Adblocking on Mobile
The newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 9, is unnerving publishers and advertisers alike. For the first time, Apple has opened the way for content blocking on Safari, enabling developers to create “a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content.” Just like that, paid advertising has been cut from the most widely used mobile browser in the United States. That’s a dramatic change.
More importantly, the pace of iOS 9 downloads has exceeded any other previous iOS — a sign that users desperately want a mobile experience that doesn’t flood their screens with advertisements. They’re sick of being interrupted with irrelevant popups.
Based on the popularity of iOS 9, banks should take note and realize that traditional means of advertising just won’t cut it today. Instead, financial institutions should learn from players such as Netflix and Amazon, whose “Recommended for You” features deliver targeted suggestions that aren’t blocked in the latest iOS 9 release. Amazon’s approach is the opposite of traditional advertising. Rather than interrupt the user experience, it considers the need of each specific person and delivers real utility.
What Banks Can Learn From Adblockers
Financial institutions should pattern after Amazon by making smarter use of the data that’s available to them. They should first pull from direct sources and leverage various APIs to see a wide mix of internal and external data. From there they can take any number of approaches, from offering up their top recommendations for reaching better financial health to offering specific advice about applying for a mortgage. What’s important here is that 1) the advice relies on real user data, 2) the advice is catered for each specific user, and 3) the advice is actually advice and not an advertisement. It should put the users’ needs first.
Some financial institutions worry about moving forward on this front because they’re scared that the user will know that they have access to their data and will then view their financial institution as "Big Brother."
Such fears are without foundation. What consumer complains about Amazon’s “Recommended for You” feature? And who doesn’t know that financial institutions have access to their data? The truth is that consumer expectations are shifting, and they now expect financial institutions to make use of their data. They want a personalized experience. A 25-year-old doesn’t want to see an RV ad. They want to see advice on how to decrease student loans and pay off their debt faster. They want guidance on how adding more to their monthly payment could get them out of debt.
Long-term Loyalty Leads to Long-term Profit
When bankers hear the call to give impartial advice, some might have additional worries. They might think that if they give their account holders impartial advice on how to best manage their money, their bank will lose out on interest revenue. While there may be truth to this, in the end doing what’s best for account holders will generate long-term gains through loyalty. If the bank can repeatedly show that they put their users’ needs above their own bottom line, the bank will prevent those users from switching to another institution. After all, why would a user decide to switch banks if they know that their current institution is really and truly looking out for them?
By developing a strong culture of advice based on better leveraging data, banks will end up seeing tremendous cost savings in terms of human capital and marketing resources. They will no longer focus on interrupting the user experience and will instead provide legitimate help. As a result they will reap the rewards that come with long-term loyalty. Nothing is more critical in an increasingly competitive landscape.