As the Coronavirus Crisis overturns entire sectors, consumer banking is heavily impacted. New data published last week by Yext, a US tech company, details a -13% drop in banking and finance internet searches. Brick and mortar banks were already struggling with challenger banks, Apple Card and Amazon’s expansion into business financial services.
This research is a leading indicator for consumer behavior, highlighting how banks can leverage their physical presence to capture growth during COVID-19.
How do physical bank branches drive Google traffic that digital-only businesses can’t match?
Google My Business is a platform for businesses to share information with consumers via Search and Maps. We’ve identified an opportunity for our bank clients to leverage their local branch profiles with enriched photos and content at scale.
Each bank branch has its own Google My Business page. When someone searches for “Investment advisor near me” you can show your local branch facility’s information, photos and website. Digital-only competitors cannot create profiles as they don’t have physical locations. Your Google My Business profile appears as organic traffic on page one search results. Optimizing the profiles of your local branches enables you to outcompete digital-only providers for local search, which accounts for 46% of all Google searches.
Banks need to leverage their networks’ Google My Business profiles to manage their brand. Optimizing profiles with trending search terms outlined in this research and professional photos will drive organic search traffic. This traffic will be aligned with your services and reduce the number of low-value logistics questions for your call centers.
Increased US consumer interest in ATMs, Bank Branches, Banking Services and Mortgage Services.
Search intent is driving different outcomes as US consumers show a clear preference for personal advice on mortgages. However, an increase in the calls for basic topics like ATMs and Bank Branches indicate banks are not providing consumers with clear information about their facilities.
- Banking Service searches drove +31% more web traffic than last year.
- Bank Branches drove +84% phone calls and +78% web traffic.
- ATMs lead to +79% phone calls but only +8% web traffic
- Mortgage Services produced +27% phone calls but 0% change to web traffic
As an example, a review of Chase’s Google My Business profiles show the bank’s ATMs, drive-thru and other facilities are obstructed in StreetView and poor quality user-generated images. Publishing professional photos of the local facilities and services across the network will engage consumers to act faster and free up bank advisors from low-value logistical questions to discuss more valuable subjects like Mortgages.
For Canada, we have less Yext data but it is clear consumers are reacting differently.
There is a +93% increase in searches for Investments and a +306% increase in Business Financial Services, as well as a -50% drop in Loans searches. Overall there is a +29.3% increase in financial services searches in Canada. So if I was TD Bank, I would focus my Google My Business profiles on helping Canadian businesses manage COVID-19’s financial impact and clearly explaining individuals’ investment options.
In Europe, we see -66% decrease in ATM searches.
This may reflect a higher adoption of contactless payment, although I should note we are limited to data for the UK and Germany.
Hopefully this data helps you anticipate elements of the road ahead, and the unique opportunities to excel in each country. Improving your Google My Business profiles and photos leverages your local presence to improve your organic search results and positions you to win market share during this crisis.