News recall and advertising ranked at the bottom of Cogent's list of marketing boosters.

Financial advisors exposed to digital approaches by leading asset managers are more likely to increase their business with those firms than with one that lacks digital strategies, according to first quarter data from Cogent Reports.

At present, however, relatively few providers reach out to advisors in this way.

Advisors exposed to asset managers’ mobile apps, websites and webinars showed brand consideration levels 36 percentage points or higher than those reported by advisors who had not had such exposure, CR reported.

Only personal visits from a wholesaler provided a greater lift in advisors’ consideration levels than digital approaches, across nine types of marketing outreach, CR said in a statement.

The CR report, published Monday, was based on Q1 performance of marketing outreach at 15 leading mutual fund, ETF and variable annuity providers.

In Q1, the average lift achieved across the nine touchpoints CR tracks ranged from a low of 15 percentage points for news recall to 42 percentage points for mobile apps and websites.

On average, 76% of advisors exposed to asset managers’ proprietary mobile apps said they were likely to give more business to the firm, compared with only 34% of advisors who were not exposed — a 42 percentage-point lift.

Likewise, 68% of advisors who visited an asset manager’s website were likely to increase investments with the firm, compared with 26% of those who did not visit the same website.

Webinars ranked third in lifting consideration, with 70% of attendees likely to consider investing in the sponsors’ product offerings, vs. 34% who did not attend.

Following are the top firms, among 15 Cogent tracks, with digital strategies by category in terms of achieving brand consideration lifts in Q1:

  • State Street/SPDR among ETF providers: 34-percentage-point lift
  • Jackson National Life for variable annuity providers: 53-percentage-point lift
  • American Funds and Franklin Templeton for mutual fund providers: 47-point and 46-point lift, respectively

Cogent said that although mobile apps had the greatest effect, none of the providers it tracks achieved more than 5% penetration levels with their mobile app offerings in Q1. The top-performing webinar performer reached only 6% of advisors, it said.

In contrast, the more established marketing platform of websites had advisor penetration levels ranging from a high of 45% to a low of 7%.

“The good news is mobile apps and webinars deliver remarkable results,” Sonia Sharigian, senior product manager at CR’s parent, Market Strategies, said in a statement.

“The bad news is only small numbers of advisors are currently being engaged by asset managers via these methods.”

Christy White, managing director at Market Strategies, said in the statement that asset managers were missing an opportunity to capitalize on very powerful tools to engage advisors.

“However, with hard data that it works and low barriers to entry, this space has the potential to get very crowded, very quickly,” White said.

She noted that social media and news, which can comprise both company-sponsored and non-sponsored content, deliver positive results, though at the lower end of the spectrum. Advertising delivered only a 17 percentage-point lift in consideration.

“Keep in mind, ad performance is highly dependent on the size of the ad spend, the quality of the ad spend, and the quality of the creative,” White said.

“While some providers achieve very high lift, most achieve moderate to low lift.”