By Joan Clark
Clicks have long been the center of the digital marketing world. They have given evidence of customer interest and helped determine the success of campaigns. For many bank marketers, it used to be that if your audience was clicking your ads, you’d be clicking your heels.
But the reality today is that clicks simply aren’t enough.
That’s because clicks only tell part of the story. Unlike in years past, clicks today don’t instill the confidence they used to deliver nor do they provide enough information to truly measure the effectiveness of digital marketing efforts.
How did clicks fall from grace?
Click-through rate or CTR was a useful gauge for consumer interest 20 or even 10 years ago. But that’s because it was the only quantifiable measurement of digital marketing efforts in a time when online and mobile banking were evolving from concept to reality. There was no access to the sophisticated, analytics tools that are now available for financial marketers.
Additionally, consumers weren’t nearly as discerning about their purchases. Today’s consumers seek out information and spend much more time researching before buying or opening accounts. We can blame this on the vast amount of data, choices and channels available to them over the internet. It’s transformed what was once a simple, straightforward path to purchase into a complex, multi-point consumer journey, and clicks alone simply can’t keep track of it.
Do clicks in financial marketing differ from other industries?
Of course, all clicks are not created equal. Industry differences make it too challenging to achieve similar CTRs across industries.
In finance, for example, sales cycles are significantly longer than those of the retail industry. The purchase life cycle of a retail product—say, a pair of shoes or a new tablet—is typically short and, as a result, retail digital marketing and retargeting efforts experience higher success rates. Opening a checking account, on the hand, is often a more involved process.
In the retail context, even if an online shopper doesn’t give in to an impulse buy, effective retargeting campaigns remind them of the items they placed in their shopping cart. This helps compel them to reconsider and complete their purchase in a relatively short timeframe (hours or days). That isn’t always the case with banking products or services.
Thus, the correlation between clicks and conversion differs from industry to industry. In retail, a consumer clicking an ad (retargeting or other) is a likely indicator of an impending purchase. In contrast, bank customers may click an ad and may not take the desired action for weeks or months or even on the same channel.
What campaign strategy should financial marketers take with consumers?
Since the banking industry is so different, digital marketing campaigns that target banking customers need to focus on education and product awareness. These campaigns must be delivered consistently over time, nurturing the connection between the bank and the customer until they are ready to open an account.
Consumers may be unaware or misinformed about the financial products available to them, so bank marketers must make them feel confident and comfortable with their financial choice. Also, recall that financial product conversions (like opening a mortgage) have a long purchasing life cycle. These product conversions often involve multiple account holders and require a significant amount of documentation, meaning impulse opens or signups are rare.
How consumers research and purchase banking products is also complex. Research shows that more than half of financial consumers start their journey either online or using a mobile device, and most of them end up finishing the process in a branch. As a result, measuring the success of digital marketing efforts can be complicated and rely on data from your core—not a simple click.
Using core data to accurately measure campaign success.
Because of this complexity, digital marketing for financial institutions has evolved. From better understanding customers’ financial needs to more effectively delivering personalized customer interactions, data can inform all consumer touchpoints across the multitude of digital, traditional and assisted bank channels.
With these data-driven marketing efforts, you can more efficiently engage with your customers. But measuring with click metrics alone is simply too narrow in scope and does not provide accurate success metrics for the full marketing lifecycle.
However, by looking at core data and data about ads previously served to customers, you can develop a more accurate picture of campaign success.
You can combine your bank’s core data with the capabilities of modern digital marketing platforms to follow the entire customer journey. As the visual below depicts, this includes:
- Identifying who your customers are online
- Tracking the ad served to those customers
- Determining whether those customers opened a product
This is the holy grail of gauging digital campaign performance: tracking marketing efforts from the first impression through to product opening without the fear of jeopardizing your customer’s privacy. And it should be at the center of performance reporting.
Do clicks still serve a purpose?
By using data that is readily available within the bank, you can easily serve relevant ads and track goal achievement to those ads. This raises the question—do clicks still have a role in campaign performance measurement? Of course!
Fundamentally, clicks provide a way to measure customer engagement with product offers at a lower level. They provide a glimpse into the effectiveness of specific marketing assets or creatives, such as the image, copy or call to action. Instead of thinking of clicks as the sole indicator of campaign success, use clicks as an additional measurement tool and indicator for refreshing and optimizing assets.
Consider the following simple rules when measuring and monitoring CTR:
- Measure clicks at the ad level, not the campaign level. Why? Because customers are not clicking on the campaign—they are clicking on the ads. Every component of the customer’s experience influences their decision to click—the ad format, the image, the offer, the call to action, the placement and other content on the page. Compare the CTR of different ads and adjust one component at a time to discover the best combination.
- Monitor the pattern of clicks over time. Use these trends to identify when the ad creative or ad location needs a refresh. If a good CTR has never been attained, make edits and measure accordingly. If the CTR has decreased over time, consider updating the ad creative or another ad component, as the customer experience may have become stale. A refresh may re-capture their attention and renew interest.
Although clicks provide a valuable data point for campaign optimization, they should not be used as a single method for overall performance measurement. Instead, use click metrics to identify whether ads are engaging and intriguing enough to get customers to seek more information.
Further, look beyond clicks. Today, with more customers using online banking, the core data available within the bank and advanced digital marketing tools available on the market, marketers have what’s needed to significantly improve and properly measure digital product campaigns.
Joan Clark is VP, Product Management for Segmint, Inc., a provider of data-driven marketing technology that securely activates enterprise data to intelligently deliver personalized engagements measured across all channels. Click here to learn more about its data analytics and marketing product offering for financial institutions.