Optimizing Financial Websites to Drive Applications and Self-Service Across All Traffic Channels

  • Mark Ryan
  • April 05, 2017

Financial websites need to focus simultaneously on (1) efficient traffic acquisition and (2) scalable onsite conversions (i.e. loan applications, self service). A site that is good in one area but not the other will be inefficient at generating business value or customer satisfaction. In our extensive industry research over the previous ten years we have found that visitors from various traffic channels behave in different ways. The best financial websites understand these different behaviors and cater user experiences for each.

Digital Marketing and User Behaviors

We analyzed engagement levels of website visitors to bank and credit union websites. In this analysis we looked at over 20 million consumer or commercial visitors as well as their respective engagement levels such as visit duration, number of pages viewed, scrolling, and repeat visits. This study included data on both prospective and existing customers.

Some of the findings include:

  • Visitors from Referring URLs have the highest levels of engagement
  • Visitors from Paid traffic channels spend significantly less time in their visits and are much less likely to come back for repeat visits
  • Visitors from Organic Search are viewing an average of 2.7 pages per visit which is higher than any other channel.
  • Visitors that typed in the URL or clicked on a bookmark (Direct) tended to be customers looking to login and had relatively low engagement levels across all variables.

Why this is important?

Engagement correlates with conversion. Research shows that visitors who view a high number of product pages, who use tools such as search and calculators, and return for multiple visits will typically convert at much higher ratios than visitors that are significantly less engaged.

Using Insights and Getting Results

High performing financial websites have a digital strategy which runs optimization for multiple traffic channels simultaneously (i.e. Paid, Organic Search, Social, eMail, Referrers). It’s clear from the data that the browsing and buying behaviors of visitors differ between traffic channels.

Today most digital marketers optimize websites for visitors from Paid campaigns with targeted landing pages that look to convert visitors as quickly as possible. The fact that these Paid visitors do not convert at similar ratios to other traffic channels is often compensated for by increasing Paid advertising spend. To gain better results digital marketers can optimize landing pages and websites to drive engagement levels. This does not need to replace the user experience strategies focusing on fast conversions. Targeted landing pages could both provide clear paths to applications while simultaneously driving visitors engagement with user friendly tools for gaining financial insights, personalized content and imagery based on user behaviors, clear rotating content, and the integration of offline with online.

Financial marketers that implement strategies to drive engagement have higher conversion rates on financial websites. With the sites converting efficiently, marketers are able to create scalable traffic acquisition simultaneously across Paid, Organic Search, Referring, and other traffic channels.

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