Online Banking's Looming Measurement Crisis

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According to research done by Aite Group, generating sales is the most important business goal for banks’ online banking efforts. And an overwhelming majority of banks say that ROI is a critical measure for determining which features and functions they roll out on their sites. But nearly three-quarters of banks say that they can’t establish a correlation between profitability or performance and the introduction of many online services and tools.

Not sure what this tells you, but it tells me that online banking execs have a measurement problem. A problem that I think is only going to get worse over the next few years. Why?

1. The online channel is taking credit for sales influenced by other channels. There’s a big difference between “generating a sale” and “taking the order.” When I’ve mentioned that to online financial services marketers, the heads generally nod, but few firms seem to change measurement techniques or approaches to determine the difference.

2. Direct marketers are adopting net measurement techniques. Database marketers are increasingly trying to measure the incremental ROI of direct marketing investments.

3. Financial services marketers want to be integrated marketers. Research conducted last year by Epsilon found that more than 80% of financial services surveyed said that they have made a strategic decision to integrate their marketing efforts across channels.

What this adds up to is increased scrutiny of the sales performance of the online channel. As campaigns are increasingly executed centrally (to coordinate various channels) and the incremental performance of each channel is measured, then where the order is taken will become less important than which channel had the greatest influence on generating the sale.

Personally, I don’t think a lot of online banking groups are up to this measurement challenge. Sorry if this offends any Web analytics groups out there, but I find that many of them are focused solely on online data, and/or don’t have the statistical and testing skills needed to execute the kind of analysis that’s required here.

For some more thoughts on what online banking execs should do about this, and for some survey data on the priorities and performance criteria of online banking groups, please check out this research note on the Aite Group site.

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