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James Burns

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Outstanding Copywriting Survey:

The Effectiveness of Digital Marketing For Financial Services  ​​

Digital marketing set to become the favoured medium for Canada’s financial services sector

  • SEM and SEO most effective for generating leads that convert
  • Facebook ads deliver best ROI
  • Twitter and digital display ads most disappointing channels

For our special report on the effectiveness of digital advertising for Canadian financial services, Outstanding Copywriting conducted a survey among marketers from all across Canada in the fields of banking, mortgages, insurance, wealth management/investments, accounting and financial consulting. 

According to those marketers, digital marketing has already become the second most important medium for delivering new customers when compared to TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, flyers, direct mail and OOH advertising. Most people surveyed expect it to become the number one medium within two years.

Digital’s place in the marketing mix

Although digital marketing has been voted the second most important medium among respondents, most marketers feel that their digital efforts are lacking.

Marketers are seeking bigger budgets for digital advertising and a large percentage have specific strategies in place that will move digital marketing to the number one position.

For those respondents who voted digital marketing as their number one marketing method, reasons included better tracking, more measurable results, guaranteed reach, consistent returns and unequalled A/B testing opportunities.

The survey looked into many aspects of digital marketing in the financial services industry, including most effective channels for quality leads and customer engagement, best ROI and the most effective social media. Here are some of the highlights: 

SEO and SEM most effective channels for delivering leads that convert

Participants in the survey were asked to rank the different digital channels in terms of effectiveness in delivering new customers.

Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing come in first and second, closely followed by Facebook advertising (in-feed ads and boosted posts).

However, there is a marked difference in effectiveness when it comes to client engagement, retention and up-selling. Content marketing is seen as extremely effective for these, as is email marketing and a solid social media presence.

Not all social media is created equal

When it comes to the most effective social media sites for client engagement and bringing in new business, Facebook leads the way, except with B2B companies, in which case LinkedIn is easily the most effective.

YouTube and Twitter are also considered effective marketing tools, but Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and Snapchat are almost universally viewed as of minor value in this sector.

Facebook ads deliver the best value

We asked participants which channel delivered the best ROI and 37.6% of respondents voted Facebook ads as their top choice.

SEM placed second, even though a large number of the smaller companies (such as Credit Unions) feel that paid search is too expensive for them to compete effectively against larger advertisers, for many key search terms.

Twitter is losing its edge

Over half of respondents consider Twitter to be the most disappointing of all digital channels they have used, with display ads coming in a close second.

Many respondents feel that Twitter has moved away from being a strong marketing medium to becoming more of a means of delivering customer service and receiving complaints. 

Content marketing growing in importance

When asked which digital marketing channel is likely to grow the most in importance over the next 12 months, the majority of respondents voted for content marketing. 

Although most marketers recognize content marketing as a key strategy, they also admit that they are not using it enough. Many have a strategy in place for 2017 to address this situation.

Most marketers feel that the way forward is to tell relevant and powerful stories, rather than continually going for the hard sell. Content marketing is considered a powerful medium for targeting new and current customers, for both B2B and B2C companies.

Video shared on YouTube is also considered to be one of the channels that will see a lot of growth in the near future.

Although many financial services marketers admit that their industry can be a little slow in catching up with emerging trends, it does seem that digital marketing’s time has arrived for this sector.

Most are determined to increase budgets and install strategies to make digital their most important marketing medium, if not now, then certainly in the very near future.

James Burns is the owner of Outstanding Copywriting and specializes in financial services copywriting. You can contact him at James@OutstandingCopywriting.com with any questions about the survey.