How to guide consumers through the sales process
Deciding to open a checking or savings account is anything but a top impulse buy. In fact, research from Yahoo! Insights and Hall & Partners shows, most consumers on average will spend a month or more deciding on where they will put their hard-earned dollars. So how can financial services advertisers keep consumers' interest throughout the process?
Yahoo!'s study, "The Long and Winding Road: The Gamesmanship of Shopping," offers insight into how consumers research, compare and eventually make purchases for all sorts of products and services. In this post, the first in a series around financial services, we'll explore how consumers make the decision to open a checking or savings account, and offer tips on how financial services advertisers can attract and entice those consumers through the purchase funnel.
How consumers research checking and savings accounts
As the graph below shows, the majority of people surveyed said that they spend a significant amount of time researching before making a decision to commit to a savings or checking account, with 43% saying that they took two months or more to make a decisions, 26% saying they took a month, and 24% saying they took about a week.
While many respondents said that they shopped for a specific brand when making a decision (61%), a significant portion said they were either neutral on brand (20%) or completely open to any brand (19%). Considering the long shopping process, this suggests that financial services advertisers have a good chance to influence even those shopping for a specific brand. In fact, the survey shows that 49% begin narrowing down their choices while in the initial research phase.
Researching for financial services starts online
While initial awareness of a financial services brand often comes from offline advertising—billboards, local branches, print ads and so forth—consumers usually begin their research online. According to the study, 42% of respondents said that they began their research through online channels only, while 20% said that they used both online and in-person research (going into a local branch of a financial institution).
What's more, the Web has fundamentally changed the way people shop for financial services: 73% of respondents said that because of the Web they were aware of more brands, 68% said that the Web made it easier to figure out which brands they would consider, and 45% said they feel "more connected" to the brands that they prefer.
Through the funnel, people turn to various touch points when considering enrolling in a savings or checking account. These include:
- Offline advertising
- Online advertising
- Word-of-mouth from friends and relatives
- Financial websites
- Print materials from financial institutions
- Speaking with a financial institution representative
The survey shows that advertising (both online and off) in the awareness and research phases made 39% of respondents more likely to enroll for a checking or savings account.
Let's make a deal
So what are consumers looking for when making a final decision to enroll for a checking or savings account? Just short of a third of respondents (29%) said that finding a great deal or offer was the key to their conversion. Second, 25% said their decision was influenced by a recommendation from someone whom they trust.
For financial services advertisers, the Yahoo! Insights team offers three tips:
- Take advantage of the long (one- to two-month) research process to reach consumers, keep your brand at the top of your targets' minds, and be part of the their consideration set.
- Develop online advertising that captures consumers early in the research process and builds a strong bond between them and your brand.
- Explore campaigns that have a cohesive experience between online and offline channels—and make consumers offers they can't refuse.
Stay tuned for more research from "The Gamesmanship of Shopping" study around financial services. And to find out more about how your brand can benefit from Yahoo! Insights research, contact a Yahoo! representative.
— Michael Mattis