NEW YORK (Jan. 4, 2011) — Online advertisements have the power to make consumers more confident about managing their finances and therefore more likely to achieve financial goals, according to About.com’s 2010 Business and Finance Study.
The study, conducted online in October, examined what consumers prefer in personal finance ads, what makes those ads most effective and what brands can do to attract new customers. Overall, it was found that the Internet is enabling consumers to take charge of their finances in diverse ways from saving to starting a small business.
“When it comes to personal finance, more than half of the respondents indicated they prefer online ads that teach them about how to manage their finances,” said Evan Minskoff, vice president, marketing, the About Group. “If a marketer’s ad message directly addresses a consumer’s need, in this case how to manage personal finances, then the brand being advertised can become an active part of that person’s solution. This reciprocal relationship is crucial for brand loyalty.”
Thirty-two percent of respondents indicated they prefer ads with promotions and coupons, and 30 percent prefer ads with printable tips. The most effective online financial ads are relevant to content on the page (43 percent), funny (28 percent), and visually appealing (23 percent).
As a result of seeing a personal finance ad on About.com:
· 58 percent of respondents did more research and comparison shopped online.
· 46 percent visited an advertiser’s Web site.
· 30 percent recommended product or service to family and friends.
· 24 percent printed out the ad or coupon.
· 15 percent purchased the product or subscribed to the service.
Consumers are increasingly taking charge of their own finances by using online resources and 70 percent of respondents said they are confident in doing so. Seventy percent of respondents also said they go online at least once a month to seek financial information and 48 percent seek more information online at least once a week. Consumers also look to financial professionals (48 percent) and family/friends (42 percent) for advice.
Additionally, the study found a balance between consumers enjoying the present and saving to achieve future goals.
When enjoying the present, consumers still use credit cards, regardless of the economy, with47 percent indicating they will spend the same or more this year in order ‘to pay for what they want and need.’ When it comes to choosing that credit card, annual fees are a large factor. Consumers are most interested in credit cards with low/no annual fees (71 percent) and a company they can trust (48 percent). Leading motivators for saving and managing money are security (65 percent), retirement (64 percent) and travel and vacations (60 percent).
The study also examined how small business owners use the Internet and their preference for online advertisements. Sixty percent of small business owners prefer to view and interact with educational ads because they encourage entrepreneurialism, instill confidence and provide tools to better their business.
Ad creative also plays a factor when it comes to effectiveness. The study shows that 47 percent of small business respondents prefer ads that are integrated with the adjacent content, 41 percent prefer visually appealing ads with lots of color and pictures, and 37 percent prefer ads with a sense of humor.Forty percent of respondents said they would also like relevant printable tips in an ad.
For example, as a result of seeing a business ad on About.com:
· 66 percent of respondents did more research and comparison shopped online.
· 51 percent visited the advertiser’s Web site.
Small business owners are motivated by flexibility, profitability and passion for their ideas. Fifty-five percent of respondents started their own business or plan to start a business in order to become their own boss. Small business owners also plan on increasing online forms of marketing next year, such as blogs, social media, relevant content sites and e-mail marketing.
For a copy of the full About.com 2010 Small Business and Finance Study, please contact Erica McDonald at email@example.com or 212-204-1724.
About The About Group
The About Group comprises the Web sites About.com, ConsumerSearch.com, UCompareHealthCare.comand CalorieCount.com. About.comis a valuable resource for content that helps users solve the large and small needs of everyday life. ConsumerSearch.comanalyzes expert and user-generated consumer product reviews and recommends the best products to purchase based on the findings.
UCompareHealthCare.comprovides dynamic interactive tools that enable users to measure the quality of healthcare services. CalorieCount.comis an online resource that helps users solve the everyday challenges of losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle.
The About Group is part of The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), a leading media company with 2009 revenues of $2.4 billion, which includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, 15 other daily newspapers and more than 50 Web sites, including NYTimes.com, Boston.com and About.com. The Company’s core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment.