This week we hosted the latest of our Digital Future events, this time turning our attention to the topic of digital for the finance sector. Guest speakers Neil Probert, Global Strategic Account Director from Quantcast, Vicent Potier, COO and Xi Weng, Client Strategy Director from Captify, and Panesh Makwana,Platforms Sales Manager at DoubleClick from Google, joined Jonathan, Charlotte, Tiffany, Darren and myself, to examine the latest trends and look at what brands need to do to grow their business online as part of our workshop Maximising Media Performance in the Finance Sector.
In a packed room in our London offices, financial services brands gathered to learn about the latest innovations and trends.
I kicked things off by giving an update on the finance sector, which is the second biggest spender online, accounting for 13.4% of total adspend, according to the latest figures from the IAB. What’s more, the Adobe and Econsultancy 2016 Digital Trends in Financial Services report found that 56% of respondents are planning on increasing investment in digital marketing over the next year.
Already significant, spending on digital marketing in the Financial Services sector is set to grow. This intent to invest is reflected in the findings of our own recent whitepaper Is SEO Dead for Financial Services?, which underlined just how fierce the competition is among brands in the sector. The need for FS brands to have a considered and coherent strategy for their online activity has never been greater.
While the tools and the technology to plan, analyse, target and measure, are becoming ever more sophisticated, one thing remains unchanged: the need to reach the right people, at the right time, with the right message. It doesn’t matter how appealing your creative is, or how much spend you put behind it, if it is being shown to an audience who is not interested in what you are selling or being served to them at the wrong time. Accuracy and insight must inform the targeting of your audience; it just won’t work if you are approaching them when they don’t have the time or inclination to engage.
No two searches are the same; they are as unique as the two individuals making them. Charlotte gave a classic example that neatly illustrates this point: two British men, the same age, both wealthy, both like sports cars and dogs, and both enjoy holidaying in the Alps. At a glance these men seem very similar, and prime candidates for the same campaign. But one is Prince Charles and the other Ozzy Osborne. It is important to recognise that individuals – who, on paper can appear alike – are likely to be as different as the Prince of Darkness and the future HRH.
In the first of our three guest presentations, Neil illustrated the speed, efficiency and scalability that have been made possible by machine-led optimisation. Using the right algorithms, it’s now possible to evaluate and refine campaigns in real time to improve results. Historically, targeting was focussed on in-market customers; those who were actively looking to make a purchase. Programmatic targeting now means the opportunity is moving up the funnel to fuel brand awareness and customer interest, driving more customers down the funnel to purchase when the time is right for them.
Bank loans and dog biscuits are not, on the surface, typical bedfellows. But customers have numerous interests (unrelated to their products) and brands must map strategies and targeting against these. This was the point that Vincent and Xi made in their presentation. By better understanding your target audience’s interests, you are able to approach them further up the funnel, critically before your competitors do. Using search intelligence you can find out and understand both the intent and interest of those you are trying to reach.
In our final presentation, Panesh talked us through Google’s DoubleClick; twenty years in the making, Google believes it has created a unified platform that will lead to increased efficiencies and better performance for sectors like Financial Services. What’s more, new partnerships with TV networks will enable innovative features such as dynamic ad insertion to serve custom ads to individuals on whatever device they choose to watch a broadcast, tailoring the experience for consumers and improving targeting capabilities for brands looking to reach them.
The equimedia theme of connected data and technology being utilised by human insight to improve marketing performance was echoed by our speakers. We are already working with all three companies, using their unique technology to deliver additional audiences for some of our Financial Services clients in the UK and the US.
What was made clear from our event is that the digital landscape is changing at a rapid pace and the financial services sector is at the forefront of innovation. A few years back discussions would have centred solely on how brands can optimise their online experience and advertising for the growth of mobile usage. While this is still an ongoing area of importance for any brand, our discussions are moving towards exciting technological developments for the future – from using WhatsApp to process insurance claims, to the use of selfies for payments.
For more information about the event, the latest trends and how we can help grow your brand please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.