NOVEMBER 20, 2007 – Financial services remain the largest online advertising category in the United States, after the conglomeration of �consumer related� categories such as automotive and media advertisers.
The industry accounted for 15% of all online advertising in the first half of 2007, or $1.5 billion worth of Internet ads, an increase of 18.7% over the same period in 2006, according to eMarketer calculations of the latest figures released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers (IAB/PwC).
That equals the industry�s entire online spending for 2005, when financial services accounted for just 12% of the total US online advertising spend.
But what are marketers getting for their buck? Not a lot of trust in the online channel, according to Vertis Communications’ �2007 Consumer Focus Tech Savvy Study.�
Overall, males in all age groups were more accepting of the Internet for financial products or services and investment advice. And the older the respondent, the less enthusiastic.
Young males are by far the most likely demographic group to use online financial products or accept investment advice over the Internet, at 28% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 26% of 25- to 34-year-olds.
Females in these age groups were less accepting, especially 18- to 24-year-olds, with just 13% of those respondents, and 17% of the 25- to 34-year-old group.
However, income level affected respondents� view of financial services on the Internet.
The higher the income, the greater the interest for males: 20% of male respondents with incomes of $75,000 or more said they would use online financial services, products or investment advice. Just 12% of females in that demo said the same, and only 8% of females in the $30,000 to $50,000 income range agreed.
Of course, �financial services� covers a wide range of products and services, from credit cards and personal banking accounts to insurance, stocks and mutual funds. The more complicated the financial product, the less likely consumers are to buy it or use it online.
But financial marketers who use the Internet for building brand or product awareness are still getting results.
Word-of-mouth from friends and family trumped the Internet as the main source of information on banking, insurance and brokerage products, according to a Lumin Collaborative survey conducted earlier this year. Credit cards � a relatively low-investment financial product � were the exception.
Considering that the majority of the US adult population is online � 65.2% of the US population ages 3 and over, according to eMarketer — family and friends are probably seeing those financial ads online, too.
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