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Top 4 Marketing Trends in Banking in 2018

Lauren Wilson - September 27, 2018 - 0 comments

Top 4 Marketing Trends in Banking in 2018

For banks and credit unions, marketing spend is increasing.  According to the American Bankers Association, 2018 planned expenditures increased by 4%, representing 3.6% of total expenditures or 6% of total revenues. The ABA also found a positive correlations between marketing spend and performance. Top performing banks, those that return more than 15% on equity, spend approximately four times more on marketing. One category, marketing technology or ‘martech’, has been taking a larger share of the budget and in 2017 was 22% of the average marketing budget. While traditionally large banks have led in adoption of marketing technology trends, community banks are catching up. While traditional techniques will continue to be effective, the trends and tactics below demonstrate the investments in innovation that is being made through martech.

Here are 4 important marketing trends in 2018:

Voice search:

According to Google, the usage of voice search is growing. One in five mobile searches are initiated from voice search and it is estimated that voice search is used daily by nearly half of users.  This number is only expected to rise with the growing popularity of Google Assistant-enabled devices such as Google Home.

Staying competitive with this trend demands changes in your organizations’ search engine optimization (SEO) routine. First, voice search requires a differentiated view on keyword research. Rather than the odd-sounding query based searches users have become accustomed to via text, voice searchers use normal, conversational sentences.

Second, Google often sources its voice search results from featured snippets. Features snippets appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), above the normal search results. They contain the URL and page title, along with a “snippet” of the page’s content in an attempt to answer the searcher’s query. Google “programmatically determines that a page contains a likely answer to the user’s question, and displays the result as a featured snippet.” A study released by Stone Temple Consulting last year confirmed that featured snippets are on the rise, appearing for roughly 30 percent of the 1.4 million queries they tested. Strategies can be integrated into your SEO plans to increase the potential of your content by answering specific questions that searchers ask through featured snippets.

Visual content creation

With most marketing strategies looking to target Millennials and Gen Z, a new trend has emerged to focus on leveraging the power visual content. Visual content is becoming more popular and is successful in making the consumption of messaging quick and experiential.

When strategizing your visual content strategy, first and foremost you should do an inventory and optimize your current content. In this review, you not only want to ensure that images match your brand and messages but are also sized and formatted correctly for both viewing and indexing, without slowing the download speed of your site. This optimization opens up opportunities to attract traffic from Google images.

Once optimized, the next phase is to create interesting and useful visual content. As we’ve discussed in our previous post, Millenials and Gen Z prefer to source knowledge to make decisions rather than be told what to do. Focus your content on key educational and informational topics that reflect your bank or credits unions key offerings.

Visual content doesn’t stop with images, the popularity of video content continues to grow. For organizations, this can be a fantastic venue to demonstrate your brand and culture to both prospective customers and employees. SEO-optimized video content on YouTube is also helpful to improve your visibility in Google.

Connecting the dots on micro-moments

Micro-moments themselves are not exactly a new trend but with the speed of mobile adoption in the financial industry, it has never been more relevant. Coined by Google, micro-moments happen in every instance that a consumer may interact with your organization. They are a window of opportunity when your audience wants to know or do something and most often is when they reach for their mobile device. Google Think categorizes these scenarios as “I want” or “I need” moments. Traditionally micro-moment strategies were about identifying these moments, and ways to be present to influence behavior. For financial institutions, these moments would be oriented around pivotal customer decisions such as at the time of purchase or looking for an ATM, and how to have users use your product over other financial institutions.

Understanding and optimizing your customer journey is only the start to maximizing micro-moments. Your institution can and is likely already anticipating customers economic questions and financial goals and creating target content to reach them in their micro-moments. What is more important, is the ability to measure and connect the dots between these micro-moment interactions to understand a complete picture of each customer’s journey. This is not only important to review historically or in aggregate for analysis, but also in the moment.  Understanding the micro-moment that brought the customer to your branch, call center, or online chat is a powerful way to assist them and enables you to offer the best solutions and provide the best experience.

Social Media

Social media was initially adopted by financial institutions for its compliance capabilities. These compliance capabilities are now considered baseline for most organizations. Most executives agree that social media is more important than ever. With use cases to increase employee and customer experience and engagement, recruit top talent, and drive sales, cross-departmental coordination of social media strategies needs to be effective. According to Hootsuite, this is an opportunity with 74% of organizations sharing that social media is owned by several different departments and 44% indicating there is no collaboration between them.

North America leads other geographic regions in implementing social media programs. 46% of North American companies have implemented programs in four key areas: marketing, customer service, selling, and advocacy.  In comparison, this number is just 29% of companies in the Asia-Pacific region. Growth areas in social media for financial institutions include social selling and employee advocacy programs.

With peer influence at an all-time high, employee advocacy programs are driving engagement and conversions. Despite this only 58% of financial institutions have implemented one.

Underpinning all of these trends is data. It is imperative for financial institutions to have the right programs in place to offer unique value but also capture and interpret customer behavior data. This enables you to not only pinpoint and develop specific experiences but also optimize your marketing spend.

In 2015, Vikram Atal, Consumer Financial Services Executive, and Advisor was quoted to say “If you compare banks to companies like Google, it’s evident that banks are still at the nascent stage of the digital and data revolution.” How do you think the industry has progressed since then? Share your thoughts by getting in touch at

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