Actionable Insights From APT's Retail Practice

Your Customers Do Not Stick to One Channel, and Neither Should Your Analytics

September 18th, 2017 | Posted by APT in Financial Services

By 2025, traditional financial institutions (FIs) could see profits decline 20-60% if they fail to evolve digitally. This is not news to banks; most are already aware that they need to grow their digital offerings to keep up with consumer demand, and many are responding by investing more resources in mobile apps and online platforms.

The driving force behind this digital evolution is growing customer acquisition and engagement across channels, and as banks shift the way they interact with customers, they need to change the way they assess their marketing initiatives. Many FIs are stuck measuring their digital campaigns within the same channel they execute them, relying on click-through rates and conversions to evaluate program success. This approach is helpful when making tactical changes to execution, such as ad placement and content, but is problematic when organizations rely on it to answer broader strategic questions that inform budget allocation.

There are many touchpoints across channels in typical customer journeys: website interactions, inbound and outbound calls, mobile app activity, digital ad exposure, paid search, social media interactions and more. With cross-channel customer behavior the new norm, tracking purely online performance provides an incomplete picture of true campaign effectiveness. In order to understand the incremental impact of campaigns across channels, and identify the types of campaigns that are most effective with different customer segments, firms need the ability to evaluate these metrics with an omnichannel lens.

Consider a scenario in which a customer is exposed to a banner ad for a checking account signup promotion. She may not immediately sign up, but first research the promotion on a third-party website and compare it to other offers. From there, a week might go by before the customer goes to sign up for the account at a physical branch. Customer journeys like this, far from being as straightforward as seeing an ad and clicking to sign up for the product, are more common now than even before.

The best way to measure the omnichannel impact of different campaigns is to take a test vs. control approach that incorporates data from across all channels, enabling FIs to unlock insights at the customer-level to inform and optimize future outreach. This approach involves comparing the performance across channels of customers that receive a digital campaign to those that do not.

Expanding on the above example, executives may want to determine the impact of the banner ads on new checking account generation from existing credit card customers. In order to directly attribute customer behavior to ad exposure, the bank would need to expose a test group of customers to the ad, and expose a “control group” of highly similar customers to a placebo (FIs often use ads for nonprofits and charities for this purpose). The bank would then compare the test customers’ performance, such as number of accounts opened with the bank, to that of the control group, ultimately capturing the cross-channel behavior resulting directly from the ad campaign.

Overall, as FIs continue to grow their digital offerings, it will be critical that they enhance their analytic capabilities to develop a full view of the impact of digital campaigns across channels. Armed with these insights, they can optimize their digital marketing strategies and stay ahead of the competition.

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