For Banking and Financial Services


2023 has been a year of big bang changes that will continue to shape the digital marketing universe for years to come. Our quarterly roundup of the trends and updates relevant for financial marketers dives into the data to bring you a snapshot of the latest news as well as insights into what it means for your 2024 strategy.


After relative stability over the last decade, 2023 brought in changes that are transforming financial marketing.

  • AI is driving innovation and growth across platforms
  • Search no longer necessarily starts on Google
  • Short videos and connected TV are more popular than ever
  • Privacy and security are top of mind for consumers and regulators
  • Continued economic uncertainty is taking a toll on consumer metrics

What do these trends mean for marketing strategy in 2024?

Despite all these changes, the fundamentals of what unites marketers remain the same: understanding and meeting user needs.

-Vish Sastry Rachakonda, Founder & CEO, iQuanti

Key Numbers

Countries Google’s Search Generative Experience is being rolled out to


Microsoft’s QoQ growth, it’s strongest ever


Gen Z follow a business after watching a Reel

Daily shares of Reels content on Meta


QoQ marketing spend on credit cards as a category

Active digital customers added by Wells Fargo in Q3 2023

In Focus

Getting Ready for 2024

Leveraging the Big Changes of 2023

Following a year of unprecedented changes, four trends will
reshape the performance marketing ecosystem in 2024

Find out what these transformative trends are — and what they mean for your
2024 digital marketing strategy.

Download the report for more insights on what these trends mean for you.

Digital Media Insights for Banking and Financial Services:
A Free Dashboard Tool

The financial services industry is the third biggest spender on digital ads in the US*. But what are search and spend trends in the industry? Which brands are spending the most, and on what?

Find out for yourself with our free Competitive Digital Media Insights dashboard – the tool currently covers data on US credit cards and its subsegments and will soon include other product categories. Try it out to uncover data on search, SEM, and push media trends as well as insights on ad copy and creatives across top credit card brands.

*According to emarketer

Wondering how your competition is leveraging digital media? Write to us at for a customized report and walkthrough.

Related Content

Performance Marketing Report Q2 2023

Decoding US Customers’ Purchase Journey for Online Deposits in 2023

Measuring Marketing Success in a Cookieless World

2023 has been a year of flux for financial marketers. At iQuanti, we’ve seen many of our Fortune 500 banking and financial services clients needing to constantly adapt their marketing strategy in response to the evolving macroeconomic climate in the U.S.

In a recent webinar hosted by The Financial Brand, we unpacked how banks can transform and future-proof their customer acquisition by putting customer success and priorities at the centre of their digital marketing strategy and delivery.
Here is what we’ve learned.

For quick on-the-go access, download
a PDF version of this article now!

JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS – Building a customer oriented digital acquisition strategy

Financial firms today are facing increasing challenges in digital customer acquisition and growth.

Consumer spending and demand have shown positive growth in 2023. However, there has been a loss of confidence in the financial system and a rising need for safety and assurance following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, First Republic Bank, and Signature Bank early on in the year. This resulted in a significant migration of deposits from smaller banks to larger players. Many new online banks have attracted a large number of customers with better interest rates and high-yield options.

As of August 2023, inflation in the U.S. has ticked upward to 3.7%. There have been 11 quick (and quite dramatic) Fed interest hikes between March 2022 and July 2023 alone. Most banking and financial services firms have been forced to reassess and adapt their marketing focus to address these changes.

There have been significant changes in the digital marketing ecosystem as well in 2023. The cost of search channels is rising. Tech companies are increasingly focusing on making privacy-first changes, which in turn, makes targeting more challenging for advertisers. With third-party cookies going away soon, addressing privacy-driven challenges has become more urgent. Financial marketers are watchful of the recent advancements in technology, especially generative AI, and are still assessing its impact and implications for them. Marketing budgets have shrunk in light of the uncertain economic climate, and most of our clients have seen an increased demand to prove ROI on digital investments.

All these factors have combined to create pressure on the economics of digital acquisition. Overlay this with heightened customer expectations from digital experiences and marketers in financial services are in a tough spot.

Customers now demand the same level of sophistication, immediacy and personalization in their interactions with banks as they do in other industries.


Deloitte Research

How can financial marketers adapt and thrive? The answer lies in a more customer-centric approach.

For most consumers, money is a subject of much anxiety. And, for them to purchase a financial product on a digital platform like a website, their experience needs to be trusted and seamless – across channels (social, search, website, etc.) and across journey stages (information search, comparison, etc.). However, the user experience is often fractured.

With customer acquisition, there are four key areas where we’ve seen even established brands struggle with:

  1. Building a robust digital customer acquisition strategy:
    Identifying where your customers are, which online/offline channels work the best for your brand, and ensuring your channels work well together is core to building an effective customer acquisition strategy.

  2. Demand generation:
    How do you get traffic to your website or footfall in your branches? How do you get people to engage with your social content? How do you get potential customers to look for your brand and your products/services? How do you generate demand?
  3. Experience optimization and conversion:
    Large banks and financial services firms are usually organized by products. While most of them actively work on ensuring their lower funnel content assists the conversion process, they struggle to align messaging across channels, partners, and across the journey stages to get the customers to eventually convert.
  4. Data and analytics:
    By the very nature of their business, banks and financial services firms usually have access to a lot of customer data. By focusing on building their analytical capabilities and harnessing their first-party data better, banks can achieve a 360-degree view of their customers across channels and enable more engaging, highly personalized user experiences.
Find out how iQuanti can help you across these four core areas. Reach out to our expert digital solutions team today!

It is time for marketers to reassess and revamp their approach to digital acquisition. They need to break down barriers across channels, and across different funnel stages, and get brand and performance marketing to work in tandem.

The key to success here is simple. In theory, at least. Build your acquisition strategy to be diligently customer-centric, every step of the way.

The key to transforming digital acquisition strategy for banks and financial services is being customer-centric.

For banking and financial services, what does transforming digital customer acquisition strategy really entail?

The banking infrastructure is heavily siloed. So transformation here is primarily about breaking down silos — across channels, journey stages and products – and making them work together to deliver to customers’ needs. Even if you are unable to break the existing silos completely, even figuring out how to make them work together more effectively could have a transformative effect on your acquisition.


Vish Sastry Rachakonda (Founder & CEO, iQuanti) was recently in conversation with John Dotto (SVP, Content and Site Personalization Marketing, U.S Bank) about how banks can transform their digital acquisition strategy to be more customer-centric. Access the webinar recording here.

This transformation is usually powered by three levers:

  1. Data capabilities to enable meeting the right customer on the right platform
  2. Technology to deliver the right digital experiences across channels
  3. Organizational change to facilitate seamless collaboration and shared KPIs/goals.

What does this mean for financial marketers?

Most of your customers (or potential customers) go through a multi-touch, omnichannel journey. Organizations need to start by being able to recognize a customer and then orchestrate a cohesive, personalized digital experience and across channels and journey stages.

Even with something as simple as a Google search, users usually see organic search results and paid ad results driving completely different experiences. This is because the SEO and paid search teams within the organizations are separate and are not working together to offer an integrated experience and message to the user. If you are able to offer that across these channels, you’ll be able to lead them to convert/purchase more efficiently.

Transforming digital customer acquisition strategy is primarily about breaking down silos – across channels, journey stages, and products – and making them work together and be more customer-centric.


Moving from channel-centricity to customer-centricity

Marketing teams at banks and financial services firms are often organized by channels. And costs and effectiveness of channels vary widely. This means that everything from marketing budgets at the campaign-level to reporting ROI happens separately across different channels as well.

To get a unified view of customers across channels, marketers need to overcome the channel-led silo mentality and begin to treat channels more holistically.

It has been refreshing to see more organizations waking up to the need to break down these silos.

At iQuanti, we’ve helped many clients work through this change.

We have, for example, helped design a unified holistic SEO-SEM strategy for a top-5 US bank to enable a clearer, non-siloed understanding of the performance of search channels overall. We developed:

  1. Tests to analyze the incremental organic traffic growth (and hence, conversions) driven by suppressing certain search terms in paid search
  2. Tests to assess the incremental CTRs and conversions generated by offering unified, complementary messaging across paid ads and organic result pages.
  3.  A holistic dashboard that reports KPIs and ROI across the search channel – both organic and paid – instead of measuring these separately.

Banks with a strong local presence can look at getting incremental value by integrating their online and offline customer data. This will allow them to understand and report the impact of a digital investment on offline/branch traffic or conversions – but this requires robust analytics capabilities and efficient attribution models.

The good news is that we’re seeing progress across the board in efforts to drive integrated experiences across channels.

Breaking down silos across journey stages

We are seeing financial organizations taking baby steps towards being organized by journeys (vs. being organized by channels). Being organized by journey stages allows marketers to get a unified view of the customer as he moves through the purchase funnel across channels and platforms. This approach offers distinct advantages to financial marketers as some channels are more effective at specific journey stages than others. For example, while targeting a user in the mid-funnel, SEO would fare better economically than paid search.

The thumb rule for any brand or performance marketer is to be where the customers are. But this gets tricky for banks and financial services organizations because it’s a highly regulated industry.

Think about a channel like TikTok, for example. There are over 1.1 billion video views from users on TikTok who are looking for investing advice. There are restrictions around what a brand can and cannot say on social media. But there are influencers (or “finfluencers”) actively offering advice and product reviews to your customers. Banks have to figure out a social content strategy that would allow them to tap into the potential of top funnel reach on such channels.

Another challenge we have observed with the larger players is that often, brand and performance marketing are managed by two separate agencies. This makes sense at the outset since the core competencies required for brand and performance marketing are very different. However, given that these agencies would ultimately be driving marketing messages in front of the same audiences, it would be helpful to begin with a common audience pool and channel/platform lists so you are able to connect experiences all the way across the journey funnel.

Moving from product-centricity to customer-centricity

Large banks are often organized by products. Some of these divisions, for example, credit cards or mortgages, have teams (and revenues) large enough to be classified as separate business entities altogether. They house their own marketing and customer service teams and work with distinct marketing budgets, acquisition goals, and even agency relationships. They are also mostly disconnected units that rarely share data and insights with each other. With customer and acquisition data siloed with product teams, there will be huge gaps and inefficiencies in knowing your customer.

There is an increasing realization in the industry about the challenges and huge opportunity costs associated with such an organisational structure, especially while trying to deliver integrated, personalized experiences to customers. We recently worked with a leading credit card player in assessing the economic cost of a siloed approach to data within the organization. We identified that 50-60% of “customers” brought in via prospect marketing by a credit card division were already existing customers who owned other products. The loss, as you would expect, was immense.

Our recommendation would be to start looking at the lifetime value of a customer. As you bring in a new customer, learn everything about her/him, and ensure you drive a personalized approach to meeting his needs. For example, you may bring someone in as a Checking Account customer, and then branch into mortgages, credit cards etc. Personalization is key here, and digital channels are probably the best means to address the unification of data and move from product-centricity to customer-centricity.

The three key building blocks of a successful customer-centric transformation: Data, technology, and organizational change

The eventual goal of transforming our digital customer acquisition strategy should be being customer-centric across channels, journey stages, and products. What enables this successful transformation?


Vish Sastry Rachakonda (Founder & CEO, iQuanti) was recently in conversation with John Dotto (SVP, Content and Site Personalization Marketing, U.S Bank) about how banks can transform their digital acquisition strategy to be more customer-centric.
Access the webinar recording here.

There are three core building blocks to success here: data, MarTech, and organizational shifts.

1. Data

Customers today expect that you’ll recognize them across products and channels. With the right data capabilities across digital channels and digital products, we can target customers at the right time because of all the data we can overlay on the acquisition strategy.

Recent research from Deloitte has found that “customers now demand the same level of sophistication, immediacy and personalization in their interactions with banks as they do in other industries.”

A study quoted recently by McKinsey states that “71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions.” And the story doesn’t end there: 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.”

What does this mean for financial marketers?

Investment in data is going to be key and critical. Personalization for prospect site experiences is going to help break down a lot of the silos and really help transform an organization from being a product ROI-based organization to one that’s really going to be focused on what the needs of the customers are. It’s no longer ‘what is the best ROI that we can drive’. It’s more about ‘where are we going to focus on getting that right conversion and that right product for that person.’”

–  John Dotto (SVP, U.S. Bank)

2. MarTech

Technology is a key enabler. Digital marketing is increasingly less about marketing and more about using data and technology to deliver experiences. Building technology capabilities can help understand customers holistically in a cookieless world and have a long-term view of the customer.

The right MarTech stack can give an organization the ability to use data and action on it, and in the process, leapfrog from where they were previously.

With MarTech, we’ve seen our clients go in one of two directions – some have chosen to integrate all technology by working with one vendor partner (like Adobe), while others have opted to go with the best-of-breed providers for different requirements. Our team of technology experts and data scientists work with clients to help identify and vet the right solutions/vendors, on board them, and help train internal teams to maximize utilization of technology.

3. Organizational change

Of the three enablers we are looking at, this is perhaps the most challenging to plan for and implement.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution possible – every organization is a unique entity with its own nuances, people, strengths, and structure. Customer centricity in an organization means building the infrastructure, team structures, and processes to allow for cross-channel, cross-product, and integrated data systems.

When you are rolling out something new, you must factor in these nuances and its implications across teams. For example, if you are considering organizing by journeys, it could mean significant changes in the roles and responsibilities of your teams. Your teams would now be structured to manage an entire user journey across all products, and channels. The existing structure would need a complete overhaul and the team would need training and time to be onboarded to the new structure. Suddenly, you have someone trying to manage working with a brand agency, a performance agency, and familiarizing themselves with new products/channels. The evolution will need to be planned, rolled out, and implemented carefully – you will have to pivot the strategy to meet the needs and quirks of your particular organization.

Where should organizations start?

“Before you go and start changing organization or taking any big step, just start measuring. Have a holistic dashboard, let everyone see the data because that is helpful. That would be step one.

The second thing that I’ve seen work well is that instead of affecting any big changes or changing anyone’s goals, just run pilots, observe and learn.

The third step should be to use all your learnings from the dashboard and pilots to gain leadership support and necessary investments across data and technology. Now you should be all set to start transforming the organization in a structured manner.

–  Sastry Rachakonda (CEO, iQuanti)

The Final Word

The banking sector has an era of change ahead of it. With a shifting economic climate and major technological advancements, including those in AI, bank marketers may need to reevaluate and, in some cases, reimagine their entire marketing strategy as they figure out how to navigate these new changes. But one thing is certain. As long as you steadfastly remain focused on your customers and build capabilities that would enable you to meet your customers’ needs where they are currently at, you’ll stay ahead of the curve (and ahead of the pack).

If you have any questions or comments or need help assessing your existing digital acquisition strategy, please feel free to reach out to our Banking and Financial Services performance marketing experts today. Email us at

For Alexa Speed, the world of digital marketing is a dynamic blend of art and science. “Data analysis is the science, and understanding people is the art,” she explains. Every day in her role as Paid Social Director at iQuanti, she is presented with the unique opportunity to strike a balance between the two.

“Marketing is at its core trying to figure out people – why would they buy your product? What makes them pay attention? Why would they choose your brand? To find answers, you not only have to use data to avoid assumptions but also must think about who and what your audiences are. What is it like to be a 55-year-old woman with two teenagers? Or an 18-year-old man starting out in college? Or a retiree?” she says.

Alexa’s passion for bridging this gap between data and human behavior ultimately led her to a career in digital marketing.

The Journey to iQuanti

Alexa’s journey began at Binghamton University in 2010, where she graduated magma cum laude with a B.S. in Management, Marketing, and International Business. She wasted no time diving into the industry, landing her first full-time role as a Media Coordinator at Euro RSCG (now Havas Health) with clients from the pharmaceutical industry.

At Euro RSCG, she collaborated with designers, directors, and writers, which allowed her to gain a deeper understanding of the creative development process. This insight enabled her to effectively communicate with team members and creative agencies.

Before joining iQuanti, Alexa had already accumulated an impressive 11-year career in various verticals, from Finance, eCommerce, and Healthcare to CPG, Entertainment, and Technology. Her experience ranged from the largest agencies in the world to small independent shops, working on massive global brands like Proctor & Gamble and Unilever to local businesses.

In April 2021, Alexa joined iQuanti with a primary focus on social media. In this role, she develops and guides paid social strategies, brings better understanding of paid social to our agency and clients through thought leadership content, develops external partnerships, and trains and develops our engagement teams’ paid social skills to ensure learning across the agency.

A Day in Alexa’s Life

Working remotely, Alexa’s day begins early to accommodate her global team. She connects with iQuanti’s India and UK-based teams before US and Canada client calls for the day. From 9 am to 2 pm, she is typically on calls or collaborating with teams on various deliverables. After that, she has the afternoon to work on presentations, write thought leadership pieces, and develop internal initiatives, such as iEngage.

Why iQuanti?

Alexa’s journey at iQuanti has been marked by the organization’s commitment to change. According to her, “if you have an idea or a new solution, leadership is engaged and willing to listen and, if anything, is asking for more ideas from team members.” The company’s global reach means that co-workers and colleagues are not just across the country but around the world. She emphasizes the strong sense of camaraderie at iQuanti, despite the geographical distances.

iQuanti Values

“Respect and honesty are fundamental values at iQuanti. The company actively encourages transparency through bi-weekly townhall meetings, allowing employees to ask questions and receive responses from the CEO and leadership team,” she says.

Open-mindedness is another key value at iQuanti that Alexa cherishes. She underscores the importance of embracing differences and diversity while working in a global organization.

Words of Advice

“Be humble and focus on learning at work. Check in with yourself. What do I really like about the work at this place? Do I love a good spreadsheet or do I prefer to build decks? Do I like project management or client work? When you start to understand what you like, then you can start making decisions about where you want to go in your career, and that will lead you to a job and career you love.”

Beyond the Office

When Alexa isn’t working, she loves to explore her many interests. She enjoys making her own ice cream from scratch, crafting homemade jerky, creating custom sneakers, and experimenting with various creative mediums. Gardening provides her a relaxing escape from the demands of her job.

Laurel Road leveraged content and SEO to establish itself as a banking and financial partner of choice for doctors

The Client

Laurel Road is a digital banking platform and brand of KeyBank that provides tailored offerings to support the financial wellbeing of healthcare and business professionals. Laurel Road’s banking and lending solutions, including Loyalty Checking and High Yield Savings accounts, Student Loan Cashback Credit Card, Student Loan Refinancing, Mortgages, Personal Loans, and more, provide their members with a simplified, personalized experience that helps them better navigate their financial journey and achieve life’s goals. Through KeyBank’s acquisition of GradFin, one of the nation’s leading student loan consultation providers, Laurel Road offers student loan counseling services that help borrowers manage and understand their options.

Laurel Road has reimagined banking and financial wellness for physicians and dentists through Laurel Road for Doctors, a tailored digital experience made up of banking, insights, and exclusive benefits to provide the financial help and peace of mind they need through each career stage. In the spring of 2022, Laurel Road also launched Loyalty Checking, the first checking account designed with nurses in mind, furthering the company’s commitment to healthcare professionals.

The Challenge: Establishing Laurel Road as the Destination for All Things Finance for Doctors

In 2021, Laurel Road decided to expand its offerings for physicians. “From our work with doctors, we knew that they faced challenges managing their finances while navigating student loans, mortgages, and demanding careers dedicated to caring for others,” said Alyssa Schaefer, General Manager & Chief Experience Officer at Laurel Road. “To reaffirm our commitment to supporting and honoring our physicians and dentists, we decided to launch Laurel Road for Doctors to be the go-to resource for all their financial needs. We continue to focus on the Laurel Road mission, treating our doctors to financial peace of mind.”

As a digital-first company, Laurel Road aimed to leverage its website to gain the attention, loyalty, and trust of its target audience. This meant that the brand needed to rank well for relevant online searches by physicians and address their information needs with quality content. However, the healthcare banking space is a highly competitive one, with several established companies targeting the same audience and keywords. Laurel Road was a new brand to this audience. This called for an innovative approach that focused on the audience’s online experience and information needs.

The Solution: A Content Hub Designed to Meet the Target Audience’s Unique Information Needs

Laurel Road partnered with its SEO and content partner iQuanti to build a comprehensive content and organic search strategy designed to deliver a one-of-a-kind digital experience to its audience. This included:

  1. A dedicated section on the Laurel Road website: Called Laurel Road for Doctors, iQuanti collaborated with the client to design and develop the experience off the back of extensive customer surveys and industry best practices.

Laurel Road for Doctors 

  1. A content hub: This hub featured interactive, mobile friendly content like calculators and quizzes tailormade for addressing doctors’ and dentists’ financial information needs. The content for the hub was planned and designed after detailed keyword research which helped iQuanti identify relevant topics and content assets. The iQuanti and Laurel Road teams then collaborated to create new content experiences.

Laurel Road for Doctors content hub

  1. Site architecture optimization: iQuanti worked with Laurel Road in optimizing the URL and site architecture and launched the healthcare banking experience on a separate folder on the main site.
  2. Link building for authority: iQuanti’s team initiated external link building activities and implemented internal linking to boost authority.

The Impact: Expanded organic footprint on page one of Google Search results, ranking #1 for several target keywords

In a matter of months, iQuanti worked with Laurel Road’s team to launch 50+ product and content pages aimed at a healthcare banking audience. Combined with other SEO efforts, this new content helped drive search engine page rankings and relevant organic traffic to the brand’s site.

The brand’s organic footprint for healthcare banking – the total number of non-branded keywords that Laurel Road pages ranked for on Google Search results pages – grew by 381% between March 2021 and August 2022. Within this, page one footprint increased from one to 428, notably ranking for position 1 for the coveted “bank for doctors.”

Additionally, this successful launch served as a template for launching a new set of offerings for nurses. iQuanti drove the creation of 21 pages for the nurses category, including 15 resource pages, enabling the brand to rank #1 for “bank for nurses.”

iQuanti and Laurel Road are continuing to collaborate on identifying and leveraging new opportunities for growth. The team is continuously working on building more backlinks and optimizing Core Web Vitals to improve authority and technical scores for Laurel Road.

Most importantly, after delivering two successful launches in as many years, Laurel Road is able to double down on its vision of expanding the reach of its innovative digital banking and financial services to new markets and customers.

For a detailed walkthrough of the case study or for insights on how you can meet your marketing goals, get in touch with us at

The future of search has never been more fluid. With the strides made in generative AI last year, one thing was clear – search as we know if will be transformed. But what will the future of search look like?

If the initial weeks of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) – its experiment with AI-integrated search – is anything to go by, we’re looking at a Search that’s more contextual, conversational, and intent-driven.

But what are the implications of the SGE for marketers? Will current Search practices continue to be relevant? What will help you succeed in the future?

We’ve been keeping an eye on the data from SGE for several of our clients across banking, financial services, ecommerce, and more. And we’ve distilled our learnings into this comprehensive point of view. Read the report to understand:

  • Key features and SGE building blocks that will work together to optimize users’ search journeys
  • The search experience across different types of queries – informational, local, and ecommerce/product
  • The impact of Search delivering AI-generated summaries rather than the traditional ten-blue-links
  • Implications for SEO and paid search marketers

Get in touch with us for a detailed walkthrough.


For Banking and Financial Services


After a tumultuous H1, banking and financial services (BFS) enterprises as well as platforms are adapting in innovative ways to the changes in AI-led tech, the economy, and banking consumers’ needs.

iQuanti’s BFS and digital marketing experts worked together to bring you this report tracking the trends that are reshaping financial marketing. And decoding what they mean for your marketing strategy.


After 2023 opened with a bang with strides in generative AI and the banking crisis, we’re seeing platforms and businesses doubling down on strategies adopted in H1.

  • Apple and Google intensified their focus on privacy.
  • TikTok is expanding into new areas like ecommerce and music streaming.
  • The Gen Z is now a core audience for banks and financial services.
  • Many businesses are integrating generative AI into their strategies.

How will these trends impact financial marketers.

Client expectations continue to rise – both for better experiences and higher levels of privacy.

-Vish Sastry Rachakonda, Founder & CEO, iQuanti

Key Numbers

logged-in users every month for YouTube

Mins/day - the average time spent daily on TikTok


Younger customers seek FDIC insured deposits


Google Network revenue YoY


Meta's revenue growth YoY

Gen Zs will open bank accounts between 2023-26

In Focus

The Future of Search

in the Age of Generative AI

Will Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) revolutionize search?

Google’s integration of generative AI into its search product could change the way people get information.
The platform has been testing variants of its landing page, with an eventual change expected later in 2023.

We explore how SGE’s building blocks will work together to optimize users’ search journeys. And tips for
marketers and SEOs to optimize for SGE.

Download the report for more insights on what these trends mean for you.

Related Content

Performance Marketing Report Q2 2023

Decoding US Customers’ Purchase Journey for Online Deposits in 2023

Measuring Marketing Success in a Cookieless World

The Client

A leading US-based multinational financial services corporation

The Challenge: Getting the Attention of Millennial and Gen Z Customers

Our client is one of the most valuable brands in the world, well known for its innovative credit card products and best-in-class service. And while its reputation with its traditional customer base of older premium customers was cemented, it knew that to retain pole position in credit cards in the future, it needed to build a relationship with younger customers. The young audiences it was targeting were not the premium segment that the brand usually serves, but they were frequent users – and growing in influence and purchasing power.

Targeting this group meant meeting their Millennial and Gen Z customers where they are – in digital spaces online, especially on search engine result pages (SERPs) where buyer journeys typically start. To do this it needed to rank well for non-brand keywords.

The Solution: A Content Hub to Educate, Engage, and Convert the Target Audience

The brand reached out for help to its SEO partner iQuanti, a data-driven performance marketing agency focused on the banking and financial services industry.

“After sitting down with the client to understand their challenges we realized that the goal was two-fold. One, the brand needed to rank better for its target keywords to get in front of its customers. Equally importantly, it needed to educate its new audience of the advantages of using its credit cards versus that of the competition. The good news was that both goals could be met by devising a well-thought-out content strategy,” says Vidika Sadarangani, who leads the account’s team at iQuanti.

iQuanti’s competitive research revealed that the top-ranking pages for the segment had content hubs on their websites. Consequently, iQuanti recommended that the brand build a content hub targeted specifically at its new audience. “Our vision for this content hub was that it would be the go-to destination for personal finance and credit card education for the client’s Millennial and Gen Z customers. We wanted this hub to be the source from where they learnt how to make smarter money decisions for their life’s milestones and everyday transactions, building not just traffic and search ranking but also customer trust and loyalty” says Vidika.

The client tasked iQuanti with executing this content strategy. The team adopted a structured approach that brought together data, SEO, and content best practices to create a one-of-a-kind financial education center.

  • First, iQuanti ran detailed keyword research to better understand what the target audience searches for and uncover opportunities to meet their information needs.
  • Next, it identified topic ideas for different types of credit intent and created a content calendar designed to meet their audience’s information needs at every touchpoint in the customer journey. To start with, this included educational articles, case studies, and Q&As on topics including managing credit cards, finances, credit scores, and travel.
  • iQuanti then onboarded a content agency to write the content, providing clear direction on the client’s branding, positioning, tone of voice, and style. iQuanti’s experience helping Fortune 500 clients in the highly regulated banking industry was pivotal to creating content that was compliant and engaging at the same time.
  • We worked closely with the client’s content management team to ensure the articles have all the SEO elements implemented correctly.

“Several teams were involved in executing the plan, and we had to balance multiple, often contradictory goals,” says Vidika. “Working with a bank means that there are restrictions around what we can write. At the same time, we needed to create financial content that would engage our young audience. Plus, the content had to be optimized for search, too. We balanced these goals by sitting down with the content agency and the client to find a middle path.”

The Impact: A 90% Increase in Organic Traffic for Non-Branded Target Keywords

The impact of the content strategy became apparent immediately after launch. Organic traffic to the brand’s site increased steadily, with traffic to the content hub increasing by about 90%. This increase in traffic was driven by multiple factors including increase in brand searches, improvement in ranks, and growth in click through rates seen until Q3 (seasonal traffic typically dips in Q4, and in 2022 the volume had further declined due to macro-economic conditions impacting demand and higher competitive action seen on paid search). What’s more, traffic increase YoY was seen across all the category types.

Also, keywords visibility continued to increase for the content hub in 2022, with a 46% increase in non-brand rankings despite a drop in Q4 due to shifting of brand keywords between the client’s business units.

Figure 1: Traffic trends for 2021-22

The 2023 content roadmap for the brand takes into account the evolving search landscape and shifts in consumer behavior, focusing more on non-brand keyword strategy and increasing the keyword footprint. And even as iQuanti continues to evolve and optimize its content strategy, it retains the focus on high volume topics that interest the
Gen Z.

“We are constantly testing new content formats and page experiences to see what works best for the client’s target audience. Ultimately, the goal of our content strategy is to offer a simplified user experience that lays out clear paths for customers to continue to engage with content or convert, depending on their decision journey,” says Vidika.

Most importantly, the partnership is helping the brand take its innovative products to a brand-new audience, securing its future as a top financial services enterprise.

Curious about how you can level up your content strategy to drive long-term SEO success? Download our thought paper for actionable insights. Or contact us for a consultation!

The analytics-led digital marketing company has once again made it to the list of America’s fastest-growing private companies.

JERSEY CITY, N.J., August 16, 2023 

iQuanti, a leading performance marketing agency, has been featured for the 9th time on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.

Founded in 2008, iQuanti drives superior performance in digital marketing through a data and analytics led approach and a strong vertical focus, earning a reputation for excellence and innovation. Over the years, iQuanti has found success through its focus on developing innovative, industry-leading digital programs and solutions for niche verticals like banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) and ecommerce.

“We’re happy to be named to the Inc. 5000 list yet again! This recognition is possible because of the trust and support of our clients. We’re thankful to them for enabling us to do our best work every day,” said Vish Sastry Rachakonda, the founder and CEO of iQuanti. He added, “This recognition reflects our team’s dedication to driving impactful results for our clients while consistently pushing the boundaries of innovation in digital marketing.”

This accolade arrives just as iQuanti celebrates its 15th anniversary. Over these fifteen years the company has evolved from a startup into a global digital marketing company, serving a diverse portfolio of leading brands, and now poised at the forefront of leveraging AI in digital marketing for its clients.

About iQuanti 
iQuanti ignites powerful and predictable digital marketing performance for global brands with an approach rooted in data science and deep vertical knowledge.
iQuanti has 500+  employees across New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Mexico City, London, Toronto, Bangalore, and Singapore. The company was also previously recognized in the inaugural AdWeek 100: Fastest Growing Agencies and the Fast 50 Asian American Business lists.

For more information, visit

About Inc. Media
Inc. is a US-based business magazine founded in 1979. Published by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is best known for its annual rankings of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the United States, called the “Inc. 500” and “Inc. 5000.”

As seen on

Findings from iQuanti’s research survey to understand the triggers, motivations, and user behaviour for online deposits.

In the wake of pandemic aid in 2020 and early 2021, the overall deposits in U.S. banks had seen a significant rise. However, 2023 has revealed some interesting turns in this trend, driven by macroeconomic factors as well as shifting customer needs.

As noted in iQuanti’s Q2 2023 edition of its quarterly performance marketing report for banking & financial services, following the banking turmoil and Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse in March 2023, a need for safety and assurance drove a significant relocation of cash from small banks to larger players. Driven by better interest rates some customers also moved their deposits into online banks and other high-yield options like Apple’s new Savings Account, which saw over 240,000 accounts opened by the end of its launch week in early April.

At iQuanti, we ran a first-hand survey to delve deeper into these changing customer behaviors, expectations, and needs and understand the customer decision journey for deposits in 2023. Our research covered 500+ Americans between the ages of 18 to 55 years, with an annual income between $25000 to $150,000, and who had opened a savings/CD/MMA deposit with an online bank (large online and midsize players) in the last 12 months. We ensured our survey population had a 50:50 split between males and females and a FICO score between 580-720 to avoid biases.

We found that among all deposit products, the highest surge in account openings was for savings deposits, with 92% of customers opening one in the last year. The share is higher among younger customers.

In this report, we cover  the highlights across each stage of the online customer’s journey through the three core stages – awareness, research & consideration, and purchase/post-purchase.

Awareness stage

The survey pinpointed two benefits that are the most sought-after by customers at the awareness stage.

Attractive offerings

(including higher interest rates and bonus offers)


(including ease & speed of transaction and account opening)

Some key findings are highlighted below:

  • Higher interest rate is a key trigger for customers looking to switch to a new account, though the significance of this need seems to differ for different age groups.
    • Older customers rated this as their most significant trigger for switching to a new account (62%), whereas this was third in the list of triggers for younger customers between the ages 18 to 34 years.
  • Convenience-driven benefits are the second key trigger.
    • Convenience, including ease of transaction and quick account opening, are the core decision-making factors for young customers.
    • With affluent customers as well, convenience was a core need with ease of transaction, bonus offers and quick account opening as the core priorities.
  • Lower income groups are also dissatisfied with the service. 39% listed difficulty in accessing a branch/ATM as a core issue, whereas 35% stated that poor customer support often triggers a switch.
  • Need for security is a growing need for the younger customer segment (18-34 years) with 34% of customers seeking FDIC-insured deposits.

Research and consideration stage

Most information gathering/research happens online

Online sources are the go-to research and validation medium. While the company website is important, aggregators like NerdWallet also play a critical role in decision-making.

Overall, online is the preferred medium for information gathering and research. Offline information sources like friends and family and financial advisors are less preferred. However, a closer look reveals a more nuanced picture:

  • The impact of online ads and other online sources is higher for younger customers.
    • Journeys of 30% of customers under 34 years of age are triggered by an online ad they saw.
    • Google search is their preferred research medium – 26% do a Google search before picking a bank.
    • 20% check a bank’s website before choosing it.
  • Word of mouth is a strong influencer for lower-income segments.
  • A bank’s website is a go-to source for authentic information, more so with the higher-income groups, where over 60% visited the bank’s website before choosing a bank/account.
  • Younger affluents (<34YO, >150,000$) still look towards friends and family for suggestions on account options.

Additionally, validation is done via the official website and comparison sites.

  • 23% look at the bank’s website for details and 17% look at comparison websites.
  • Only 14% check with their friends and family, while only 9% ask their financial advisor.

The interest rate is great, the online banking and app experience is streamlined. The additional benefits that come with the account, like privacy protection and the cash back debit card are great, customer service has been great. I’ve continued to read bank reviews, and I remain convinced that I’ve chosen the best bank for me at this point.


– Survey Respondent

Purchase stage:

Simple processes and less documentation were the top influencers in the purchase/post-purchase stages.

When it comes to account opening, speed and simplicity of processes are the most important factors in creating a positive experience. Our survey found that online banks fare well on these parameters.

  • More than 96% of customers are satisfied with the account opening process. Over 70% noted that they are extremely satisfied with the simplicity and ease of processes online.
    • This satisfaction level is higher in higher-income groups. This could be based on the superior experiences delivered at the banks they opted for.

It (the account opening process) was easy and quick. Didn’t require any fees or minimum balance, no hours of signing documents, going to the bank in person and waiting for 30 minutes dealing with rude, condescending, snobby bank tellers and access to way better interest rates and money management tools.


– Survey Respondent

Because everything was understandable and easy to read. The app itself is easy to navigate, and it just makes sense. Any rewards you get are clearly communicated and that’s exactly what you get as well. There are no hidden fees, etc.


– Survey Respondent

The survey also revealed clear winners in terms of preferred banks for specific customer segments.

Chime is the most preferred bank amongst the lower-income segments followed by Varo Money.

American Express is the clear choice of account among affluent customers with 57% of consumers opting for an AMEX account followed by Capital One 360.

American Express wins across Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X customer segments as the preferred account-of-choice.

What does this mean for marketers?

Financial marketers can use these insights to help pivot and personalize messaging to focus on the core triggers for each customer segment at every stage of their journey. Let’s take a look at what that could mean.

Awareness stage: Focus on personalizing your message to address the customer’s need/priority clearly and directly. Pivot focus of the current messaging strategy, where necessary.

The data speaks volumes about what different customers are looking for at every stage of their purchase journey. With a deeper understanding of what triggers their information search journey for a particular product, marketers can personalize their messaging to ensure they captivate their audience from the get-go with what is most important to them.

So, ask yourself, what is the additional value that you bring to the table that can excite your customers? Here are some examples of potential themes:

Convenience: If you know that convenience is a important to a customer, delve into the facets of convenience that may impact their behavior – for example, a 6-hour approval cycle or dedicated online customer support. Personalize your message to address the need/priority clearly and directly.

High interest rates/free overdraft: While these recognized as a critical factor in the awareness and consideration phases, talking about interest rates and overdraft fees is a matter of messaging hygiene even at the awareness stage – something you must cover. And so will everyone else.  

Let’s take a quick look at the messaging on Chime’s home page. Our survey shows that Chime was the preferred bank among the lower- income segment customers, and you can see how they are poised to move customers along the purchase journey.

Security: Fraud prevention and FDIC insurance has emerged as a critical conversion factor in our survey, with 37% of respondents acknowledging it as a preferred offering from their service provider.  But not all online deposit players are currently focusing their messaging on meeting the customers’ need for assurance. Here is an example of Discover doing this extremely well.

Let’s take a quick look at the messaging on Chime’s home page. Our survey shows that Chime was the preferred bank among the lower income segment customers, and you can see how they are poised to move customers along the purchase journey.

Awareness & consideration stage: Focus on the right channels to deliver get the right messages at the right time for maximum impact and to ensure a full-funnel connection across channels.

Marketers can glean valuable insights from our study about which channels to invest their marketing dollars in to reach a customer most effectively in their research and consideration phase. The focus needs to be on ensuring a seamless, full-funnel connection for customers, across channels.

Our data shows that customer journeys for close to 30% of customers who are 34 years old or younger are triggered by an online ad they saw. Marketers need to analyze what channels really make a difference and actively look at opportunities to reach them via a personalized ad in a contextual manner on the channels that they are using for their research.

In addition to paid ads, brands must also optimize for organic search – over 25% of customers research brands on Google before visiting a bank’s website or app. This means that a brand’s website and presence on affiliate websites are vital to driving visibility.

Purchase stage: Focus on product/service benefits to provide a clear incentive to convert

The purchase stage is when the rubber hits the road. Can the brand deliver on the promises it made in the earlier stages? To trigger a purchase, brands need to enable an exceptional experience – easy processes, quick response times, and a customer-centric approach to service are critical to closing a sale.    

As a performance marketing agency focused on banking, financial services, and insurance enterprises, we’ll continue to keep our fingers on the pulse of the customer. If you have any questions about our survey methodology or need more details about a specific segment/stage, please feel free to reach out to our banking & financial services performance marketing experts today. Email us at

For more insights on performance marketing and banking and financial services, download the latest edition of our quarterly report on digital marketing and banking trends and their impact on financial marketers.

The Client

A financial services company with over 500 locations in Canada and the U.S. The company’s offerings include installment loans, cash advance/payday loans, check cashing, prepaid cards, and money transfer services.

The Challenge: Enhanced reporting and dashboarding + A smooth transition to GA4

Digital marketing was central to our client’s strategy to reach its target customers across two countries. However, its legacy agency had limited data science expertise and resources, resulting in a delay in the execution of analytics tasks – this in turn led to gaps in understanding its data.

Additionally, with Universal Analytics (UA) sunsetting in the summer of 2023, the client was looking at migrating 5 complex Google Analytics properties to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), each catering to thousands of users spread across varied geographies. This added urgency to the team’s goal of implementing a more structured approach to collecting and organizing their data.

The Solution: A structured approach to analytics

The financial services company reached out to iQuanti, an award-winning digital marketing firm with deep banking and financial services experience, because of their demonstrated expertise in driving analytics implementation for industry leaders.

iQuanti’s team set about creating a detailed project plan for GA4 Migration.

Step 1: Discovery

  • Getting business & technical requirements from the client through a detailed questionnaire
  • Establish key performance indicators (KPIs)

Step 2: SDR Creation

  • Create the Migration Tracker checklist
  • Create the SDR (Solution Design Reference)
  • Identify gaps in UA tracking and address those in the GA4 SDR

Step 3: Validation

  • Signoff from stakeholders on the SDR
  • Recommendation on data layer if applicable
  • Creation of tags in GTM
  • Validating the tags
  • Sign off on Dev and publishing it to Live

Step 4: Final Transition

  • Validation of Data in Reports

The structured approach to developing the solution started with the creation of a solution design reference (SDR) to serve as the single source of truth for the team to drive decisions around metrics, KPIs, and reporting.

Next, the team created a migration checklist, laying out the tasks and assigning priorities and dependencies for them. This ensured transparency and structure to re-create analytics tags in the new aGA4 platform. This was followed up by detailed audits and documentation.

Further, conversion steps leading to customer acquisition were reexamined and optimized to create well-defined funnels based on user action on the client’s website.

Post migration, iQuanti started recreating dashboards using GA4 to help the client leverage the benefits of GA4. This was easier said than done because the logic used by the legacy agency to create Google Data Studio (now named Looker Studio) reports was unclear. Additionally, the metrics, definitions, and workflows used in GA4 dashboards in Looker Studio are different from those in UA. These factors made it a challenge to optimize reporting while also maintaining continuity.

iQuanti’s team worked with the client to dive deep into the existing dashboards to seamlessly convert Universal Analytics GDS reports to GA4 GDS reports.

The Impact: A seamless, error free GA4 migration and better reporting

iQuanti’s structured and transparent approach helped us get the client’s buy-in early on.

iQuanti’s Account Manager said, “The detailed planning, clear-cut timeliness, and documentation through SDRs inspired enough confidence in the client to allow us to skip approvals for tagging changes and expedite implementation. This helped achieve quick turnaround times and a seamless, error-free migration.”

At the end of the project, iQuanti had created multiple new reports in the existing Looker Studio report, providing clarity in multiple user flows. This included sign-in flow from multiple touch points, repayment flow, reloan and refinance journey flow. The team also recreated the application flow in four GDS reports.

iQuanti ensured that the Looker Studio reports was comprehensive and met the needs of all stakeholders – from the senior leadership team to digital sales, performance marketing/acquisition, back-end tech, and CRM.

Most importantly, the implementation has set the financial services company up for performance marketing success by collecting data at the right touchpoints, interconnecting the touchpoints to get correct user flows, and presenting the holistic view stakeholders need to take data driven decisions.

Driving efficiencies in GA4 implementation

iQuanti’s experience with GA implementation at complex Fortune 500 enterprises has helped it streamline and standardize the effort. Where we have clear existing documents (SDR/BRD) from the client, we have cut down the time for GA4 implementation for the first property to around 2 weeks. Where the client does not have their existing measurement plan in place, we have worked with them to address that. For additional properties, we have successfully migrated up to 73 properties in a month.

The digitization of financial services has seen tremendous acceleration since the pandemic, sparking a global fintech revolution that has disrupted the traditional banking industry. Neobanks – digital-only fintech companies that offer mobile and online banking products and services – are a key part of this change. As these banks emerge as challengers to traditional banks, here’s what you need to know about the current neobanking landscape and what it means for financial marketers.

What are Neobanks?

Neobanks are financial institutions that offer banking services primarily through online and mobile channels, without any physical presence. Over the last few years, there has been an explosion in the number of neobanks across the globe. They leverage digital technology to offer innovative financial products and services and have no brick-and-mortar or branch locations.

Neobanking and digital banking are often used interchangeably, but despite the heavy reliance on smartphones and other digital devices, they follow two distinct business models. Here is a quick infographic to help understand the major differences between traditional banks, neobanks and digital banks.

Figure 1: A comparison of traditional banks, digital banks, and neobanks (Image recreated from Nielsen)

Neobanks have gained popularity among consumers due to their convenience, flexibility, and lower fees compared to traditional banks. They offer seamless onboarding processes, intuitive mobile apps, and real-time access to financial information, making banking easier and more accessible than ever before.

Recent research shows that the neobanking market is estimated to have generated over $2400B worth of transactions in 2022 globally and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of over 25% from 2023 to 2028. The number of neobank users worldwide is projected to reach 394 million in 2023, up from 39 million in 2018, according to a recent Statista report.

What are the different types of neobanks?

Depending on the type of activity and services/products they offer, neobanks can fall under three operating models:

  1. Pure play neobanks that have full or restricted virtual banking licenses that regulate them and offer core banking and other value-added services.
  2. Incumbent digital subsidiaries which are digital-only direct offerings of traditional banks to counter emerging virtual banks and tap into digital adoption.
  3. Neo-banks that do not have virtual -banking or e-money licenses and operate in partnership with traditional banks in the country.

Which are the top neobanks in the US?

Based on Insider Intelligence forecasts for 2023, here are the top neobanks or digital-only banks in the US, by market account holders:

  1. Chime (21.6 million)
  2. Varo (5.4 million)
  3. Current (4.6 million)
  4. Aspiration (4.5 million)

What advantages do neobanks offer vs. traditional banks?

By leveraging technology and AI, neobanks have been successful in bridging the gap between the services that traditional banks offer and the changing customer expectations in the digital age.

Let’s look at three core reasons why neobanks have grown:

Focus on convenience & economics

Neobanks follow a ‘mobile-first’ model and use latest technologies to deliver innovative and convenient services and products to customers that are often more attractive than those offered by traditional banks, for example, personal finance advisory, e-bill generation, free debit cards etc. By minimizing operational costs, they are able to offer more competitive rates and fees than brick-and-mortar banks.

Focus on user experience & personalization

Neobanks often appeal to tech-savvy customers via personalized and innovative financial products, such as user-friendly mobile apps, budgeting tools etc. Most of them offer an “à la carte finance” model. Additionally, they are able to provide round-the-clock customer support through chatbots and other automated tools.

Focus on rewards & cashbacks

Neobanks build customer loyalty and stimulate engagements by offering high interest rates, customized cashbacks, rewards, and deep discounts through e-commerce partnerships etc.

Challenges and opportunities for neobanks

Neobanks have emerged as a significant threat to traditional banks in the US. But even as they continue to grow in popularity and influence, neobanks also face significant challenges. In fact, According to research from Insider Intelligence, neobanks are expected to see low growth ahead – the CAGR of new account openings from 2022 to 2026 will be under 1%.

Figure 2: Neobank account holders and penetration between 2019-2016 in the US (Image courtesy Insider Intelligence)

Their challenges include:

  1. Building customer trust: A 2021 survey by Accenture found that 49% of US consumers trust traditional banks to safeguard their personal information, compared to 41% for neobanks. However, neobanks scored higher than traditional banks on measures of transparency, convenience, and customer service.
  2. Regulatory compliance: Regulatory requirements in the US are stringent, and neobanks are required to comply with a slew of federal and state regulations. This drives them to rely on partnerships with traditional banks for regulatory compliance and access to financial infrastructure, which can limit their autonomy and increase their costs.
  3. Establishing a sustainable business model: New research shows that neobanks are actually “struggling to turn a profit, with only a mere 5% of the world’s reported 400 digital banks reaching breakeven.”
  4. Increasing competition: There are over 290 neobanks operating globally at the end of 2022. The market has become increasingly competitive, and neobanks will invariably need to shift their attention to profitability in 2023. With traditional banks and fintech companies launching their own digital banking platforms, neobanks will need to pivot quickly to stay ahead of the competition. As the failure of Google Plex and Uber Money shows us, only those who are able to find a niche (or underserved) market and are able to deliver a truly differentiated value proposition to their target customers will thrive.
  5. Ongoing economic uncertainty: Neobanks often have customers with small average deposit balances and if the economy takes a turn for the worse this year, any surge in unemployment or layoffs could directly impact the deposit flows for neobanks. Also, with venture capital flow and marketing budgets drying up, neobanks may struggle to keep delivering on the lavish incentives, low to no fees, and innovative products that give them a competitive advantage.

But it’s not all bad news. With ongoing economic uncertainty, the focus of larger banks and financial services organizations will be on improving revenues and saving costs rather than technology upgrades. Consequently, we expect to see a rise in the number of mergers and acquisitions as traditional banks invest in absorbing the technology, innovative products, and digital capabilities of neobanks. JP Morgan’s acquisition of Renovite in late 2022 is an example.

The neobanks that survive will be the ones that retool their strategy and rely on more than just perks to remain competitive. This may mean revamping their underwriting policies to bring in customers who will drive higher balances and tapping into new revenue streams like BaaS, credit cards and lending products, and subscription fees. Neobanks like Starling, Nubank, and Revolut have already made exciting progress in each of these areas.

Beating Neobanks at Their Own Game: A 3-Point Strategy for Bank Marketers

After being challenged for over a decade, can traditional banks finally beat neobanks at their own game? What are the unique opportunities that the current economic uncertainty presents to established banks? Our experts share a bank marketing strategy for financial marketers to expand their market share and build new digital capabilities, all in one go.

1. Offer trust as a core value proposition

Across regions, we have seen that while traditional banks still enjoy the benefits of being a customer’s primary financial institution (PFI), the trend is evolving, with Gen Z consumers open to maintaining multiple banking relationships.

However, consumers still trust traditional banks more than neobanks.

Figure 3: Level of trust in select financial services worldwide in Dec 2021 (Image courtesy Insider Intelligence)

Nonetheless, it is critical for financial marketers to understand that they need a renewed definition of ‘trust’ in the digital age.

EY’s Next Wave Global Consumer Banking Survey 2022 revealed that most consumers completely trust their Primary Financial Relationships (PFRs), ranging from 72% of UK consumers to 75% of American consumers.

Figure 4:  Consumers who completely or mostly trust their PFR, by market (Image courtesy EY)

However, the survey also identified that today’s consumer’s trust in a banking institution is not limited to how safely and accurately they handle their money (especially larger transactions) or how resilient they are as an organization. It is also reliant upon “how financial players empower their customers to make decisions about using customer data to personalize experience and create more value through customized products and services.”

And herein lies the opportunity for banks. They need to invest heavily in enhancing their data security and privacy protection and put customers in control of non-financial data like geo-location that banks have access to. Banks that take a proactive approach to empowering customers will emerge as trust-winners.

2. Boost digital prowess and reach through strategic acquisitions and partnerships

With investors’ focus shifting to profitability and equity funds drying up, many neobanks are struggling to exist. For smaller or regional banks, this presents a unique opportunity to increase their digital capabilities and customer reach through acquisitions vs. building from scratch. Larger banks that already have established digital teams could also benefit from the right fintech partnerships to build products and services faster.

3. Constantly pivot to stay competitive

Banks should expect to see increased competition in mainstream BFSI categories. Marketers need to look out for neobanks that might also venture into new revenue streams like credit cards, lending etc., posing direct competition. With neobanks struggling to retain the aggressive discounts and benefits they initially had for on offer for their customers, banks will now see a more level playing field. It would make sense to revisit their communication strategy, since the messaging which wasn’t effective in the past owing to more aggressive offers from neobanks, could work now.

By focusing on their current strengths – trust and human-based customer service – and ramping up privacy, personalization, and product innovation, banks and credit unions can compete better and draw consumers back into the fold.

Read the Q2 2023 edition of our quarterly report for financial marketers for more insights on neobanks and other trends that matter.

To understand if you are poised to compete and thrive in 2023 and beyond, reach out to our Digital Solutions experts.

2023 has been a year of challenges and change for financial marketers. Ongoing economic uncertainty, tightening marketing budgets, constantly changing platform updates, and new privacy regulations have brought home the urgency to leverage data and AI innovatively to measure and drive marketing success.

This report presents a quick look at the emerging trends that are reshaping the banking and financial services landscape in the US. It also discusses iQuanti’s approach to helping leading banks transform their performance marketing strategies to stay ahead of the curve.

Read the report to learn about:

  • AI in marketing: Use cases for banking & financial services
  • Building a robust strategy to collect, activate, and leverage first-party data
  • Effectively balancing upper and bottom-funnel spending
  • Deploying agile spending and allocation decisions in performance marketings
  • Unlocking paid search and SEO synergies to improve acquisition economics

A sophisticated content strategy is key to driving long-term SEO success.

But how do you know what content works for your business? How can you create content that is customer-centric, delivers measurable results, and addresses your customers’ information needs?

Read this thoughtpaper for the five steps that will help you drive SEO success in your content strategy. Learn how to:

  • Understand intent and identify customer journeys
  • Identify gaps and optimize existing content
  • Invest in demand pockets to drive meaningful results
  • Plan for collaboration and process efficiency
  • Measure impact

Sahil Arora knows a thing or two about building castles in the air while having one’s feet planted firmly on the ground. As an Account Director at iQuanti, he has been helping enterprises reach for lofty growth goals with digital marketing strategies rooted in data. But the journey of aiming for the stars started years ago, in a small town in Punjab, India.       

Wind beneath the wings

“My dad was a farmer, who moved on to becoming a businessman in Patiala, Punjab. Education was always a priority, and we received the best schooling we could afford,” says Sahil.  

His school gave him his first chance at a moonshot. “When I was in high school, I got the opportunity to participate in the International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC) organized by NASA. And my team won – the first team from India to do so! We were invited to the US to present our idea at a symposium.” This taught a young Sahil the ins and outs of research, communication, team management, fundraising, and working with people from across the globe.

Sahil continued to aim to use his engineering skills for good in college by competing for Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, submitting a solution to address the high maternal and infant mortality rates in his home state by integrating data across the state’s primary, secondary, and tertiary hospitals. “We didn’t win, but I gained an understanding of how data can be leveraged to solve complex problems.”

Flying high

After his MBA, Sahil started an educational travel startup. “I wanted to give school students the kind of exposure and access that the win at the space competition provided me.” He managed sales and marketing for his company: “This was my first foray into digital marketing.”

Four years later, Sahil successfully exited the company to move to Bangalore where his then- fiancée (now wife) lived. That’s when iQuanti came knocking.

“I was hired for my entrepreneurial experience – the way iQuanti does digital marketing is different from how it’s taught in business schools, and I picked up much of it on the job. My first account was one of the largest financial products and services brands in the world – we grew the account multi-fold in a couple of years.”

Sahil went on to work with clients in retail, healthcare, and hospitality. He was then asked to help with iQuanti’s expansion to APAC. “It was a huge learning for me – the role allowed for a lot of autonomy, and I worked across marketing, PR, and business development to open doors for us.”

He then left iQuanti briefly, only to come back a year later.

I recognized the sheer talent here and was sold on our long-term vision.

Fast forward to the present, and Sahil is in Canada, managing key accounts. What does he like about working at iQuanti? “I love the open and respectful culture here – you’re always free to bring good ideas to the leadership. The fact that I’ve made lifelong friends here and rediscovered my love for sports is the cherry on the cake.” Sahil is the resident chess champ, an enthusiastic participant in iQuanti’s cricket and badminton tournaments, and proud winner of the passive smoking award (“the best conversations happen over smokes!”).

Outside of the office, he enjoys spending time with his family. “Being a father to my son (now three years old) has been the most challenging and most fulfilling experience of my life.”

Any advice for young professionals?
“Focus on learning – that’s what gets you from point A to point B.
A kite can’t soar high in the sky if there’s no one holding the string from down below. Be grateful to the folks who held the kite for you.
Have a winner’s mindset. Grab that opportunity.
Be kind, help people.”

Paid search advertising is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to reach your customers before your competitors do. A good paid search strategy can help you target your audience accurately, drive relevant traffic to your website, and increase conversions.

With so much at stake, how can you make sure your digital marketing agency or in-house strategy is geared toward meeting your business goals?

Here’s a checklist to help you assess and monitor your paid search strategy.

  • Has your agency enabled a flexible campaign split that aligns with your goals?
  • Does the change log align with your strategy?
  • Is your account being managed to your goals rather than Google’s?
  • Have you got a fee structure that incentivizes your agency to offer you the best value?
  • Has your agency added responsive search ads (RSAs) with relevant ad copy?
  • Is your agency monitoring and actioning/dismissing Optiscore?
  • Is your agency utilizing ‘Smart Bidding’, and if not, why?
  • Is your agency aware of Auto Applied Recommendations (AAR)? Check to make sure it hasn’t implemented AAR accidentally.
  • Do your best performing campaigns have enough budget to run effectively?
  • Are the reports you’re getting suited to your business?

Still have questions? Get in touch with us today to assess your paid media strategy.

Measuring Marketing Success in a Cookieless World

15 Jun, 2023

Shaubhik Ray, Prinicipal Data Architect, iQuanti
Vinod Kumar, Senior Manager, Digital Analytics iQuanti

The ability to leverage consumer data to gain insights is a key advantage of digital marketing.

However, as digital platforms start to respond to users’ and regulators’ expectations around privacy by phasing out third-party cookies, collecting data from customers will become more challenging. Various advertising ecosystems, browsers, and technology companies have already begun limiting the ability to track performance through cookies – a step toward a cookieless world.

How can marketers adapt to a cookieless world? We explore this question in this thought paper.

Measurement Today

Web analytics and marketing platforms predominantly rely on JavaScript codes, also known as tags or pixels, to gather user data. When a user visits a website, these scripts are executed and cookies are established in the user’s browser to transmit data to marketing platforms. This type of tagging is referred to as client-side tagging and is heavily dependent on browser cookies, making it less reliable in a future where there are restrictions on setting cookies.

Why are Cookies Used in Measurement?

Cookies are commonly used on websites to collect data about user behavior. For example, when a user visits a website, a cookie may be set that tracks the pages they visit, the links they click, and the amount of time they spend on each page. This data can be used to analyze user behavior, identify trends and patterns, and optimize the website’s design and content.

Cookies are particularly useful in analytics/media pixel because they can be used to track user behavior over time. For example, if a user visits a website multiple times over the course of several days, the website can use cookies to track their behavior across those visits and build a more complete picture of their browsing habits.

The Future of Tagging

In recent years, there has been a growing push toward a cookieless world due to concerns about online privacy and security. Third-party cookies have come under scrutiny as they allow advertisers and data brokers to collect and use user data without their explicit consent.

To move toward a cookie less world, marketing platforms and advertisers are exploring alternative methods for tagging and targeting users. One of them is server-side tagging, which collects and processes user data on the server-side rather than the client-side. While client-side tagging relies on cookies, server-side tagging involves sending data directly from the brand’s web server to the marketing platform’s server.

Server-Side Tagging Implementation

In this type of implementation, an intermediate server is implemented between the incoming request sent from a user’s browser/app server and the marketing platform endpoints (Google Analytics, Facebook, etc.) where hits are sent. Figure 1 presents a schematic representation of data flow between different platforms.

Figure 1: Data flow in Server-Side tagging

This method allows for the collection of user data without relying on browser cookies, providing more reliable tagging and data collection. However, it requires additional setup and configuration compared to client-side tagging.

Pros and Cons of Server-side Tagging


  1. Improvement in website performance:A server-side implementation can significantly lower the overhead of downloading and executing JavaScript codes resulting in improvement in website performance.
  2. Better control on data flow:As the server sits between the client browser and the marketing platforms, we can set up controls on what data is sent to the marketing platforms.
  3. Easy implementation of content security policies:All requests can be within the first-party context in server-side implementation. This first party context helps tighten content security policy (CSP) and restricts third-party requests to those strictly required.
  4. Better user privacy: In a client-based tagging scenario, tags on a given page may read cookies or information in the document object model (DOM) and send it to other endpoints. But, in a server-side tagging solution environment, any information collected that potentially shouldn’t have been allowed has the potential to be intercepted and scrubbed before it hits those third-party endpoints.


  1. Implementation is not easy: Platforms like Google Tag Manager (GTM) support limited out-of-the-box tags. Many vendors don’t have a server-to-server communication option available.
  2. Limited data transparency: Conducting regular website audit to maintain data hygiene is difficult as data transfer to the vendor happens from the server instead of the user’s browser.
  3. Implementation of user consent: Getting a user’s consent is a client-side activity, and additional development effort is required to manage the execution of server-side tags.
  4. Additional cost: A new tagging server will have to be created and maintained to collect and send data to marketing platforms.

iQuanti’s Recommendation

When it comes to maintaining data privacy and collecting whole data, it is important to prioritize the use of server-side tagging. However, we recommend implementing this approach in a phased manner, starting with one type platform at a time, such as an analytics or a media pixel platform.

It is important to note that server-side tagging can be more complex to implement than client-side tagging and may require additional infrastructure to support server-side processing. Additionally, not all tag vendors may support server-side tagging, which can limit the options available for implementation.

Looking for help transitioning to server-side tagging? Get in touch with us today to move seamlessly to a cookieless future, prioritizing data privacy while maintaining a positive user experience




The digital marketing landscape continues to evolve at pace. How can financial marketers stay ahead? This report uncovers the continued impact of generative AI, the transition to a cookieless world, and upheavals in the banking industry on financial marketing.


Generative AI, tightening privacy regulations, and ongoing economic uncertainty present challenges and opportunities to financial marketers.

  • Deposits continue to migrate to banks offering higher rates and security.
  • ChatGPT powered Bing is eating into Google’s pie.
  • AI is helping Meta, Pinterest, and TikTok turn their fortunes around.
  • OTT + CTV ad spending is projected to increase 49.6% YoY in 2023!

What do these trends mean for marketers?

At iQuanti, our focus is on serving our clients better through both innovation and driving better economics.

-Vish Sastry Rachakonda, CEO, iQuanti

Key Numbers


Microsoft's ad revenue YoY

Projected growth for AI in marketing


Search demand up for travel cards


Google Network revenue YoY


Meta's ad impressions YoY

Deposits at small US banks fell Mid-March

In Focus

AI in Marketing

Recent strides in Language Learning Models and Generative AI are fundamentally
transforming marketing and opening up new possibilities

With Microsoft and Google racing to leverage AI to transform search, digital advertising, and personalization,
brands need to focus on optimizing for conversational search queries and implementing structured data to
appear in more visually oriented search results

Download the report for more insights on what these trends mean for you.

The Client

A leading US-based river cruise company

The Challenge: Countering seasonal changes in demand

Our client operates sightseeing cruises in one of the US’s most iconic cities, granting tourists an unforgettable riverfront view of the city’s most famous landmarks. And while most of its customers are from within the US, it was looking to tap into new inbound travelers from outside the country to counter seasonal changes in demand.

The company’s team reached out to its long-time partner iQuanti to help identify a new target audience and digital strategy. Looking at historical performance reports and transaction reviews, iQuanti found that the majority of the company’s international visitors were from the United Kingdom (UK).

The Solution: Combining creative targeting and automated bidding

The client tasked iQuanti with getting the message out to its target audience across the Atlantic.

We launched branded and non-branded campaigns targeting the UK with the following segments:

  • Affinity segments:
    • Boating and sailing enthusiasts
    • Water sports enthusiasts
  • In-market segment:
    • Trips to the US city

In addition to audience targeting, keywords were aligned with seasonal ad copies that focused on the fall weather, transforming a negative into a positive.

Anticipating a decrease in demand following Labor Day, the UK prospecting campaigns were launched the previous day. We launched:

  • Five ad groups for branded keywords, representing the various cruise lines and names
  • Three ad groups for non-branded keywords, around the US city, things to do, and landmarks

We used automated bidding with target cost per acquisition (CPA) to optimize campaigns and work toward maximizing conversions.

Ad copy was written in British English to target UK residents with bottom-funnel content. And we sourced keywords with a major share of high-intent terms around the US city’s tourism.

The Impact: The business beat demand volatility and stayed the course on conversions and ad spend

iQuanti’s approach to overcoming the first hurdle of decreased ticket sales by targeting a brand-new audience gained buy-in from the client’s team quickly due to the creative targeting strategy behind it.

Automated bidding and tight CPA targets were key to maintaining efficiency in the campaign. Additionally, we targeted more creatively, using smart bidding with the right KPIs and optimizations to secure good performance and conversion rates from the UK audience.

  • We recorded 782 conversions over the course of 3 months, with an efficient average CPA.
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS) was 547%, which was at par with the account average for domestic tourists (at 545%).
  • 813 tourists from the UK visited the cruise’s pier in the given period.

Today, the cruise draws in more tourists than ever from across the pond, helping it build resilience and higher returns and growth. After a successful partnership in targeting inbound international travelers in 2022, iQuanti and the client are looking at the horizon together to continue to find efficiencies in international targeting and building brand voice in niche but profitable audience segments.

conversions in 3 months


return on ad spend (ROAS)

"Our client’s mission is to take their unique cruise experience to customers across the world. We helped them do that by marrying data and creativity to stay agile in an ever-evolving business environment."

Jennifer Scordia, VP, Strategic Accounts

Case Studies

Demand Generation

See how we generated double digit growth in leads and spent less on media.

Learn More

Digital Acquisition – SEO

See how we increased the organic footprint of a major brand in a highly competitive market.

Learn More

Experience Optimization

See how we made conversion gains and created a cohesive site experience.

Learn More




Deep dive into last quarter’s banking and financial services industry trends, digital acquisition trends, as well as new challenges and opportunities across digital channels


2023 is shaping up to be a year of seismic changes – and surprises – for financial marketers.


  • Spending growth of 7-17% YoY reported across major credit card issuers despite an uncertain economic environment
  • Consumer spending defied expectations to grow at 2.1% QoQ
  • Generative AI is shaking up content and search, while Amazon, TikTok, and Netflix take a bite of Google-Meta’s pie

At iQuanti, our focus in 2023 is on studying these evolving trends and unprecedented challenges and helping our clients manage the transition.

-Vish Sastry Rachakonda, CEO, iQuanti

Key Highlights




Bing Market share increased YoY

Personal loans
Students loans
Credit card spend

campaigns the
next big theme




Google ad revenues fell

Auto loads

Expected slowdown
across performance

In Focus

Generative AI

The battle of Als is intensifying, with serious implications on search dominance

Microsoft invested in OpenAl, which has several models in development, including ChatGPT. Google has responded by quickly announcing Bard, their equivalent AI tool.

Understand what this means for your marketing strategy .

Insights from our experts


Vishal Maru

VP, Digital Solutions, iQuanti


Sreekant Lanka

SVP, Solutions, iQuanti


Vishal Maru

VP, Digital Solutions, iQuanti

Download the report for more insights on what these trends mean for you.


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