What Your Bank or Credit Union Can Learn from Google's 2018 Consumer Insights
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Google publishes what they’d like to think is a “one-stop shop for consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research. They call it Think with Google, and in 2018 they published a number of consumer habits that should have a dramatic impact on the banking industry.
Here’s five key ways these consumer insights should impact your credit union or community bank in 2019…
Google Consumer Insight #1: ‘People are always shopping’
According to the most recent insights “84% of Americans are shopping for something at any given time, in up to six different categories.”
This is a remarkable statistic and one that must inform how banks and credit unions operate. We know that the buying journey for banking products and services is typically greater than three weeks, so what this means is that FIs need to provide useful information along the way for consumers and don’t just bank on advertisements to drive quick conversions.
Further “nearly 9 out of 10 shoppers are not absolutely certain of the brand they want to buy when they begin looking for information online via their smartphones” which means they are likely open to considering new options, if found along the way during their research phase. This is exactly what Inbound and Content Marketing provides! Helpful content that nurtures a person as they are moving through the consideration phase of shopping.
Google Consumer Insight #2: ‘They’re searching with natural language’
When people are searching there are using phrases like ‘do I need’ within the content they are looking for. For example, ‘how much money do I need to put down when buying a home?’ could be a search phrase relevant to FIs.
It’s important that CUs and banks use this insight to inform the content on the institution’s company website. Find the keywords that best highlight your product or service areas you’d like to target for growth and then create content around those topics that works in natural language search.
We also recommend optimizing your locations for local search and including schema for better voice search results when users are searching with Siri, Google Home, Amazon Echo, etc.
Google Consumer Insight #3: ‘They want things nearby and now’
This insight ties in directly to the last point about optimizing your website for local search. One of the main differences between local credit unions and community banks and larger national bank chains is the local touch. Regional financial institutions tend to have good local branch penetration in areas of service and deep connections within nearby neighborhoods and communities.
Use this to your advantage by including content on your website that is well-position for ‘near me’ or ‘open now’ searches, which are increasing by leaps and bounds. With mobile searches that include ‘open + now’ growing 200% in the last year, there’s a ton of space for your local FI to gain traction online.
Google Consumer Insight #4: ‘More research = fewer regrets’
Again, here we are right back at the Inbound Methodology… and even Google confirms that conducting research is a new and growing phase of consumer behavior. This is where your credit union or bank can shine!
Include helpful content that isn’t overly salesy on your website and social media channels. People are ready and willing to learn as much as they can about new products before they make a final purchase decisions. This is especially true for complicated items like financial products and services. So make sure your content is in the mix.
Google has also shown through past research that the average banking customer consults 8.9 sources of information before making a new account or product decision. It’s essential that your FI is creating content that will serve as one of these sources of information, or you will quickly be losing market share.
Google Consumer Insight #5: ‘Voice-activated-speaker owners welcome brands’
With research done from 1500 people who own Google Home or Amazon Echo, Think with Google has determined that these consumers “are open to receiving information that is helpful and relevant to their lifestyle. In fact, one respondent said the ability to purchase things made it feel more like an actual assistant.”
What this means for financial institutions is that there is space in voice search for educational resources around making sound financial decisions. You can tailor this content to a specific demographic, or perhaps try to target parents and baby boomers, as these are two populations Google is seeing make huge investments in voice-activated assistants.
This blog was originally published as a guest blog for CU Insight.