Millennials comprise the majority of new primary banking relationships, making them a critical component of financial institutions’ marketing strategies, according to a recent study from MarketingCharts. The report delves into search data from Hitwise, a division of Connexity, to identify the search terms that provide a window into this young generation’s financial habits and preferences.
Based on Millennials’ top 1000 search terms within the banks and financial institutions industry over a 12-week period spanning Q1 2016, the report shows that “calculator” is one of the top-indexing search terms for Millennials, comprising 1.05% of their topÂ searches (compared to just 0.87% for the online population on average). Not surprisingly, Millennials also over-index in searches for “student loan” (0.2% share of searches, versus 0.16% for the adult average).
Combined with other research contained in the study, the results speak to the large influence of student loans with this generation, with student loans second only to credit cards when it comes to the most prevalent forms of debt held by 22-35-year-olds.
One of the key themes uncovered in the report is the extent to which Millennials feel that they lack financial guidance. In fact, 15% of 18-34-year-olds agree that they would pay any price for good financial advice, being 4% more likely than the average adult to feel this way.
Among these “advice-seekers,” as they’re named in the report, the term “payment” is a popular one, racking up 0.34% share of search terms, almost three times the share of the online population average (0.13%).
Meanwhile, 15% of Millennials (18-34) agree that their friends or associates often ask for their advice in financial matters, making them 7% more likely than the adult average to agree with this statement. It’s extremely important to connect with these influencers, as data contained in the report shows that Millennials are 28% more likely than the average adult to say that word-of-mouth is their top reason for choosing a primary bank.
For Millennial “advice-givers,” the term “near me” captures twice the share of their top 1,000 search terms as the online population average (0.2% vs. 0.1%). This is an important point to take into account: while Millennials show an above-average openness to digital-only financial institutions, they also cite branch location as one of their top factors when choosing a primary bank.
This appears to be a bigger reason for older than younger Millennials, and it should be noted that Millennials under-index the adult average in citing branch location as their top decision influencer. Nevertheless, it may explain why Millennials are gravitating to the top-3 banks at a greater rate than other adults when making new primary bank relationships.
More details on decision criteria and search terms – including Millennials’ top-indexing financial search terms and top non-brand keywords – are contained in the report, which is available for purchase here.