Despite popular belief, digital marketing is not always a slam dunk. It requires the right mix of media and tactics to accomplish specific and measurable goals. 

In this article, we will explain how programmatic advertising works and how it will consistently fill your pipeline with potential investors who are seeking financial products and services. We will show you how to set attainable campaign goals and how programmatic advertising delivers predictable results from your desired audience at scale.      

The whole concept of reaching specific and measurable goals may sound familiar, especially for financial professionals. A good example of this comparison is the concept of “buy low and sell high,” a fairly basic tenet of investing. When bidding for digital impressions on an exchange, the goal is to get more exposure on desired channels at the most efficient price.


How Does Programmatic Advertising Work?

Just like with the stock market, programmatic advertising takes advantage of an open marketplace, where marketers bid on available impressions across multiple websites. The relative value of these impressions is based on demand plus the amount of data needed to reach a desired audience. 

Rather than reaching out to hundreds of website and app owners, or setting up accounts at multiple media companies, financial marketing can be done through a trading desk with the help of a digital agency

Done correctly, programmatic marketing can connect you to untapped audiences. In this post, we’ll cover the importance of having and reaching the right audience, establishing campaign goals pre-launch and performing automated and manual programmatic optimizations to ensure your campaign’s success. 


Table of Contents: 

You can discover what makes them respond and which products they are considering. It can get the right message in front of the right audience at the right time and help you outsmart the competition. 

To learn more about the ins-and-outs of Programmatic Advertising and how it works…


First, Let’s Talk About Programmatic Audiences

In financial marketing, this is likely to be the most important element of a digital campaign. Depending on an asset manager’s ideal target audience, with programmatic advertising, ads can target, in pinpoint fashion high-net worth individuals, someone within a specific income range who is “in-market” to invest and grow their wealth. 

Programmatic advertising allows marketers to tap into those who have downloaded investing apps or who are frequent readers of Barron’s or the Wall Street Journal. It can target people who live in affluent areas or own second homes. There is even a way to target people who frequent country clubs or luxury car dealerships. 

Programmatic marketing can connect you to untapped audiences.

Bottom line? The most exciting thing about programmatic advertising is how efficiently and effectively it pinpoints an audience. It’s lightyears from how advertising was purchased and placed just a few years ago. “If financial marketers have not tapped into this capability, they are missing incredible opportunities and wasting budget. In some of our studies, we’ve seen even up to 40% wasted ad spend.” – Joshua Prizer V.P. of SEM & Programmatic Advertising

More Examples of Programmatic Targeting to Reach Potential Investors:

  • Robinhood app users, Acorns Apps users, Betterment, CNBC, Bloomberg, Barron’s
  • Younger professionals, mostly male, who live and work in major metropolitan areas
  • High Net Worth (>$1M)
  • ETF Investors, Active Traders
  • Those interested in ESG, Sustainability or Green Economy Investing
  • Those three times as likely to have a graduate degree
  • Researching luxury travel destinations, fine wines, and real estate

But how do you know if it’s working? We will discuss KPIs and Campaign Goals for your Programmatic Marketing next.


Programmatic Advertising KPIs and Campaign Goals

Just like a hedge fund manager buys and sells investments into the fund with a goal of growing wealth for investors, financial marketers play an active role in the success of their campaigns. For this reason, it is imperative to know what your end goal is before you begin. 

What is the desired outcome, or Key Performance Indicator (KPI):

A KPI is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs at multiple levels to evaluate their success at reaching targets. High-level KPIs may focus on the overall performance of the business, while low-level KPIs may focus on processes in departments such as sales, marketing, HR, support and others.

For example, do you want to drive a certain number of click-throughs (CTRs) or clicks per month, visits to the mutual fund or ETF product page or Fact Sheet downloads. In other cases, you may want to track a softer goal for asset flows.

The beauty of programmatic marketing is that it can be automated to reach a specific goal. Campaign goals will vary, depending on the type of investment, the marketing budget, and the duration of the campaign. One way to understand KPIs is to consider where the prospect is within the sales cycle.

Sales Cycle KPIs Could Look Something Like This: 

  • Marketer seeks new potential clients who are interested in ETFs
  • Advisor releases a white paper on ETFs and starts a digital campaign to encourage free downloads
  • Audience must be prequalified as “In-Market for ETFs”
  • The goal is to get at least 100 new leads when people download the whitepaper

KPI = Clicks to the landing page

To accomplish this particular KPI, a digital marketing expert will identify the audience, set a bid price for how much they are willing to pay per 1,000 impressions (CPM), and only target that audience. Because a click is the desired goal, frequency of reach within the target audience is a priority, meaning the target audience will see the ad multiple times per month across multiple channels. 

Other Examples of KPIs in The Financial Marketing Space Could Include:

  • Capturing a prospect’s email address to send a newsletter
  • Scheduling consultations with prospective clients
  • Impressions from new website users
  • Phone calls to the financial business
  • Tracking downloads of ETF or Mutual Fund Literature like Fact Sheets, Prospectuses or Summary Prospectuses

Whatever the KPI, an experienced programmatic digital marketer can translate this into an actionable campaign that will drive results and deliver a consistent supply of new clients.

Managing a programmatic advertising campaign against a single KPI, such as clicks, requires frequent checks to ensure that impressions are being served at the desired bid price. Tactics also should be reviewed often to analyze their performance against the KPI.  Any tactic that is falling short will be adjusted or reallocated to better performing tactics.  This process is known as optimization


How Does Programmatic Campaign Optimization Work? 

One thing is certain: If a financial advisor understands how to increase a client’s net worth through smart investing, he or she has already done their share of optimization, so the concept of programmatic advertising should be easy to visualize.

Many financial marketing specialists talk about optimization as something that is automated, and it certainly can be. However, the best way to ensure a campaign’s success is to employ both automated and manual optimizations. 

For example, if you work with a digital marketing agency, your financial marketing specialist will check the results regularly to ensure campaign goals are being met, impressions are delivered, clicks are recorded, and you are getting measurable results. If any of these metrics is slightly off, it could impact the trajectory of the campaign and lead to lackluster results. For this reason, the best financial marketers manually tweak the campaign to enhance performance based on leading indicators and their experience. 


Financial Marketing That Fills The Pipeline

While the technical aspects of programmatic advertising might seem overwhelming, there is one thing that we can all agree on. Filling the pipeline of prospective investors, whether institutional, investment professional, self-directed investor or retail, is what makes all the targeting and optimization worthwhile. 

When the end result is a short list of highly qualified and interested prospects that might have been impossible to reach otherwise, it is easy to see why asset managers, investment management firms and financial advisors seek out programmatic advertising digital experts. 

AUM – It’s Not Just About New Clients

Targeting the right audience for financial services may be the primary objective, but programmatic advertising can do even better. The warmest leads for any financial advisor are those that have already entered the lead pipeline. With the right mix of messaging and digital tactics, it is possible to re-engage existing clients, revive lapsed prospects, and convert existing prospects simultaneously. This will drive new AUM via new flows and help retention.

Consistency Is Key

During 2020 and 2021, many companies have chosen to cut back on marketing efforts because they assumed their customer base was consumed with a COVID-related financial meltdown. However, financial marketers who remained consistent have reaped rewards as the U.S. economy reopened.

Consistency is best achieved by allowing that campaign data to continue rolling in. 

When optimization is done properly, a financial marketing professional will learn a lot about the people who respond to their messaging – what they read, which messages inspire clicks, whether they click on mobile ads or desktop, and what they all have in common. 

Much like how a professional money manager has the expertise to manage investment portfolios, an experience programmatic trader can analyze all of those incoming data points from a campaign to decipher what is working and what isn’t.

There are a lot of levers to pull in any digital marketing campaign. Some levers have a large effect while others have a smaller effect.

That’s where experience comes into play — making sure the trader monitoring your campaigns can recognize the signals coming in from the data and pull the appropriate levers at the right time.

Plus, using an agency rather than a single internal resource grants access to an entire marketing team with multiple levels of insight and experience.


Closing Thoughts on Programmatic Advertising in the Financial Industry

GET STARTED. NOW! QUICKLY. If you have read this far, it’s likely you are a forward-thinking financial marketer who is interested in leveraging data and consumer behavior to engage with new customers. 

The best way to determine the right financial marketing strategy is to implement a programmatic strategy that learns from itself and can deliver predictable results from your desired audience at scale. But most investment advisors struggle to find the right mix of digital marketing. Or they don’t know how to measure its success. Working with a digital marketing agency, like Zero Company Performance Marketing, takes all the guesswork out and gives you time to focus on building your business. In the past, we’ve found that just in what we save clients, not even in the additional revenue we generate, we pay for our agency management fee within the first few months of managing a campaign. 

If you need help executing any of the programmatic advertising campaign elements discussed here get in touch today

(before a competitor does)! Our team of financial marketing programmatic advertising experts would love to help you market your firm’s funds, services or investment approach to drive AUM growth. It’s easy. Get in touch here.