Financial audience signals and contextual targeting


Hayley Dawson

Senior Account Manager

Posted on December 4, 2017

For decades brands have defined their consumers based on age, gender and other demographic characteristics to create a persona that represents a particular audience segment. There are still a lot of brands defining their consumers in this way, despite the huge advancement in technological innovation and the rise of signals. Instead, we should be using real audience signals, activated by consumers to understand their online behaviours and intent.

It must be noted that there is still a place for personas in financial marketing – they are great at informing engaging content marketing, targeting the pains and frustrations of different audience segments. However, your brand is missing an important opportunity to target even more precisely if it is not analysing audience signals to identify where they are in their individual journey to purchase.

If a consumer has activated lots of signals by logging into your website, searching for your brand name in Google, reading some of your online content and engaging with your social media posts – does their age, gender or annual income really matter? Probably not. Their signals tell you they are interested and what they are interested in specifically.

Contextual targeting tools such as Google’s Display Network (GDN) allow you to capitalise on these signals and connect with your financial audience precisely when they show interest. The sophisticated algorithm scans web page content to ensure the Display Network serves your ads to the right audience from its pool of 92% of internet users. This approach can increase acquisition rates and help existing customers find additional products that fit their financial needs.

For example, long term care funding plans would typically be of interest to people aged 50-65 who are considering their care funding options as they approach retirement. However, audience signals may show the middle-aged daughter of a couple meeting the above criteria has been searching for long term care funding plans in Google, reading articles on a particular financial hub, revisiting the site a few days later after being served an ad on another site and interacting with the contact us page of your website. She does not meet the usual demographic of the long term care funding plan persona, but contextual targeting has analysed her media signals to serve her a relevant ad through the Google Display Network.

Using contextual targeting in financial marketing can increase your chances of acquiring a new customer or improving your relationship with existing clients by responding to their actions.