Social Engine Marketing presents opportunities for marketers to target high potential consumers.

American online financial product and service “shoppers” are younger and wealthier than ever; 58% aged 35 or older with annual incomes of $50,000 or more (64%), Harris Interactive.

This target audience averages between 32-48% online activity for products ranging from home equity loans to credit cards.

The study was based on a nationwide, online research and interviews carried out by iCrossing & Harris Interactive.

Based on current trends, researchers have concluded that financial markets have the opportunity to engage and convert a highly attractive demographic and socioeconomic profile group through the use of search marketing.

Research results indicate that marketers should continue to purchase keywords/terms that relate closely to branded terms, specific benefits and features they offer.iCrossing found that searchers (consumers) still don’t know the difference between paid and natural search.The study goes on to say:

Marketers should pay close attention to product-specific behaviors. Among those searching for a credit card, and who indicated they are familiar with the difference between sponsored and natural search results listings were more likely than those unfamiliar with the difference to search by benefits or features (51% versus 29%, respectively)

Meanwhile, this trend is in contrast to consumers who search far brokerage or mortgage offerings; with general category-related terms being searched for more so than benefits or features.

Brand Sensitivity

Brands need to recognize the difference in consumer search behavior, specifically to their products, as financial searchers’ habits demonstrated considerable variation. Those searching for checking and savings accounts, are likely to always search by brand name, while those searching for credit cards, home equity loans, mortgages and brokerage accounts, searched by category or type of product or service.

Women searching for credit cards (45%) and savings accounts (46%) are far likelier than men (36% and 31%, respectively) to search by brand name. With other financial products and services, the divergence between men and women always/usually searching by brand and category/type was minimal.

The Opportunity to Cross-Sell

A key finding from the study was the substantial cross-selling opportunities that exist within the population of financial searchers.Overall, 72% of online adults said they are interested in learning more about financial products.The study went on to list out search patterns which marketers should pay attention to, such as; “searches for savings accounts correlated with interest in retirement accounts (42%), insurance (41%), credit cards (35%) and online trading accounts (33%).”

The iCrossing writer summarized Harris Interactive findings by saying: “If anything resembling a pattern can be seen emerging from the survey data, it’s that consumers search using a broad array of terms, both branded and category-specific. Marketers at financial product and services firms need to plan accordingly.”

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