Google/FPA Say Search Is The Best Way to Reach Financial Advisors

Are you trying to reach financial advisors? Search and financial news sites are the most frequently used media channels by independent financial advisors, according to a study done by the Financial Planners Association (FPA) and Google.

“This is where you are going to reach not only the widest number of advisors but you’re also going to be able to reach them repetitively and with a frequency of exposure,” says Becca King, Research Manager, in a fascinating 18-minute video Google Business posted on YouTube this week.

Mutual fund, exchange-traded fund (ETF) and other marketers have long wondered where advisors spend their business time online and what works when marketing to them. Advisors are known to rely on quantitative screening when selecting investment products; this work sheds light on the qualitative research they do.

An interesting side comment is the report that corporate Web sites are more helpful to the small percentage of financial advisors who use them. But, the 518 advisors surveyed said it’s the search and financial news sites that attract them, and they find the sites plenty helpful.

(Maybe it's because we agree that we don't take particular offense to the conclusion of this Google-co-sponsored study: “Financial advisors are prompted to action by advertising.”)

More is said in the audio than is presented in the slides shown. For example, Jack Krawczyk, Google Industry Marketing Manager, listed the following five considerations for advisors when first being introduced via advertising to a product:

  • Getting information presented in an attention-getting manner
  • Brand or product image
  • Believability of the messaging and product claim
  • Technical information
  • Application or strategy of the product

When making a final product decision, these are the four most important criteria, according to the study:

  • Investment philosophy and process
  • Company image and reputation
  • Research and white papers
  • Value and service

You might not agree with some of the recommendations regarding strategies to take advantage of the research—e.g., does technical information belong in advertising messages and if it did, wouldn’t it come with too much disclosure? Also, far be it from us to debate the FPA but we find the comments about financial advisors being technologically challenged at least three years out of date.

Overall, the video and work are definitely worth a look.

For more on asset management companies’ use of paid search, see our post Fidelity, iShares, T. Rowe Price Most Aggressive In Paid Search.