The Financial Services industry is poised at a critical moment of digital transformation. While most brands have made incremental investments in site, search, and mobile, the industry as a whole has been slow to embrace digital. The bulk of companies in L2’s debut Digital IQ Index: Financial Services fall into in the Average, Challenged, and Feeble categories, with only one brand, Bank of America, achieving Genius status. However, as the fintech market continues to grow and brands emulate best practices from other industries, the study predicts that next year will see new modes of digital innovation.
1. Bank of America
Digital IQ: 146
The only Genius in the study, Bank of America testifies to its parent group’s comprehensive investments. It is the only Index brand to achieve top-10 search visibility against non-branded terms in three of six categories tested (Banking, Credit Cards, and Mortgage & Loan), underscoring the depth of SEO/SEM investments. Furthermore, experimentation with a wide array of partners including Khan Academy and Vice Media exposes campaign content on new platforms that are generally ignored by the industry.
Digital IQ: 138
Financial Service brands have been slow to optimize their primary search listings to cater to mobile users. However, Allstate is sophisticated when it comes to mobile search, geolocating specific agents near the user and, if applicable, opening its branded app from search results.
3. Liberty Mutual Insurance
Digital IQ: 137
Time spent on mobile has increased 62% in the last three years, yet Financial Services brands lag in most features expected by mobile users. Liberty Mutual is the exception. The brand boasts a best-in-class mobile site with features including an above-the-fold swipeable carousel offering users the ability to request a quote.
4. Charles Schwab
Digital IQ: 135
Financial Services brands have invested heavily in apps, with each Index brand offering on average two apps. However, Charles Schwab’s product stands apart. The app boasts a detailed Find An Advisor feature including geolocation and multiple methods of contact as well as personalized descriptions.
4. Wells Fargo
Digital IQ: 135
On an industry basis, Financial Services demonstrates the highest registered conversion rate from paid search results. Wells Fargo maintains the largest share of category visibility on search results, especially in the highly competitive banking cohort.
6. Fidelity Investments
Digital IQ: 134
Fidelity draws more monthly users to its site than any other brand, largely due to its strong category performance among investment peers. The brand site features comprehensive product reviews that can be filtered to ensure potential customers only view contributions from users with similar investor profiles.
7. Capital One
Digital IQ: 133
Across every ad format examined (Desktop, Mobile & Tablet, and Video), the top five brands collectively control over 60% of impressions, and three brands (Capital One, State Farm, and GEICO) maintain their top-five share. Capital One controls the largest share of both desktop and mobile ad impressions, largely through direct buying.
Digital IQ: 132
Like their peers in other industries, Financial Services brands have struggled to gain momentum after the decline of organic reach on Facebook. Citibank found a winning content strategy that makes it the top Index brand on the platform. By combining promoted posts with a clear content strategy, the brand is able to generate maximum levels of user engagement.
8. State Farm
Digital IQ: 132
State Farm outperforms the Index in desktop advertising. Spend is largely focused on YouTube, where the brand runs campaigns such as Say Hello, about the topic of interacting with neighbors.
Digital IQ: 127
USAA’s savvy social strategy earns the brand the largest Instagram community in the Index. Furthermore, the brand’s mobile app was one of the first to experiment with a chat bot.
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