various points along a customer’s journey, this is more than possible.
A good example comes from traditional, offline avenues. A recent survey revealed that would-be customers are almost three times as likely to make a phone call based on a paid search ad for financial services than for other industries.
Imagine you’re a financial advisor bidding on the search term “independent financial advisor”. How exactly can you attribute the number of phone calls this keyword has generated during a specific customer’s journey? Call tracking attribution software for financial services enables you to determine the significance of phone calls during the customer journey to calculate individual marketing campaign success. In this scenario, call tracking can analyse the full value of customers obtained from specific keywords, allowing you to attribute your full ROI from paid search.
Paid social media engages younger audiences but must be attributed
Social media’s influence as a marketing platform for financial services has ballooned over the years – which is perhaps unsurprising, given the vice-like grip it has over our attention. A survey by Community Rising social media within the financial sector found that 87% of financial businesses use Facebook, while 52% are using Twitter and 47% LinkedIn. While social media might not drive last-click conversions, it will help to maintain the presence of your brand in the minds of would-be customers.
Given the fierceness of competition in the financial services sector, and the cost of advertising for the businesses within it, it would be foolish to ignore the power of social media. Moreover, it’s a great deal costlier to bring new customers into the fold than it is to retain existing ones, and thus nurturing a following on social media is a great way to market yourself to current customers.
With that said, social media doesn’t offer a magic bullet. It has little influence on the start or finish of a particular customer’s journey toward a purchase, and thus it’s difficult to measure its effectiveness via first-click or last-click attribution models.
Multi-touch attribution naturally complements social media. Reporting can include the frequency with which social media platforms are used over the course of a customer’s journey, and thereby provide the richness of data required to ferry customers from initial curiosity to final purchase!