Visa: How FIs can Boost Digital Marketing Strategies

In its latest report, Visa Consulting & Analytics outlines key recommendations for financial institutions looking to boost their digital strategies

In today’s digital world, the need to adopt robust digital marketing strategies is more important than ever – with consumers flooded with more information and choices than ever before. 

Perfecting the art of being found online, the latest report from Visa Consulting & Analytics, outlines four key recommendations for financial institutions looking to boost their digital marketing strategies, with tips on navigating the digital landscape, fine-tuning an online presence and staying competitive in the face of rapid digital evolution.

Establish a full-funnel operation model

Firstly, Visa Consulting & Analytics says the most effective way to target new customers online is by deploying a full-funnel sales strategy – with brand-building methods for top-funnel customers and data-driven performance marketing methods for bottom-funnel prospects. 

The report reveals that FIs adding additional investment in full-funnel tactics see 52% more incremental sales. 

Visa’s report continues: “By using a strategy based on data, FIs can focus more on areas that deliver better results. Therefore, many organisations try to blend brand building and data-driven marketing. They do this by using linked channels and measurements, which brings a full digital marketing strategy to life.”

Of course, to employ this properly, FIs need an “integrated system that measures location-based tests, different types of media and unit economics because, if investments are directed at a full-funnel sales strategy, incremental performance and outcomes should be measured precisely to optimise profitability”. 

Build visibility in organic channels 

Second, Visa’s report highlights the need for FIs to enhance their visibility in online channels. In particular, they should prioritise mobile search engine optimisation (SEO), after Google moved to a mobile-first SEO approach. 

“Today’s sites should therefore be initially designed and built for mobile, then adapted secondarily for desktop. A few other mobile optimisation opportunities relate to page speed (such as compressing images for faster loading times). FIs need to remember that, above all, Google aims to make the user experience fluid and seamless – hence the regular algorithm updates,” says Visa. 

It also notes that FIs should consider structured data as the buffer between an organisation’s site and a search engine, to help the search engine understand what the website is about - making it more likely that an FIs content is highly ranked and giving it a richer appearance in the search results. 

FIs should also have an eye on zero-click content, according to Visa, with Google’s Gen AI capabilities now able to automatically provide content responses on the search engine results page (SERP), providing users answers without requiring them to click through to the website.

Build visibility in paid search and digital ads

Paid search and digital ads are also becoming an increasingly popular choice for organisations and businesses worldwide. Alphabet Inc’s paid search revenues grew 12.7% for the full year 2023, and it continues to be Google’s largest source of income. 

However, Visa’s report highlights that the way search engines select and serve ads is changing, and FIs are no exception; they should adapt their approaches to meet these aims. 

Visa says AI-enabled tools, like Google’s Performance Max, can complement keyword-based search campaigns. “It helps drive performance on specified conversion goals by optimising performance in real-time using smart bidding.” 

Focus on keywords is vital too, with quality scores driven by click-through rates, page relevance and ad-relevance to keywords. 

“Moreover, there must be an integrated organisational approach to keywords across both SEO and search engine marketing (SEM),” Visa adds.

Google is expected to eliminate third-party cookies from its Chrome browser this year too, so FIs should look to build first-party data collection capabilities, increase the collection of second-party data and experiment with contextual and interest-based targeting.

Build visibility through partners and affiliates 

Lastly, Visa advises FIs to build visibility through affiliates and partners, with embedded finance models set to become increasingly prevalent. 

There are various options at play for FIs, says Visa, “ranging from light to deep strategic partnerships”. 

“As a first step, they should look to build stronger merchant partnerships and work out how the sales and distribution of products could best be integrated into digital journeys. These partnerships can also be fortified with strong activation and usage programmes to attain card-on-file and top-of-wallet status.”

Google: SEO update

Google’s latest Helpful Content Update (HCU), alongside its recent core algorithmic update, which finished rolling out in late April 2024, has seen brand search, internal linking and content pillars move to the top of SEO considerations. 

This includes experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (EEAT) in the content made available on Google’s search engine, with high-quality content now heavily favoured on Google’s search engine. 

This move comes as Google looks for an answer to address low-quality content and other manipulative practices related to spam. 

Last year, Technology Magazine looked at how Google has evolved in the 25 years since its founding, from search pioneer to delivering AI breakthroughs.  

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