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’.Continue reading
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
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.
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):
- Excess information on university websites leads to confusion among students when they are looking for specific information (10% of prospects concluded so).
- 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?
- Provide a seamless and smooth search path on your course Journey.
- Example: UniSA –Figure 5 (i) and Figure (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).
- Use search headers to help users get where they need to get quickly
– Example: London School of Economics- Figure 8 (iii)
- Offer a needs matching tool to help potential students narrow their research choices.
– Example: University of Melbourne – Figure 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
Tony Carveth- Senior Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9013 0531
M: +61 438 081 496
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.
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”
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.
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.
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:
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)
- 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
Tony Carveth- Senior Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9013 0531
M: +61 438 081 496
“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.
In the most recent consumer survey published by the Irish Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), it was revealed that the number of electricity customers who have switched suppliers has increased 5% each year since 2014. The rise in switching suppliers is a key indicator of increased retail competition and is potentially making way for a new kind of marketing in the energy sector focused on consumers’ desire to hunt down the best deals rather than relying on previous experience or trust in a brand.
Recent Global Reviews studies have seen evidence of this across the Irish energy market with an increased use of aggregator sites coupled with a drop in choosing a provider based on trust. In Q4 2017, 47% of consumers were using aggregator sites as part of their research process, and this has since jumped up to 61% in the Q2 2018 study. Benefiting the most from this rise is Switcher.ie which went from 30% of consumers visiting them in Q4 2017 up to 49% in Q2 2018.
After consumers conducted their research online, we asked them what they thought about the experience. Overall most consumers found the process good/easy. More specifically, 32% called out their use of an aggregator and how easy it made comparing providers with some suggesting that they had not previously considered changing providers or what other deals/offers are available and through the process of researching and discovering sites such as Switcher.ie and Bonkers.ie will consider switching in the future.
The use of aggregators is impacting which brands consumers prefer
Irrespective of whether consumers use an aggregator or not, Energia and Bord Gais hold their place as #1 and #2 preferred brands at both the shortlist and final preference stages. However, Energia enjoys quite an increase in consumer preferences amongst those who used an aggregator. Overall they were finally preferred by 25% of consumers, but were preferred by 33% by those who used an aggregator.
It is not just the bigger players who are benefiting from an increase in aggregator activity. Newcomer, Just Energy, was shortlisted by 19% of all consumers, but was considered by an impressive 29% of aggregator users bringing them in line with Electric Ireland who was preferred by 39% of all consumers only to see that number drop to 30% amongst those who used an aggregator.
Brands shortlisted Final brand preference
To better understand why there is a shift in brand preferences amongst those who used aggregator sites, we looked at the reasons why consumers prefer one brand over another.
Having the best energy plan and being a reputable brand were both selected by 30% of all consumers as reasons for selecting a brand, however, it is a different story for those who used an aggregator. Having the best energy plan was selected by 36% while being a reputable brand dropped down to 26%. Being a current customer, previous use and trust in the company were also selected by fewer people when an aggregator site was used.
Reason for selecting a brand
Has the increased use of aggregators when researching energy providers caused the drop in trust or has the drop in trust prompted the uplift in aggregator use? Either way, energy providers obviously need to be turning their attention to aggregators if they want to be considered by consumers.
It should be noted that Irish energy providers are not alone in this apparent drop in trust amongst consumers. The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) recently reported that only 39% of Australians trust their energy provider, down from 50% in 2017. This indicates that this is a global problem for the industry, not just a domestic one. It could, therefore, be beneficial for the energy industry to look towards other industries for ideas on how they can improve the general perception of the industry.
Check out our recent webinar covering the dwindling perception of the energy sector in Australia:
Global Reviews is currently running researching into the digital maturity of brands across the energy sector to better understand what the future holds for the industry as well as what consumers really want from their provider. Contact us to learn more about how energy providers are performing locally and internationally.
Written by Geri McGann & Suzy Sliwczynski
In our blog post Can buying a home ever be a true end-to-end online service? we discussed the challenges facing providers when trying to make an online mortgage application a truly digital experience reducing the need to speak to someone directly. We saw within an online mortgage application, making sure they had the right mortgage product was one of the key moments that participants were dropping out of the application funnel. Other industries providers also face this challenge of trying to match a product to the needs of a prospective customer.
Within the health insurance industry, consumers can be faced with over a hundred health plans from which to choose from. In the energy industry, while it’s a lot less, they can still have up to 10 different plans to choose from. So what trends are we seeing that reduce the need for prospects to call a provider, but still provide that important human interaction that many still require to ensure they are getting the product that’s right for them?
We have seen two distinct patterns emerge that seek to reduce direct contact by:
- helping prospects choose a product that’s right for them
- still provide a human-like interaction
These patterns centre around the use of ‘conversational’ design patterns to help match a product to a user’s need, and the increased uptake of online chat to support customers throughout the acquisition funnel (a feature whose usage and expectation has increased amongst consumers).
Conversational design patterns act as a Q&A-type interaction to help understand user needs and direct them to a suitable product. One of the first initial adopters of this pattern was US health insurer, Oscar, but we are seeing it being implemented by Australian health insurers like Frank, Australian energy providers like Dodo, UK energy company Bulb and Irish health insurer Vhi.
Most providers start by asking a series of questions upfront and then show suitable plans/products. In the Frank example, Frank keeps it to simple initial questions before showing 13 products which might suit. Users can then add additional criteria to reduce this number down further.
Vhi also use it to show prospects how the number of plans available to them initially are reduced by entering criteria that’s specific to them. In the example below we see the number of plans going from 71 to 5.
These approaches serve to:
- not overwhelm users with loads of different options upfront, which make it difficult to know where to start
- help users determine what initial criteria is important to them, and from there they can make additional tweaks and alterations to tailor their plan further
- help users find a plan in a user-centred way, using language they understand, as opposed to a provider-centric approach where, for example, products might be listed in alphabetical order
A recent Global Reviews mobile study1 of Irish health insurance providers suggests the Vhi model works better when matching to needs with participants having a greater chance of finding a plan that suits their needs and less chance of abandoning.
Online chat is being increasingly sought after by users who are still not confident and need help. For the last four years we have benchmarked 182 brands across 14 industries and have been tracking what users would do if they encountered problems on a website. Online chat is the channel that has seen the largest growth and is an expected channel in almost all the industries we conduct studies in.
Click Loans – a 100% online mortgage company – provide online chat and also offer other alternative channels referring to them as ‘Talk to a human’.
Some providers are using the chat model as a complete end-to-end solution. US insurer Lemonade, which offers renters and homeowners insurance online and via mobile, mimics a chat interaction with “Maya” from the beginning of journey. This ‘humanises’ the process making it feel more like a conversation than a form-filling exercise.
Making users feel in control and giving them freedom of choice is important however this needs to be balanced by not overwhelming them with choices either. Conversational design patterns provide a ‘humanistic’ approach to helping users filter and sort through plans and products. But sometimes they need more reassurance when buying particular products and services where they might be locked in for a period of time and/or paying significant sums of money. In this instance an online chat feature can serve to provide timely intervention and help mitigate drop-off even after the consumer has left the site.
Increasingly we are seeing more instances where the chat model is moving beyond the website and into messenger programmes and apps. This enables brands to continue the conversation even when the customer has left the site. This style of chatbot is typically designed to send notifications to customers, update them on their purchases and remind them of upcoming events.
Bank of America has recently launched an AI-powered chatbot powered app called “Erica” who acts as a personal banker. “Erica” marries together self-help tools and customer service, giving consumers a sense of human interaction while also delivering on self-service.
Not all chatbots are humanised in the way that Lemonade’s “Maya” and Bank of America’s “Erica”. UK insurance provider, Aviva, clearly present their chatbot as being just that…a bot. It does, however, still employ a conversational tone making it easy to interact with.
Gartner has predicted that “by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.” This is not to say that chatbots such as “Erica” will take up 85% of the interactions, but increased use of chatbots will certainly contribute greatly towards the total.
In 2016, 1.6 billion people were using mobile messaging apps, in 2018 that number is expected to reach 2 billion people, or 80% of all smartphone users. This means that the use of chatbots gives businesses a huge opportunity to reach consumers to help drive awareness, acquire customers, provide customer care, and enable transactions.
Whether it be in-site, through specific apps or via Facebook messenger, there is no doubt that chatbots are going to be playing an instrumental role in the future of digital customer service and brand interaction. While providers always need to give users a choice of how they would like to interact with them, they also need to promote self-service and reduce costs. These two patterns provide a nice way to meet both users and business needs.
1Global Reviews Mobile Fruition Ireland Q3 2017 (N=147)
Global Reviews is currently running researching into the digital maturity of brands across a number of industries. Contact us to learn more about how companies are using online chat and what the future holds for digital.
Written by Kapil Bhatia & Madhur Advani
In the digital landscape of cluttered and disorganised information, how can your university website break through all the noise?. How can you design pathways on your website, such that it adds value to the search of your prospective students?. The latest break-through insights from the Global Reviews Higher Learning Digital Sales Effectiveness programme answers this very question.
In Q4 2017, Global Reviews, as part of a longitudinal study, conducted research to understand the behaviour of 796 prospective students while they searched for a course on their desktop devices. The research evaluated the websites of 22 Australian universities to analyse industry best practices, and summarise corresponding recommendations based on the results of the study.
This blog post is part 2 of a blog post series on Higher Learning. If you haven’t already, you can read part 1 here
In this post we will uncover insights on how a website’s information architecture impacts user behaviour when they search for a course on a university website.
During the research study conducted, it was observed that most university websites display information in a definite pattern:
- Of the 22 University websites evaluated in the study, 20 were found to have a Top-Level navigation presenting further navigation tabs.
- Out of those 20 Universities, 14 have a mega menu in the Top-Level navigation for user interaction.
- And of the 14 Universities, 8 list course categories in the mega menu.
The information displayed is consumed in a way that:
- 55% of prospective students interacted with the top-level navigation of all 22 university websites when searching for course information.
University websites with no course listing in their mega menu- Average success rate of 57%
Websites with no mega menu- Average success rate of 64%
Summary & Recommendations
Universities with course listings in the mega menu perform the best in terms of success rate and time taken to locate a course range.
- The time to locate information on a university website plays a crucial role when students are actively considering to pursue a course.
- Pay attention to labelling and to the way you display course information on your website in the top-level navigation.
- Consider prioritising your top-level navigation to be the single point of entry to display course options.
Speak to one of our experts to see how the data we have can increase conversion rates, leads and traffic on your university website:
Darren Watson – Senior Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9013 0531
M: + 61 413 017 959
Tony Carveth- Senior Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9013 0531
M: +61 438 081 496