Will the marketplace strategy shake up the financial services industry?

As we all head to marketplaces to pick up those last minute gifts for Christmas, it seems like a good time of year to talk about the growth and shake up of the financial services industry with market place strategies. Online marketplaces are fast-becoming the favourite destination for online shoppers, with almost 70% of Australians visiting an online marketplace or auction site like eBay or Amazon every month. Marketplaces have boomed in recent years, growing by 74.8% in 2017 alone (Roy Morgan research Jun 2018). With the increased uptake of marketplace sites like Etsy, Uber and AirBNB we have to look at the reasons why these sites are so popular with consumers. What are the benefits of creating an online marketplace?

The marketplace model is based on carriers realising you cannot be the best at everything and resources are too scarce to keep up. In the marketplace model, brands give their customers access to third parties with the best products, the most pleasant customer experience and the lowest costs.

The marketplace business model cuts both ways. Customers get continuous access to the best products and services in the market and costs can be kept at a minimum through connecting (or disconnecting) parties almost in real time to key in on new customer wishes and anticipate other market developments.

Retailers such as Catch and Myer have recently opened marketplaces, recognising the benefit of increased customer traffic and expansion into other categories.

myer market place

“It’s about enabling customers to move freely between brands, channels and product solution,” says Suncorp’s chief executive for Customer Marketplace, Pip Marlow. Suncorp Australia has recently launched a $100 million digital marketplace platform. Users can now view all banking and insurance products in the one online portal from all their brands – Suncorp, AAMI, GIO, Bingle, Shannons and Vero. “We really wanted to move to a level of aggressive transparency across the brand, making sure customers knew what was available to them – and had that choice as part of it.”

suncorp marketplaceThis marketplace model is in direct contrast with the strategy of other financial brands such as Commonwealth Bank and Westpac, which is to keep customers contained to the one brand.

Monzo, Starling, N26 (challenger banks) and TSB are all launching a marketplace offering. This banking business model is on the basis of shared value where the provider creates value for the customer. Value is passed to the customer and the provider takes a referral fee from the beneficiary. Examples include foreign exchange fees, switching energy providers and switching telco providers.

N26 has partnered with TransferWise to let customers make foreign currency transfers, and with vaamo to make investments, all from within its mobile app.

n26Starling Bank recently launched its current account, the only product it will build in-house. Through its marketplace it will give customers access to P2P loans, investments, and has partnered with TransferWise. In the longer term, it plans to offer customers a choice of multiple products in each sector, and to partner with companies in the retail and lifestyle sectors.

starling bankOther companies adopting the marketplace model are Amazon, who is looking to offer bank accounts and already offers loans, along with Google, Facebook and Apple who either have banking licenses or are looking to acquire one.

The big sell for marketplace is that the customer journey and experience is both a satisfying and convenient one allowing for easier navigation and management from a central location. This new approach offers more competition through transparency, choice and better pricing.

We see marketplaces playing an even bigger role in the future.

Who will be next to implement this strategy?

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Is neglecting the importance of 3rd party websites hurting your market share?

In two different research studies conducted by Global Reviews for the energy and superannuation industries (in Q1 2018 and Q3 2018 respectively), it was found that:

Even though consumers had an initial brand preference in mind, they often ended up going with a completely different brand when making a purchase decision:

So what is it that happens between these two preference stages that has consumers changing their mind?

Our research studies found that:

Consumers within both industries tend to search for brands on comparison and research sites just as much as on the brand’s website itself.



The major reasons for consumers turning to third party websites are:

  1. The ease of comparing different brand options on one platform.
  2. The comprehensive visibility of various options by each brand.
  3. The ability to get the best possible benefit from what is being offered.

By using aggregator and research sites, consumers are being exposed to more brands and offers on one platform that makes the use search and aggregator sites far more lucrative.

Another factor that is impacting the change of brand preference is how well brands are meeting the wants and needs of consumers.

Within the energy industry it was found that:

  • Discounts and incentives, were a major driver for final brand preference within the Energy industry.

This revelation can easily be linked to the result from our research study which revealed AGL was voted as the #1 preferred energy brand. At the time of conducting the research study, AGL was found to have significantly increased their advertising spend and refocused on promoting discounts and offers​ on every platform.

Many of their campaigns highlighted discounts and also offered bonuses such as cashback, Flybuys and Amazon Echo.

Similarly, our research study found that when it came to superannuation brands:

  • Reputation, trust and familiarity are most important to consumers when they shortlist brands as their initial preference.
  • However, investment results and low fees gain importance later in the journey – potentially as they learn more during their research.

This could be a major reason for Australian Super’s increasingly high performance.

According to consumers, Australian Super’s product looked the most attractive to them when using Canstar, owing to their low cost.

          Most use the comparison tool at Canstar where Australian Super shows a significantly lower “Annual Cost”

Since majority of consumers tend to research on brands through aggregator websites, it becomes important for brands within industries like superannuation and energy, to understand :

  • How their brand can be perceived to be more appealing on research and aggregator sites?
  • Which factors are responsible for making their brands lose out in the final brand preference race among its consumers?
  • How are aggregator sites using search to attract people to visit them instead of brand sites?

Through our research studies within these different industries, it is clear that focusing on tiny details can help brands unlock big results. Once brands know that there exists an opportunity to leverage a platform, they need to dig deep to understand the factors that can contribute to their brand’s success.

In this case it would be realising the pull that third party websites have on a consumers’ final preference and leveraging that to their brand’s advantage.

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The advancing & stalling of banking mobile sites (& why Tesco Bank needs to change their site)

The advancing & stalling of banking mobile sites (& why Tesco Bank needs to change their site)

When rating the current accounts landing page on mobile banking sites, Tesco Bank is comprehensively outscored and their product pages are not performing much better. Navigation, appealing visual design and information are all considered by consumers to be lacking from the Tesco Bank site compared to what competitor sites are delivering. These key areas are all contributing to a low average score for Tesco Bank for landing page impressions.Tesco bank scores 7.14 in customer audit


A recent study with 170 consumers looking at user experience across UK current account mobile banking sites revealed that Tesco’s unchanging site is falling further and further behind competitors who are continually evolving their site in order to match consumer needs.

Our webinar looked at where Tesco has stalled and how competitors are advancing their sites. These insights will not only help you to avoid making these same mistakes, but also show you what the top performing brands from around the world are doing to ensure they aren’t also falling behind.

Presented by: Rebecca Jennings – Principal Client Advisor

If you enjoyed this webinar you might also be interested in our previous webinar: Why are Santander losing so many potential customers and how can you learn from their mistakes

Let is know what you thought about the webinar and have your say as to what we deliver next!

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The importance of brand relationship and trust in the Motor Insurance Industry

A recently conducted research study by Global Reviews in Q3 2018, pointed out that the biggest motivating factor for a consumer to choose a particular motor insurance brand in their initial stages of search is ‘trust’.

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UK Banking Webinar Series: Learn from competitors’ mistakes

learn from santander mistakes

Over the past 12 months, Santander has been steadily losing prospective mortgage customers. They have gone from having a 12% preference rate amongst consumers, down to just 6%. Meanwhile, HSBC have recently increased to 16% and Nationwide is maintaining a strong lead with 23%.

Why are Santander losing so many potential customers and how can you learn from their mistakes?

A recent study with 150 consumers looking at website user experience across UK mortgage sites revealed that one of the reasons Santander is rating poorly is because their website is not working as strongly as other brands.

Our recent webinar looked at where along the online customer journey consumers are struggling to connect with Santander’s website. These insights will not only help you to avoid making these same mistakes, but also show you what the top performing brands from around the world are doing to ensure they aren’t losing prospective customers.

Presented by: Rebecca Jennings – Principal Client Advisor

If you enjoyed this webinar you might also be interested in our following webinar: The advancing & stalling of banking mobile sites (& why Tesco Bank needs to change their site)

Let is know what you thought about the webinar and have your say as to what we deliver next!

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Goldman Sachs enter savings market – but can they meet UK users’ high experience demands?

Goldman Sachs Global Reviews

The announcement last week that Goldman Sachs – the institution once dubbed “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity” by Rolling Stone magazine at the height of the financial crisis in 2010 – is entering the mainstream savings account market in the UK through their online-only brand Marcus, will send ripples through the banking sector, not least because the account offers a market-beating 1.5% interest for the first year.

The new account from Marcus (named after one of the founders of Goldman Sachs, and launched in the US in 2016) is explicitly aimed at stealing market share from the established high street banks, who are already suffering from intense competition and low profit margins as well as trying to fend off a swathe of digital first start-ups such as Monzo and Revolut.

Whilst the generous rates will no doubt cause an immediate flurry of account openings,  as an online-only provider with no ATM card (though the account can be managed by phone if required)  ease of usability of the brand’s website, mobile site and app will be vital for the long term success of the enterprise.

However, at present, the brand doesn’t actually offer an app; a notable omission in the UK market where high street behemoths such as Barclays, Nationwide and Lloyds have been offering clients useful and well-performing apps for several years. In April, Goldmans acquired personal finance app Clarity Money, but have yet to pivot it into serving Marcus customers.

Part of the account’s appeal is the freedom to deposit and withdraw funds as many times as you like with no charges, unlike most savings accounts, but a frustrating online experience in doing so will soon have investors jumping ship, if market incumbents can quickly move to match the rates on accounts that users know can be easily managed through existing apps.

In short – a headline grabbing rate from one of banking’s most well-known (if not well-loved) brands will garner deposits from savvy investors in the short term, but long term success in transaction-based accounts will require rapid investment in easy to use digital experiences.


Get in touch to find out more about the experience demands UK consumers have when it comes to banking and how Goldman Sachs is positioned to shake up the market.

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Leveraging your University Website Experience for Better Results

Leveraging a great website experience could be the key to universities achieving a higher ROI on their marketing efforts.

In this blog post, we bring to the fore aspects from our Research study that highlights areas universities need to leverage and the reasons they should do so.

When it comes to deciding on a course, prospective students prefer websites that (Figure 1):

  • Can be navigated through easily.
  • Display course information prominently and facilitate simple comparisons.
  • Have full information about the university itself and go above and beyond what their prospective students want.


After understanding what prospects looking for on a university website, let’s see how closely these needs are being met by different universities (Figure 2) :

Our research study reveals that there is still quite a bit of work to be done. A few prominent issues that have been identified by prospects on university websites such as UTS, Monash and Wollongong are: (Figure 3):

  1. Excess information on university websites leads to confusion among students when they are looking for specific information (10% of prospects concluded so).
  2. Difficulty in navigating through the excess information on the website. This often elongates the process of locating the information required by prospects (15%-25% prospects concluded so).



3. “Cluttered” information on university websites. When looking at the course page of CQU, several prospects pointed out that the information displayed tends to be “Cluttered” (Figure 4).


So, how can you change things around?

  1. Provide a seamless and smooth search path on your course Journey.
  • Example: UniSA –Figure 5 (i) and Figure (ii).

5 (i)


5 (ii)

2. Give your prospects ‘Takeaways’ and ‘Next Steps’ during the Journey to Courses navigation path (Figure 6).


3. Offer Tools to Help the Evaluation and Shortlisting Process (Figure 7).


4. Offer specific search ability by assessing your website hierarchy:

  • Help users navigate your site and search by providing helpful filters and a guided choice.

– Example: La Trobe University- Figure 8 (i) and Figure 8 (ii).

8 (i)

8 (ii)

  • Use search headers to help users get where they need to get quickly

– Example: London School of Economics- Figure 8 (iii)

8 (iii)

  • Offer a needs matching tool to help potential students narrow their research choices.

– Example: University of Melbourne – Figure 8 (iv)

8 (iv)

The key to achieving success lies in tailoring your website to match what your prospective students are looking for. For a more detailed explanation on this, you can watch the recording of our Higher Learning Webinar.

Global Reviews specialises in helping top brands worldwide convert more of their ideal customers online, through the use of the most advanced research methodologies. To find out more about how we can help you and your digital teams, or if your brand would like to be included in our next round of our research, please contact: 

Darren Watson – Senior Commercial Director
T:         +61 3 9013 0531
M:        + 61 413 017 959
E:         darren.watson@globalreviews.com

Tony Carveth- Senior Commercial Director

T:         +61 3 9013 0531
M:        +61 438 081 496
E:         tony.carveth@globalreviews.com

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Why you shouldn’t tell punters you’re the world’s best

world's best sports betting

Consumers shouldn’t need to be told that your company is the “world’s best”. If it’s true, and you are the biggest or the best, wouldn’t the know that already? Shouldn’t you be showing them something a bit more compelling rather than wasting an opportunity by telling consumers something they already know?

Should a punter search for a sports betting provider in a search engine, the first place they are going to see any offers is in the copy detail of the initial search results. This key step in grabbing attention of any prospective punter places competing brands side by side. With 34% stating that they considered a brand because they saw them in search, there should be no doubt in the importance on getting your brand’s SEO and SEM right!

In a recent study Ladbrokes, who in SEO and SEM claim to be the best, were outperformed by 888 in terms of consideration and preference.

We are here to tell you why.

In looking at the brand rankings from recall through to initial preference, shortlist and then final preference, Ladbrokes takes a dive going from being the second most recalled brand and most likely to be shortlisted, dropping down to being in fifth position for final preference. Meanwhile, smaller brand 888 is going in the opposite direction. 888 starts quite low but then moves up to be the seventh most preferred brand.  Ultimately what this means is that the digital marketing strategy for 888 is working in that despite having a low initial recall rate, it is getting discovered and chosen during the research phase.

Recall to final preference sports betting

This data tells us that punters are willing to change their minds during their research. Just because they had a particular brand in mind when they started their research, it doesn’t necessarily mean that will be the brand they will ultimately place a bet with.

Percentage of punters each brand lost to someone else between initial and final preference:

  • Bet365 – 44%
  • William Hill – 41%
  • PaddyPower – 33%
  • SkyBet – 29%
  • Ladbrokes – 12%

Ladbrokes fans seems to be very loyal. But what this also means is that Ladbrokes isn’t achieving as well as others when it comes to acquisition in the actual digital marketplace leading to a reliance more on the loyalty of current customers.

What are the reasons for punters to consider a brand?

Brands like Ladbrokes, William Hill, Paddy Power and Bet365 are initially considered because punters are familiar with their name and they are reputable brands. Ladbrokes in particular appear to have a loyal base and those who are loyal are not changing their mind. Yet they’re not attracting new punters.

How can brands attract new punters during research and what is influencing which brands consumers are considering once they begin their research?

Outside of brand familiarity, the most common reason for shortlisting a brand is because they have good odds/offers (37%).

This brings us back to brand’s proclaiming that they are the “best”. Every business should believe that they are the best at what they do. However, the key is not to tell everyone that you are the best, but rather show everyone WHY you’re the best.

Getting the most out of SEM/SEO

In doing a search for some of the top-rated sports betting brands, the results showed multiple brands stating that they were:

  • “The world’s leading sports betting company”
  • “The world’s favourite online sports betting company”
  • “One of the world’s leading online gambling companies”
  • “The world’s biggest bookmaker”

sports betting sem world's best

Whilst these brands may well be the world’s leading/favourite/biggest, it’s ultimately subjective and difficult for consumers to differentiate brands based on these descriptions. Consumers are typically already aware of these brands, so they would generally already be aware of the standing of the brand. Search results only allow for a small area in terms of real estate so is reiterating something that people should already know about you and your brand the most valuable use of that space? What consumers are really looking for are service or proposition-based differentiators as they seek out the best odds/offers.

By instead highlighting what your brand offers in terms of odds, free bets and cash back, you can go from telling consumers that you are the best, to showing them WHY you are the best. This in turn gives consumers a reason to consider you as the best brand to place a bet through.

Following through

The effective use of SEM and SEO are vital in getting punters to your website initially, but what they see once they click through is of equal importance. If your SEM is promoting a special offer, but when punters click through to your site there’s no obvious sign of that deal, then you’re starting to create more work for the punter and potentially increasing the chance of them going elsewhere.

888 sport not only promotes their new customer offer three times within the search results, one of the first things punters see when they go to the site is the same offer. This follow-through of messaging makes the transition from the search engine to the website far smoother and shows that the brand is ready to deliver on their offer.

888 sem seo to website


While 888 sport may not have the legacy that Ladbrokes, William Hill, Paddy Power and Bet365 have, but they are committed to showing that they have good offers which is ultimately what punters want.

View our recent webinar for more insights into how sports betting providers are performing online and why punters are choosing one brand over another:

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What prospects look for on a Super Fund website?

Over the years, superfunds have understood that their priority has and will always be safekeeping the retirement savings of their members. But in today’s digital frenzy where customer service and feedback are one click away and where customer demands are met at the speed of lightening, can a super fund strive to deliver more?

Following on from our previous blog post, we continue to delve into the superannuation industry and look at how closely super funds are meeting the needs of their members.

In Q3 2018, Global Reviews ran its latest Superannuation Industry research study and were able to compare the performance of the companies within this study between Q3 2017 and Q1 2018, assess the changes and understand how these changes impacted consumer behaviour. The results from the study revealed that AustralianSuper and ING Direct achieved a significant increase in their benchmark score based on the experience they offered to prospects visiting their sites.

But what is it that prospects deem to be the most important when shortlisting the super fund brands of their choice? Is enunciating Fund performance the only important aspect according to customers or are there more values they look for when choosing a super fund?

According to our study, most prospects rate the below attributes (in order of preference)

  • Reputation
  • Trust
  • Existing relation with the brand
  • Fees and investment options
  • Fund performance.

Clearly, even though fund performance might be an important factor for your prospects, it is not the only important factor affecting their final decision.

Our research study also revealed that users are often unable to identify top performing funds when searching on brand websites as prospects often find:

  • Presentation of the fund performance information on websites to be confusing.
  • The lack of availability of match to need tools on superannuation websites

As a super fund, it therefore becomes important that you:

  • Make the information easily accessible and help your prospects understand performance jargon.
  • Provide tools to help users decide the type of fund they should invest in.


Overall, the superannuation industry continues to rank very low when it comes to presenting products to customers based on their requirements. This observation was made when comparing it to industries such as Health Insurance, Higher Learning and Fintech, who often get it right. These industries are able to identify what their customer needs are and present the information about complex products to match those needs.

Taking cue from these industries, here are a few recommendations for super funds to ensure that they accurately match customer needs:

  • Users want to see fund performance upfront- consider having a summary on the homepage with a link to more information or publish the performance on the homepage itself.
  • Consider providing information about how one can select the right investment strategy.
  • Since financial investments are complex, users seek help. It is important to provide them with tools to help them with investment choices.
  • Present information with FAQs or help for users to better understand performance jargon.


Speak to one of our experts to see how the data we have can increase conversion rates, leads and traffic on your website:

Darren Watson – Senior Commercial Director
T:         +61 3 9013 0531
M:        + 61 413 017 959
E:         darren.watson@globalreviews.com

Tony Carveth- Senior Commercial Director

T:         +61 3 9013 0531
M:        +61 438 081 496
E:         tony.carveth@globalreviews.com

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The Changing Percepetion of the Superannuation Industry

“Young people have changed, but their super hasn’t!”

Is this a generic statement or do your prospective members actually feel this way? Are you, as a super fund doing enough?

Until recently, superannuation funds have operated more as a B2B model dealing primarily with employers rather than with the employees who actually sign up with a super fund. Typically, as an industry, superannuation tends to be front-of-mind only when someone is about to retire or switch jobs.

But according to an article by Forbes “Ninety-one percent of Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years. That means they would have 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their working lives!”.

In today’s age where job hopping is the new norm, could a super fund strive to offer more than just a delayed gratification?

Global Reviews conducted a research study in Q1 2018 to better understand the online journey of super fund prospect, what they are searching for and how they end up with their final choice?

We involved 261 participants to analyse which brand messages resonate with them and which out of the 10 super fund brands included in the study compels them to choose one over another.

Our study found that when your prospects begin their search:

  • 66% have an initial brand preference in mind.
  • 77% use a search engine when looking for Super funds.
  • 56% ultimately stick with their initially preferred brand after careful evaluation.

Further to this, when searching for a super fund:

  • 21% of prospects search for brand names which further leads them to brand websites (66%) or aggregator websites (34%).
  • 34% of prospects search for comparison terms on an aggregators website.
  • 42% of prospects search for Generic terms.


Figure 1: Examples of each search term category:

Third party comparison websites have been found to play a crucial role, with majority of super fund prospects researching brands on aggregator websites. In fact 31% of super fund prospects research brands on Canstar, according to our research study.


Having said that, creating a strong brand presence doesn’t go unnoticed. As mentioned earlier since most of your prospects begin their search with an initial preference in mind, having a strong brand name helps to cash in on a larger market share.

The initial preference and recall value of a super fund brand name may or may not have an impact on the final purchase behavior of its prospects but it is a very strong indication.

Our research revealed that AustralianSuper has an extremely high brand recall. It affects the search behavior of its prospects with 21% searching directly for Australian Super on their website.

However, understanding how your prospects make their final choice and the factors leading them to make that decision is equally crucial.

  • Brand, Reputation and Trust are the top 3 reasons why people choose a fund as their final choice.
  • Fees and investment options come in a close 4
  • Fund performance falls into 5th place, contrary to popular belief that it is the number one criteria compelling prospects to make a final choice.

Having an overall view of what a prospect looks for in a super fund is just the beginning. Matching those needs and giving your customers exactly what they want (either by enunciating a solution that caters to their specific need, via your communication channel or changing the way you communicate) could help you achieve your goal of attaining a larger market share.

Alternatively, if you do have another goal in mind, we can work with you to give you targeted data to meet the exact needs of your business. Give us a call and find out how we can help your business grow.

In our next blog post we will reflect on how super funds are matching member needs and whether they are meeting those needs at all. We will also go over industry best practices and a few recommendations by experts within Global Reviews to see how you can create maximum impact as a brand.

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