How multi-touch attribution can guide financial institutions through a decade of digital transformation

With the existing players working to protect their territory, and new companies in full-on acquisition mode, it’s clear that any advantage that can be gained over the competition will be vital in staking a claim in the new finance landscape. As ever, effective measurement will hold the key here, not just because it is typically able to unlock an additional 30% of a marketing budget by eliminating wasted spend, but because of the strategic advantages it offers those who use it. Here, we’re going to look at some of the biggest challenges and opportunities faced by financial services marketers today, and how multi-touch attribution can help make the most of them.

Price comparison sites

Digital marketing can be expensive in any sector, but perhaps none more so than in finance. There are a few key outlets through which financial services firms advertise, and the prospect of high-value conversions means competitiveness here doesn’t come cheap. One of these such places is the price comparison website.

Understandably, the savvy modern consumer doesn’t want to feel as though they’ve overpaid for a policy, loan, or mortgage. As a result, price comparison site usage has rocketed, with comfortably over 50% of financial consumers using them when purchasing. This is because they play a significant role in such a high proportion of all customer journeys, financial services firms can’t really afford to miss out on advertising here. That’s not to say that this is a negative, as they do yield results and drive significant profits. However, this is a tapped market; any future growth in this area is likely dependent on changes to the comparison sites themselves, placing them out of control of the digital marketing teams. The future market leaders will be those who are able to hold their position on price comparison sites while simultaneously optimizing elsewhere to push growth.

By optimizing other channels like PPC and social media in conjunction with effective comparison site usage, businesses can avoid becoming over-reliant on one outlet, compensate for the cost burden presented by comparison sites while also encouraging increased traffic through less expensive routes. This of course, is difficult using the tools currently adopted by most marketing teams, and it’s here where multi-touch attribution comes in. Channel optimization is hugely difficult without sufficient clarify.

Most businesses still only have limited information, largely relying on gut instinct and loose predictions to bridge the gap. Fospha enables clients to make 1:1 correlations between action and revenue, lifting the curtain on digital marketing effectiveness, and opening up potential for maximum optimization. With all of this in mind, an effective marketing measurement solution is going to be of real importance to financial players wanting to get ahead of the extensive competition.

Paid search

Of the alternative routes to market available to financial services companies, paid search marketing is the most obvious. However, this comes with its own set of problems. Biddible media is expensive enough as it is, but the level of competition in this space drives the cost even higher.

It’s no secret that Google’s most profitable revenue driver is that of marketers making micro payments of pennies and pounds for keywords. The average cost of a CPC is just $2 across all industries, this alone adds up at scale. But once you get into the most popular searches, the costs per click can increase over twenty-five-fold. To paint a picture, ‘Asset Management’, ‘Insurance’, ‘Cash Services’ and ‘Payday Loans’ all now sit within the top 10 most expensive keywords, all just short of the $50 per click mark. Granted, in much the same way that comparison site spend is largely unavoidable in order to drive revenue, a hefty keyword spend is similarly inevitable for those in the sector. Those who want to stay ahead of the game need to effectively compensate for this.

Instead of blindly throwing money at the most obvious keywords, the smart marketer needs to be thinking of how they can optimize their other keywords so to reduce the cost of customer acquisition, whilst maintaining click and conversion rates. To do this, they need a clear understanding of keyword performance.

Fospha’s Markov Chain algorithms enable marketers to understand the true percentage contribution of each touchpoint in a customer journey, providing granular analysis at keyword level. On top of this, our action-focused tool suite instantly identifies your business’ best and worst performing keywords, allowing you to pull spend from the low-return areas and redistribute it to high-potential ones. Bid management platforms can also lend a significant helping hand here. Paid search optimization tools like Kenshoo use AI to automate your keyword bidding efforts, able to react to market changes much faster, freeing up valuable time for your marketing team.

Paid social

Moving past search engine advertising, some of the more established players are now turning to paid social in an effort to increase their customer retention. The advantages of paid social advertising are clear – it is a less intent-based channel than Google or Bing, so will not drive as many last-click conversions, but the role that it can play in cultivating a positive image of your company and building brand affinity is invaluable.

In a world where competition is incredibly fierce for financial services customers – and where it is far more expensive to re-acquire customers than to keep them on board – paid social advertising can offer a clever new route to market. The issue here however is that social media platforms typically take a more nurturing role when it comes to the customer journey. Social media’s lack of any real influence at the beginning and end of a path to purchase means that when it comes to measurement, both first and last-click models are effectively obsolete.

In order to really understand the tangible role that paid social plays a data-driven multi-touch attribution solution is essential. Fospha’s solution incorporates paid social performance into it’s reporting, thereby giving clients real insights on which to make informed decisions about strategy and spend. We’re able to hone in on specific channels and take key learnings from each so as to maximize optimization efforts. Take a look at one of our paid social case studies here: https://fospha.com/resources/blog/case-study-paid-social-2/

The other advantage of social media platforms is that they are all still emerging channels. When dealing with biddable media the level of competition is incredibly important, and platforms like Facebook and Instagram still don’t have this level of competition to the extent that Google does, especially within financial services. Add to this the emergence of new channels, such as Pinterest, and you have a real opportunity for financial services marketers.

Some brands have moved quickly on this, for example Allianz sees very positive engagement rates on its Pinterest accounts, due to the fact that they’ve realized its potential and therefore devote appropriate time to optimizing their presence there. Others have not been so quick, but will surely follow. And when they do, they will need to test and learn to build out a good strategy – which will require accurate measurement tools. Much in the same way that Fospha’s data-driven solution gives clients a window into keyword effectiveness, our platform delivers actionable insights into paid social performance, meaning that marketers are no longer having to go in blind and waste resources as a result.

The future

To finish, the next few years are going to be very formative in the world of digital finance. The changing landscape of customer acquisition – from managing the rise of new channels such as price comparison sites to adapting and engaging with new forms of social media – presents a unique challenge to marketing teams. The battle to acquire today’s demanding and engaged consumers is only going to intensify, and with any spend advantage over competitors vital to success, multi-channel optimization is going to be a key factor here. For most businesses, there remains a huge disparity between the quality of data they hold and the quality of data needed to create sufficient actionable performance insights. Those who come out on top will be those who close this gap fastest. As more businesses begin to understand the potential of multi-touch attribution, those who fail to harness it will risk falling behind.

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