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UK finance brands still struggling online!

Adrian Porter Head of Strategic Research

Last year we produced a report looking at the digital properties of 50 financial services companies in the UK. We looked at banks, asset managers, insurers, building societies and importantly the new kids on the block, the online only finance companies. We assumed ahead of conducting the research that it would be these online operators who would be most progressive and aggressive in their online efforts, and so it transpired.

The ‘newbies’ seemed to have a greater understanding of the online space, how it can all be fitted together strategically to drive awareness and ultimately, sales and conversions. In short the question posed by the title of the report, ‘Integration or isolation?’ was broadly answered by our findings in as much as the traditional retail finance firms operated in isolation with little integration between digital channels and seemingly little cohesion across internal teams and their digital objectives. By contrast the purely online providers had an integrated approach, which was clearly strategically aligned across integrated channels.

It comes as no surprise therefore that a research report by digital agency Stickyeyes, which looks at the online visibility of the top 50 consumer finance brands revealed last week that the traditional brands are losing out to their newer rivals. In search results it would appear that the only way that traditional brands can compete is through PPC, since they are being blown away in natural search results by the more savvy and strategic brands such as MoneySupermarket, which featured in the top ten for all the markets analysed. In fact price comparison sites dominated both search marketing and social media presence analyses.

The Stickyeyes report seems to confirm that little has changed in the last year or so, since our report and financial brands are still struggling to reconcile their online strategies, the purpose and focus of their various channels and the teams that run them.