Marketing channel optimisation in financial services: How to get started

By Sam Carter | 5 September 2017

Claiming to be digital-first is universally challenging, particularly in financial services where only 9% claim to be, compared with 11% across all other sectors. One of the biggest barriers to this is that companies are unable to obtain a holistic view of their customers, meaning they are unable to visualise and analyse the costs associated with acquiring and retaining them.

Therefore, Financial Services (FS) need a platform which integrates these data sources, allowing them to gain a granular single customer view by leveraging their end-to-end customer data. The prevalent platform for this is the Customer Data Platform (CDP).

This fundamental foundation not only enables marketers to make accurately informed decisions, but also paves the way for data-driven attribution – whereby marketers can accurately assign value across every step in the journey and begin to adjust spend accordingly, to increase ROI.

This article will look at how financial services can unlock their data’s potential and optimise their marketing channel performance.

The key step is unlocking customer data...

Financial services businesses are very data rich, due to the sheer number of customers and the transactions processed on a daily basis. According to EY, 83% of financial services executives claimed that data is their firm’s most strategic asset. Yet much of this data is still held in unorganised, out-dated data management systems, commonly referred to as data silos. 

Image 1: A typical example of data silos stored predominantly within Google Analytics.

When data is stored in silos, companies tend to struggle with utilising it and often misinterpret it. As Image 1 illustrates, this often leads to FS companies tracking visits rather than visitors. As a result, you lack a unified view of your customers and their customer journey – and you are unable to understand how your customers interact with your various marketing channels and campaigns.

This lack of visibility is a real barrier to a business’ progress in today’s digital world as without this, marketers are unable to understand the impact that one channel has on another - and therefore cannot make data-driven decisions regarding marketing channel spend.

Attributing value

A data-driven attribution model is defined as "the process of accurately assigning value to each digital marketing touchpoint across the complete user journey, providing a great understanding of what combination of events drove conversions" (Fospha, 2017). 

Image 2: Integrated data sources illustrate all steps in a complete single customer journey with attributed costs and revenue.

As Image 2 shows, a Customer Data Platform helps you stitch your cost and revenue data into your visitor’s digital journey. Then, by adopting a data-driven attribution model, you can see any inefficient and underused channels and the attributed costs and redistribute spend to help you accelerate growth.

Outbid the competition

One of the first places potential customers will come into contact with your business is Google. With the search engine processing around 40,000 searches every second, demand is at an all-time high and costs are rising, especially for financial services. For instance, the average CPC on Google is now $3.72 in the FS industry, but only $0.88 in the e-commerce industry.

Whilst businesses can’t afford to dismiss Google as a marketing channel, the rising costs can be devastating to companies operating in an industry where the cost of customer acquisition and retention is already higher than average.

Therefore, it is incredibly important to ensure your marketing budget is being spent wisely. With integrated data as the foundation to your attribution model, you are able to accurately attribute value to individual keywords. This will enable you to identify both the keywords that are leading to conversions and are worth the continued investment, along with those that are simply draining your budget. With these insights, you can save on PPC spend by redistributing your budget to drive conversions, without lowering leads.

Optimisation at scale can be achieved by integrating with a Bid Management Platform such as Kenshoo, which will save your team time by automatically adjusting your marketing PPC spend, for increased company growth and ROI.

Harness social media

In the last few years, the use of social media as a marketing channel has seen a huge increase, with the average conversion rate of a Facebook ad being 9.09%. You can see why it is no longer a ‘nice to have’ channel but a necessity for businesses wishing to excel. As a platform, it provides an opportunity to get your message out to a huge audience and increase brand awareness, benefiting both large and small businesses. Marin found that using social media channels alongside conventional search channels such as Google have the highest impact. This is because users who click on a search and social ad are twice more likely to convert than those who only click on one of the two.

Although social media offers companies a lot of opportunities, it is also hard to get right. As a highly congested channel, content is constantly being shown to customers, so in order to succeed you need to know which audiences to target, and what to target them with to encourage a conversion.

The answer to this lies in harnessing your data to intelligently cluster customers according to specific behaviours or intent, and then replicating this cluster throughout your social channels. For example in Facebook, pushing these clusters onto the platform will allow you to capture both known targets and new lookalike audiences.

With a deeper insight into your customers, the types of content they will engage with, their interests and their buying behaviour, you are much better equipped to create personalised ads to add real value to their overall experience, nurturing them through the purchasing cycle. Without this, businesses risk wasting spend capturing the attention of the wrong customers on a platform that has over 1.3 billion people logging in daily. And just like your PPC campaigns, a CDP with a data-driven attribution model will identify ads that are not contributing to any conversions helping you refine your marketing campaigns.

In an industry that is long established with practices often referred to as outdated, these are just a few examples of how focusing on integrating, understanding and acting upon your customer data can help marketers keep up with emerging digital trends.

For more information on how to get started with a CDP and make the most of your data and drive ROI contact Fospha.

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