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Cogent Reports Reveals Firms with Best Advisor Websites

At a time when asset manager marketing dollars are being funneled into digital technology, new data from Cogent Reports reveal that digital touches, including website exposure, are well worth the investment, as they provide a measurable lift to brand consideration. According to advisors, American Funds, First Trust and Vanguard offer the best overall website experience, and are, therefore, poised to gain the most momentum with their digital marketing outreach. These and other findings are from Advisor Touchpoints™, an annual Cogent Reports™ study by Market Strategies International-Morpace.

“Website exposure plays a vital role in boosting advisor brand consideration and is a key ingredient of the optimal marketing mix,” said Sonia Sharigian, product director at Market Strategies-Morpace and author of the report. “As innovative and cutting-edge as providers are striving to be, about half of all advisor website visits are still prompted by the need for product information and fact sheets. For providers, the real challenge is how to showcase other insights and tools to optimize their online engagement with advisors while creating an incentive to come back in the future for more content.”

According to the study, additional features that drive website visits include access to client-ready marketing materials, economic and market information, business-building ideas, and tools and analytic capabilities. The advisors who express the most interest in these types of content include Independent and Bank producers; advisors with smaller books of business, who may not have as much firm-level resource support; and advisors just starting out in their careers, who are typically hungrier for knowledge.

Top 10 Leaders in Overall Advisor Website Experience

1.     American Funds

2.     First Trust

3.     Vanguard

4.     Franklin Templeton Investments

5.     BlackRock Funds

6.     Fidelity Investments

7.     iShares

8.     J.P. Morgan

9.     DFA (Dimensional Fund Advisors)

10.   State Street Global Advisors

Source: Market Strategies International. Cogent Reports. Advisor Touchpoints. August 2018. 
 

In a companion qualitative research study, Cutting Through the Digital Marketing Clutter™, Cogent Reports gathered detailed feedback from advisors on several leading asset manager websites.

“Best-in-class websites are touted for easy navigation; drop-down menus; relevant tools; and customized, client-friendly and downloadable content. If required to log in, advisors expect to be rewarded with more authoritative insights and specialized tools in exchange for providing their contact information,” said Linda York, senior vice president at Market Strategies-Morpace. “Make no mistake, digital technology is quickly becoming table stakes. Asset managers, who are being evaluated by advisors through the digital lens first, should strive to integrate their digital outreach through websites, mobile apps and email to streamline the advisor experience.”

About Advisor Touchpoints™

Cogent Reports conducted an online survey of a representative cross section of 1,242 advisors from April through June 2018. Survey participants are required to have an active book of business of at least $5 million and offer investment advice or planning services to individual investors on a fee or transactional basis. In determining the sampling frame for this study, Cogent Reports ensures data are representative of the advisor population. Strict quotas are set during the data collection period, and post-fielding statistical weighting (where necessary) is applied. The data have a margin of error of ±2.78% at the 95% confidence level. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of any survey questions upon request.

About Cutting Through the Digital Marketing Clutter™

Cogent Reports conducted a series of online discussion boards with financial advisors in June 2018. The study included a representative mix of 51 financial advisors who were required to have at least five years of industry experience and $25 million or more in AUM. One discussion board comprised of Digital Devotees, advisors who rely heavily on digital content and place high value on mobile apps and web-based solutions in their client-service approach. The other discussion board was a mix of other Cogent Advisor Segments (Insight Enthusiasts, Data Vaulters and Selective Oracles). Due to its opt-in nature, these qualitative methods (like most others) do not yield random probability samples of the target population. As such, it is not possible to compute a margin of error or to statistically quantify the accuracy of projections. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of questions upon request.

 

For more on advisor marketing preferences, read our recent blog post, Mobile Apps Boost Advisor Consideration.

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