From customised content to tailored ads and offers, there’s a clear calling for personalisation within the financial services sector.
Accenture’s 2019 Global Financial Services Consumer Study found that one in two say they’d be happy to receive personalised financial advice from banks, like spending habit reports and advice on how to manage money. This type of guidance is likely to become even more valuable with the added pressures brought on by Covid-19.
And it’s clear that financial service brands are catching on. An Econsultancy survey found that, when asked which three digital areas are top priority for their organisation, 37% of financial service respondents chose ‘targeting and personalisation’.
But another study, by software company Pegasystems, concluded that 94% of banks haven’t quite figured out personalisation yet. So what’s the holdup?
Strike the right balance
Despite the growing consumer demand for personalised interactions, in a survey of more than 2,500 customers, Gartner found that more than half would unsubscribe from a company’s communications and 38% would stop doing business with a company if they found personalisation “creepy”.
Not everyone wants to feel as though they’re being monitored – particularly when it comes to their finances – and the price of getting it wrong is steep. Google also has guidelines around negative financial status in personalised advertising, so financial institutions should tread carefully.
Keep personalisation consistent
Paid media personalisation doesn’t seem to be the norm for any finance brands at the moment. But when brands do start to embrace personalisation in ad copy, consistency will be key to hitting KPIs.
When a customer clicks on a personalised paid ad, for example, they’d expect to then hit a personalised landing page. Without that, the initial promise of relevancy is met with something too generic.
But personalised content needs to be dynamically generated – something that Google can have issues with. For any personalised landing page that isn't behind a login, you need to decide what Google should see, and the answer is rarely straightforward. You don't want to risk a Google penalty by showing users content that’s radically different from the non-personalised version.
According to our head of paid media Lottie Namakando, well-executed personalisation should be an audience aid – to guide people through the complexity of the finance industry.
“Finances can be complicated, so consumers welcome expertise, often feeling as though finance brands understand their needs better than they do themselves. They’re likely to welcome hand-picked content, as it means they won’t need to trawl the internet for trust-worthy advice.
“But focus on the differing needs of existing customers and prospects with ad copy personalisation. Think about the way you’d treat a potential customer if they came to the bank for the first time – you’d wait for them to sign-up and share their information before giving personalised advice.
“So there’s an element of politeness which should sit alongside personalisation in finance, whereby people need to agree (beyond just accepting cookies) before brands can go ahead and get friendly. When approached sensitively – which is especially important in these uncertain times – personalisation will help finance brands set themselves apart from competitors; not just other banks, but fintech start-ups too.”
Personalisation projects need to be carefully considered and planned:
- Listen to your customers – conduct analysis on how they feel about different levels of personalisation. Do the potential benefits outweigh any concerns they have? Is there a cut-off point to their comfort?
- Test and learn – consider sorting audiences into new and existing customers, identifying small-scale test and learn opportunities that focus on audience signals that aren’t too niche. The non-specific nature of softer signals, like those related to recent interactions or broad interests, present good testbeds.
This is an excerpt from the iCrossing UK report Financial Services 2020 Digital Marketing Focuses which also features expert analysis of trends in regulation, personalisation, voice search and creative strategy and actionable digital marketing guidance.
Lottie Namakando, head of paid media at iCrossing UK