It’s a widely-known but rarely-spoken fact of the digital advertising industry that people, generally speaking, don’t click on ads. The banners, videos and pop-ups that appear so frequently on consumers’ connected devices fail to register thanks to years of irrelevance and lack of perceived value.
This is not to say that digital ads are worthless as an advertising medium — they absolutely can be effective, and many solutions have emerged to help marketers use data to better target consumers with more relevant ads in order to provide consumers with more value. However, these solutions have mostly been hampered by regulatory constraints in the financial industry.
Fortunately, thanks to advances in technology, financial marketers can now leverage consumer data in campaigns, but these marketers still have a long way to go to catch up and break through the noise created by years of the “spray and pray” advertising strategy. While financial marketers are late to the game, they have the benefit of hindsight to learn from digital advertising’s years of errors.
The following are three actions that financial marketers can take now to ensure their digital advertising is capturing consumers’ attention and driving real results.
1. Leverage Internal Data
eMarketer reported that 62% of marketers see creating a unified customer view as a top priority. This robust customer profile is essential to increasing the relevance of ads, which is key to driving interaction and conversions. It’s also impossible to build this profile without an internal data strategy.
While financial marketers can turn to the open market for third-party consumer data, you’ll find profiles that are riddled with errors and false assumptions. On the other hand, the wealth of first-party consumer data that financial institutions can access is unparalleled, and extremely effective at developing accurate views of target customers.
Directing ad campaigns at smaller, highly targeted audience segments using first-party data is not only more cost-effective but more likely to drive the outsized ROI that digital advertising has promised all along.
2. Establish Transparency
According to a Pew Research report, fully 91% of Americans believe they have lost control over their personal data on the internet. This is a startling number with dire implications for the digital advertising ecosystem. Mistrust leads to reduced interaction and returns.
It’s important to note, though, that consumers don’t reject the use of their personal data to deliver more relevant ads, it just needs to be in a transparent manner. Financial marketers should build on the large amounts of consumer trust that financial institutions have already accrued, and be straightforward as to how personal data will be leveraged.
Positioning personal data-driven targeting as a straightforward tactic that provides consumers with additional value will go a long way towards retaining trust and differentiating from “spray and pray” marketers.
3. Focus on Existing Customers
It’s a business rule of thumb that targeting an existing customer is more cost-effective than trying to acquire a new one, and the financial industry is no exception. By leveraging first-party data, financial marketers can focus on cross-selling existing customers with offers that they’re far more likely to be receptive to than consumers in general.
While broader campaigns are certainly appropriate for customer acquisition, financial marketers should seek to maximize returns from existing customers in order to minimize spend on excess ad inventory and avoid harming the brand image by saturating the market with digital campaigns.
Stand out from the Crowd
Consumer trust is like muscle — it’s the hardest to gain and the easiest to lose. Financial marketers have the distinct advantage of trust-by-association with financial institutions, but are also entering an extremely crowded digital marketplace.