Impact of third party websites on consumers’ journey and purchase decisions

Impact of third party websites on consumers’ journey and purchase decisions

For any brand targeting their prospects, it is important to understand how their brand is found or rather, how their potential customers search for brands within their industry. In several of our research studies it was found that consumers rely heavily on third party and aggregator sites when making a brand choice within an industry.

Our research studies found that even though most consumers have a brand in mind before they begin their research, most prefer to use a search engine when researching products or services to then take them through to brand or aggregator sites.preferred brand search journey

So, how can you use search to better your chance of being a preferred brand within an industry?

  1. Aim to meet the broader needs of consumers by tailoring the search creative to the search keywords. Consider paid search for keywords where third party sites are getting featured snippet listings to ensure your brand stays in the mindset.
  2. Tailor search ad creative to the search keyword entered like Budget Direct and Australian Super.
  3. Endeavor to attain a high position on search engines. As seen in the heat map below, most clicks are for the top listings.

best super fund search results compare car insurance search results

search results heat map

Why are consumers going from search through to aggregator sites?

  1. The ease of comparing options and seeing a range of companies in one place are the main reasons consumers want to use an aggregator site.
  2. Almost half of consumers incorrectly think that all companies are shown on aggregator sites and they’ll get the best deals there. This is a risk for brands, if you are not present on the aggregator site – you may lose a chance to join the consumers’ consideration set.

why consumers compare brands

When looking at specific industries, the graphs below show the impact that aggregator sites have on final preferences when it comes to consumers choosing a preferred brand. For example in superannuation, overall 20% of consumers preferred AustralianSuper. However, when we just look at those who visited Canstar as part of their research, 30% of those consumers went on to prefer AustralianSuper.

Interestingly, when we look at energy the two biggest players, AGL and Origin, get a far lower final preference rate from those who used an aggregator site.

Final preference superannuation

final preference home insurance

final preference car insurance

final preference energy

Whilst we acknowledge that aggregator sites are not always the preferred strategy for some brands, there is no doubt that third party sites such as search and aggregators have an impact on which brands consumers ultimately choose as their preferred provider, and there is ample opportunity for brands to take advantage of the popularity of third party websites and increase the likelihood of being chosen as a final preference.

To summarise our findings from our research studies, here are a few key insights and opportunities for brands:

INSIGHTSOPPORTUNITIES
During the consumers' discovery journey, third party sites often gain the most visits- Ensure your brand has a presence on third party sites relevant to your industry
Third party sites are attracting visits through search engine results pages (SERPs)- Tailor search ad creative to key words to ensure more relevance against the third party offering
- Consider paid search for some specific targeted search terms to ensure your brand stays top of mind
Consumer behaviour and display of information on third party sites will affect how competitive your product looks against other brands- Consider tailored products for promotion on third party sites
- Look at ways to gain more exposure on third party sites
Many consumers arriving at your website will already have completed a lot of research at a third party site - they will not want to 'start again'- Offer multiple pathways to products based on the different stages of decision making

To learn more on what you, as a brand can do, see what we revealed during our webinar on this topic or contact us today:

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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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Superannuation companies are not delivering on customers’ top needs

Superannuation companies are not delivering on customers’ top needs

Superannuation is a unique industry whereby consumers are influenced as to which brand they choose by a broad range of inputs such as employers, financial advisors and family. With so many external factors feeding into the decision making process, it is imperative that once consumers are on the website that they’re met with a strong online experience, otherwise they’ll be easily swayed by external factors rather than what the brand can offer them that competitor brands cannot.

The top reasons for consumers to shortlist a superannuation brand for further consideration, as defined by market research conducted in January 2016, were brand recognition (I was familiar with their names 48%) and search engine placement (I saw them when using search engine 40%).

Looking more specifically at website performance in conjunction with branding, top rating reasons were trust in the brand (35%), the website helped compare options (26%), product/offers easy to understand (26%) and looks easy to use (25%).

Top reasons for shortlisting a superannuation brand

Why shortlist brands

All these reasons for shortlisting a company each have their own features which can help improve the overall customer experience. As seen from the scores, one of the most important reasons for shortlisting a company is trust in the brand, however, online customer experience research conducted in July 2016 saw an industry average for building trust on the website at only 54%.

While the industry is already making moves towards including more features and functions that can build consumer trust, there are many features and functions that still need to be improved.

There is currently no company within this industry, that we measured, that is performing outstandingly in the area of meeting expectations and building trust. The top performer is Sunsuper with 61%. Considering the average is 54%, the general performance of the industry is pretty poor. The companies that are not scoring well, such as BT (47%) and EquipSuper (46%), would benefit most from improving on features that will help build consumer trust.

Meet expectations & build trust benchmark scores

Meet expectations & build trust

Given the low scores within the superannuation industry, it becomes important to look to other industries to learn ways in which to improve a sense of trust on a website. Nationwide, a UK home insurance company, is the top performer for building trust. Nationwide scores a perfect 100%, which is 39% higher than the top performer in the superannuation industry.

So what can be learnt from the home insurance industry when it comes to meeting expectations and building trust, what is done differently and what is similar?

When comparing Nationwide with the superannuation industry, there are a number of features that the home insurance industry utilise better than the superannuation industry.

  • The first feature noticed when comparing websites, is the lack of a phone number on some superannuation websites. The phone number of Nationwide is hidden under the tab additional information, and while this might not be the optimal way for customers to notice it, it is still accessible.
  • The second feature that Nationwide has is a feedback feature on every page. This can be of major importance for companies to help guide website adjustments to better meet customer needs and lessen any problems customers may experience whilst on the site.
  • The last feature that Nationwide has that many superannuation sites do not, is a trust building page about history of the provider. If customers can see the origins of the company, it can instill a greater sense of trust than having no context as to where this brand came from.

Some other functions that can be of great value, but are not used by a lot of companies within the industry are having ‘why choose us/this fund’ content easily accessible i.e. within a click of the homepage/landing page. Superannuation brands all offer similar, if not the same, products so it is important for a prospective customer to be able to differentiate between brands in order to make an informed decision.

Also important is having information available on the fund’s performance within a click from the homepage, and how the chosen fund compares to other funds. This last feature, the comparing of funds, is currently only used by two companies in the industry. This is an important element that should be used by a brand to differentiate themselves from competitors.

To find out more, please download this FREE report.

Superannuation Digital Effectiveness Report (2016)

Next round of superannuation research is about to commence. Register your details to ensure your brand is captured in the next round of studies.

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Superannuation websites aren’t delivering on the customers’ top needs

Written by Justin van Vliet

When asking prospective superannuation customers to rate the most important features while researching for a superannuation provider, the top three responses all revolved around information; information about account fees and charges, information that is easy to understand, and information about investment fee and charges. However, not all superannuation websites are delivering on these needs.

Most important elements on a website when researching superannuation online

important superannuation information

Despite the highest rated information feature being around account fees and charges, Australian superannuation providers are only averaging a score of 38% when it comes to displaying this information on their websites. Of the brands measured, only CareSuper and Equipsuper scored above 40% for this area.

Benchmark scores for feature and functions around fees/charges information

fees and charges scores

The reason why the industry scores significantly low within this area comes down to the use of oversimplified tables used to present fees and charges information. As a result, there is vital information that is missing. The most commonly missing information from company websites are; information on how fees are charged, the frequency and amount of the charges, and basic explanations around the fees. This lack of information presented on their website is the only area that the lowest scoring companies have in common.

Of the brands measured,the companies scoring lower than industry average here are BT, ANZ Super and ING Direct.

So what is it that these companies are lacking and what can they do to improve?

BT, who only scored 10% for fees and charges information, is missing out on at least two features. Firstly, fees and charges are not as clearly labelled as “fees” etc. – meaning that consumers have to work harder to find this information. Secondly, the home/landing page does not have content or a link around ongoing monthly/yearly fees.  BT is the only company that was benchmarked that is currently missing this feature on their webpage.

Whilst ANZ Super and ING Direct have all the features mentioned above, they still have areas where they are lacking and therefore pulling down their scores. Even though ING Direct is the best overall performer within this industry, the website does not score well regarding information on account fees & charges. When comparing ING and ANZ Super in displaying information about fees and charges, their content is similar, but their presentation differs.

ANZ Super – fees and charges informationanz-feesING Direct – fees and charges information ing-direct-super-fees

ING Direct and ANZ Super both scored 30% thanks to both including the same features on their sites. The difference between the two, however, is the way in which they display the information. ING Direct has opted for an accordion approach, which when all the sections are open, result in a longer page using a lot of space, meanwhile ANZ Super uses less space by condensing, and missing out on, critical fee information.

A company that is doing well regarding displaying information about both account and investment fees and charges is CareSuper. CareSuper scored 60%, 22% higher than the industry average for this area. The driver behind the higher score lies within the added content that is presented within the fees and charges table on their website. The table explains the type of fee, the amount, and the frequency of the fee charges. Furthermore, the page also provides an explanation above the table, and a call to action for help if needed. The page also indicates how account fees are charged along with the capability to compare fees to other superannuation funds, the date of when fees/charges are effective, and the terms and conditions surrounding the fees.

CareSuper – fees and charges information

CareSuper

Two companies that are new to the Global Reviews Digital Effectiveness Benchmark study are EquipSuper and Cbus, both of which scored higher than the industry average for the area around fees and charges information. Equipsuper scored 50% and Cbus 40% for their fees and charges information. The features that cause these strong positive scores for EquipSuper is the inclusion of contextual FAQS/a link to FAQs relevant to account fees, in addition to contextual contact details relevant to account fees.

As with BT, Cbus fails to clearly label the fees/charges and display the information ‘above the fold’. However, their score is held up by features that most other companies do not include on their account detail page which is the inclusion of content or link around how fees are charged, and the display of terms/conditions relating to the fees.

Although the majority of the companies within this industry are unfortunately scoring 40% or below for information around fees and charges, there are some quick wins that can help boost the industry average. By making minor changes such as adding more context and detail, this would help to drastically increase the score, the industry average, and ultimately help satisfy more customer needs.

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How are Australian consumers researching superannuation?

As part of our Digital Marketing Effectiveness programme we asked 200 Australians who were in the market for superannuation to use the internet to research, shortlist and choose a provider.

SuperannuationVisit our reports library to download FREE industry reports from across our digital marketing and digital sales effectiveness programmes.

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