Can a stodgy financial firm be the force behind a viral video?
The answer is clearly yes, but the jury is still out on the ultimate success of the effort.
Mutual fund marketers are going where the audience is — on YouTube — and some are attracting viewers in the millions.
In a new quarterly survey by Dalbar on what mutual funds are doing to drive traffic to their websites and engage investors, the Boston-based research firm has found these companies are indeed producing popular content.
But as memories of high school attest, popularity can be fleeting and the report interestingly finds that the number of investors who ultimately subscribe to these firms’ YouTube pages is vanishingly small.
Of the 6.6 million viewers of the third quarter’s most popular video, just 16 subscribed.
That said, marketers have other goals including brand awareness, clicking around the site and of course, ultimately, sales — something that may be hard if not impossible to correlate with a visit to a firm’s YouTube channel.
So the marketers carry on with the slow-going but essential effort to engage investors, and have produced some remarkable videos, linked below.
Dalbar’s 44-page report, of course, slices and dices the data and produces some interesting analytical insights.
For example, readers of the report can see that it really is true that video length is a barrier to viewership. They find that viewers will watch roughly half of a 3- to 4-minute video, a percentage that climbs to nearly 78% for a video that is under 30 seconds.
Yet, in at least one case below, a video of over 13 minutes sustained viewers’ attention.
Dablar’s managing director Kathleen Whalen tells ThinkAdvisor that the challenge for marketers intensifies depending on the audience a firm is going after:
“As you attempt to gain interest and engagement from the more affluent, the level of difficulty is exponentially increased. The real key to success is to have a well thought out plan that is intended to transform these views, this delight with the videos, in to new business for the firm. The Nationwide video “Jingle, Featuring Peyton Manning” elicited the comment “Makes me wanna switch to Nationwide,” and needs to be the goal for every marketer when creating these YouTube videos.”
Herewith are the 10 financial firm YouTube channels with the most hits out of 55 firms evaluated by Dalbar during the period from July 1 through Sept. 30.
Total Views: 11,550
The fund company makes its YouTube page easily discoverable on the fund’s homepage. While the page offers a few off the beaten path videos on philanthropic topics with “Stories from Peru” or about “Why Volunteer Abroad,” most of the videos, and the most popular ones, are portfolio-oriented. That includes its most popular video: “Open Your Portfolio to New Investment Ideas: Growth, Income. Protection” (2:10 minutes).
Total Views: 16,365
The military-oriented financial services company uploaded 31 different videos onto its YouTube page in the third quarter, and Dalbar was impressed that the videos ran the gamut of five different “purpose categories.” One of those videos was “Chalk Talk Life Insurance: Starting Early” (1:15 minutes). Writes Dalbar:
“Through communication of a personal experience, this presentation illustrates the need for life insurance early on in life, when one is young and healthy. With a mixed composition of both animated and real elements this video…effectively conveys the intended message.”
Total Views: 18,229
The Boston-based insurance and investment firm’s YouTube page plays to the home team with its video, “Celebrating Life’s Moments,” a 33-second spot set at Fenway Park. The firm celebrated Life Insurance Awareness Month by sponsoring “free family photo day.” The clip’s happy Red Sox fans thus got a chance to pose with loved ones and consider “what matters most in life.”
Total Views: 35,352
Some firms will attract attention with theatrics, even cartoons, but not Goldman Sachs. The buttoned down Wall Street firm employs a “serious tone in their educational and economic insight videos, which are intended to grab user’s full attention for more in-depth subject matter while at the same time underscoring the credibility of the message,” Dalbar writes.
This video posted July 10 is also about a sports stadium — in this case Levi’s Stadium in Silicon Valley, new home of the San Francisco 49ers. But instead of happy fans as John Hancock portrayed, Goldman discusses the “team effort” employed in financing its high-tech construction.
Total Views: 112,697