A double shock has been pushing the investment industry to change:
First, it was the rise of passive investing, squeezing out active portfolios. Then came the rise of platforms, where financial advisors and self-directed investors could self-select their funds. All the while, customers – both institutional and retail – began expecting more information than ever before.
In this highly competitive era, where clients are informed and spoilt for choice, content has become the new business card. The pandemic has only made it more so.
Investment marketers are working hard to adapt, but are facing a structural barrier:
Sales and distribution teams are in regular contact with clients; marketers and portfolio managers are not. Those creating investment marketing content rarely have access to audiences’ cares and concerns.
Expectations, on the other hand, have ballooned: content marketing is now expected to help with tactical lead generation, and become an integral part of the distribution process.
What marketers need right now, is direct access to what their clients care about.
A new way to know your client
Traditionally, marketers wanting to get a feel for what’s on clients’ minds had two options: run a survey, or hold a focus group. The first delivers quantitative data; the latter, qualitative insights.
Social listening on investor conversations, taking place on digital online communities, provides both. Such communities offer real-time insights of engaged investors, and are a deep source of market intelligence – especially to investment marketers.
Below, for example, is the topic split for conversation in a typical week, for two highly-active Reddit communities: ‘Investing’ and ‘UK Investing’:
Unlike with surveys or focus groups – where you can never be sure if participants answer truthfully – social listening tells you what people are really thinking. Investors speak their mind freely, and are invested in the viewpoints they work hard to articulate.
It’s way for marketers to be informed directly on client views: not just in terms of what they’re thinking, but how they’re saying it.
Where should you listen?
Since the purpose of social listening is to extract a strong, actionable signal, selecting the right social network
and types of conversations is crucial. Four criteria are helpful for judging the suitability of platforms:
- The degree of Anonymity a platform supports (financial issues are sensitive!)
- The degree of Context Collapse (it’s tough for deep financial conversations to competing for attention with cheap memes!)
- The degree of Social Signalling on the platform (it’s easy to ‘Like’, but comments are more valuable)
- The degree of Quality Control (ranging from “low touch” automatic moderation to “high touch” human moderation.)
When comparing social-networks by number of daily users, the top three are Facebook, Instagram and…Reddit.
Reddit is an online forum-platform with over 130,000 communities (called subreddits), each dedicated to a specific topic. In financial media, it gained prominence because of its ‘WallStreetBets’ community, which mobilised its users to push up stocks like GameStock.
However, elsewhere on the platform are multiple other communities, with millions of members. Its main ‘Personal Finance’ community alone, for example, has over fourteen million members; its Investing community has over a million.
Here’s how the Facebook, Twitter and Reddit compare on each of the above metrics:
How to Extract New Insight
The volume of information on digital communities cannot be processes by humans alone.
FinText – a marketing research firm offering a data-driven approach – uses Natural Language Processing to extract insights from investors conversations.
We analyse what investors are saying, to identify untapped themes. We also benchmark anything from hot topics to language use, aiming directly for content clients enjoy consuming. These create for our clients actionable, data-backed insights.
It’s all too easy for companies to sink money into content-creating processes that deliver stuff hardly anyone wants to consume. But this only happens because the client is far-removed.
To build trust with your audience, get direct access to what they really care about.
Vered Zimmerman is Managing Director at, FinText