Digital marketing for clients in the finance industry often involves long turnaround times for copy approval, heavy regulations on what you can and can’t say in a web setting, and multi-step lead cycles for measuring return. However, clients in this realm can see great value from online efforts when they are done well.
Even when you have a solid plan to build a finance brand’s revenue online, you need to know how to report on the work you’ve done to prove success. Clients in every niche can love their data, but no one relates to numbers quite like clients in the finance world.
Clients in financial niches may include financial advisors, certified public accountants, mortgage brokers, insurance companies, and banks. While each of these may differ in end marketing goals, we’ll touch on a few crucial report elements that relate to anyone in the financial services realm.
As with any client, it makes sense to start your report by showing KPIs (key performance indicators) representing top-level website metrics. That way, an executive who quickly glances at the top of a report can get a snapshot of overall results.
In this example, we’ve picked four key Google Analytics metrics that correlate with traffic, engagement, and leads.
- New Users represent potential new customers who are visiting for the first time. Note this data can be skewed somewhat by a visit from a new device, different IP address or a cleared browser cache.
- Sessions represent the total of both new potentials, returning visitors and existing customers engaging with the site.
- Avg. Session Duration represents how long people spend browsing financial services offered or reading blog posts with money management advice.
- Completions (which we’ll touch on in more detail next) represent leads from users who took a step beyond just browsing the site.
Make sure to include comparisons vs. previous timeframes if you can access that data. Showing performance vs. both the immediate previous period (e.g., last month, last quarter) and the same time a year ago provides a fuller picture of growth over time. For instance, a personal accountant may see less activity in December, when people are busy with holiday events, but start to see more activity in January, when people begin thinking about tax season.
Tracking Lead Generation Goals
First, you should determine what goals that can be tracked through the website are key to your client’s business. This requires an understanding of your client’s end goals. This metric may include an action like setting up an insurance account, investing in a stock portfolio, or brokering a mortgage.
A financial business likely isn’t going to be able to track an immediate “sale” through a website. You’ll instead want to focus on conversions that correlate to steps in the sales process.
The most immediately trackable conversion will likely be a form submission or phone call, which could correlate with a consultation and an eventual account setup. In addition, a site may offer the option to sign up for a newsletter with investing advice or household budgeting tips. While this may not contribute directly to an immediate lead, the growth of a database associated with future contacts is an important metric to monitor.
Next, determine how you can focus your report around showing those goals. Of course, before building a report, you’ll need to ensure that you’re tracking the right actions in Google Analytics as they relate to business goals.
Ideally, your client will be tracking multiple points of conversion that relate to different stages of the purchase funnel, such as subscribing to an email or scheduling an appointment. In this example, an insurance company shows results for multiple conversion options, including completion of a search for an agent, as well as submission of landing pages for home or auto insurance.
Measuring Channel Performance
Next, you should highlight how people found the site. Did a potential customer conduct a search for “financial advisor near me”? Or did they ask for bank recommendations on Facebook and click a link shared by a friend?
Showing traffic by channel will help to highlight the key ways people are finding the brand, as well as pinpointing areas of opportunity. As with any data included in a report, make sure to provide observations that can flow into forward thinking recommendations.
In this example, we see Direct traffic topping the list for a bank’s website visits (likely a result of existing customers accessing the site). Organic traffic ranks as the second highest volume driver of traffic, indicating a combination of people searching for the brand and searching for local banks in general. While low paid search and display volume are likely reflective of low spend, we also note that social traffic barely registers on the list.
While social media can be a tricky area for the financial services realm, due to stringent regulations on what they can say, potential customers are spending their time on social channels. Search is certainly crucial for capturing people directly looking for services, but social media provides the value of keeping a brand in front of people as they interact with their friends and associates. With this data, we’d likely recommend testing heavier social media initiatives geared toward brand visibility and engagement.
Showing Referral Traffic
If a financial client has listings on sites where people rate insurance companies, banks, or other services, those listings can potentially lead to website visits and conversions. Showing referral traffic in reports allows you to measure how well these sites may be contributing to website results.
For instance, in the below example, this client was mentioned on nerdwallet.com, a site that reviews companies across the financial services industry. By showing referrals, we can demonstrate that Nerdwallet is a top source not only for traffic but also for conversions.
The contributions of these referrals may support an investment of time into reviewing the content on profile sites, or encourage a more active effort to secure interviews, reviews or contributed content.
Showing Geographic Performance
Whether your client is a local financial planner looking for business from nearby communities or a national insurance agency looking to establish a foothold in new states, geographic data can show how each region is contributing to traffic and conversions.
In this example, an insurance company currently only active in New York is evaluating other states in which to consider offering services. Massachusetts and Florida top the list for new users outside New York, possibly placing those in consideration as new test markets.
Of course, you should scale the level of data you look at based on your client’s geographic footprint. For a local bank serving a few towns within close proximity, you can show city-level data instead of national.
Client retention can be an important aspect of any business, but many businesses in the financial vertical depend heavily on retention. While we frequently view engagement metrics like time on site or pages viewed to determine how engrossing a site’s content may be to potential new customers, other sections of a site that pertain more to current clients can be extremely telling as well. Measuring visits to a bill pay page or time spent in a section of a site with offers for existing clients can help indicate user response to online services.
Another telling feature within analytics is the site search feature, Make sure site search is enabled, as monitoring the phrases that appear there can help identify what content users are struggling to find. The nature of the searches may also provide insight into the likely status of the user. A search for “update my account” is most likely an existing client while a search for “reviews” or “testimonials” might indicate an active shopper.
We’ve covered several metrics that you can include in reports for the financial industry to help show results and drive new strategy. Of course, the key to success with a financial services client (as with any client) is fully understanding their business and customizing a report to touch on the metrics that matter to them. Ultimately, you should connect as much data as possible to proving the potential value driven by online efforts.
Track leads to show total conversions and conversion rates. Measure channel performance to highlight which online avenues drive the highest volume of potential new customers and which show the most opportunity for growth. Look at geography to call out where your client’s seeing regional success and where they need more help. Always keep an eye on engagement as it pertains to both new customers and existing clients. The finance industry is both dynamic and highly regulated, but the KPIs that show success and potential are there to be mined for discovery.