Retail investors in Hong Kong are changing how they manage their wealth and make financial decisions. A recent consumer study we commissioned shows that in the wake of the pandemic and macroeconomic uncertainties, people want greater control over their investments. They’re turning to digital financial services to directly manage their wealth. Their experience, however, hasn’t been perfect, and there’s a critical opportunity for financial brands to close the gap.
Self-directed investors face three common challenges: identifying credible information online, figuring out difficult-to-understand financial information, and making sure they aren’t missing out on suitable investment products and opportunities.1 Financial brands that help people overcome these challenges not only empower investors, they also become essential to customers in this climate of uncertainty.
For financial brands to take on the role of empowering people in self-directed investing, we’ve found, based on our study, that brands should focus on two things. First, they need to know the most relevant digital touchpoints for investors and how to be readily accessible on those channels. Second, they need to know how they can empower investors with relevant information presented in an engaging way.
How to be accessible on the most relevant digital channels
To reach and engage self-directed investors, brands need to be present on the digital channels most relevant to their audience. After all, 74% of investors have used more self-directed channels to manage their wealth in the past one to two years, and more than 80% say digital channels, including websites and Search, are a major touchpoint for them.2
Online video, in particular, is an important digital touchpoint for self-directed investors, with 42% saying they find online videos engaging.3 But online video is more than just a captivating format.
Video platforms like YouTube enable retail investors to directly connect with content creators and entire communities of people who are similarly interested in wealth management and investment. Bank employee-turned-investor Rainishere, for example, uses her YouTube channel to share her experience of achieving financial freedom in her early-30s with her 143,000 subscribers.
Financial brands can likewise use YouTube’s ecosystem of creators and communities to engage self-directed investors. For example, HSBC collaborated with the creator Gen-Z Investor on a series of financial education videos. The creator shared financial tips and products, including those from the bank, to help people in their 20s save money and invest toward their financial goals.
To be automatically present across all relevant digital channels, including Search and YouTube, financial brands can tap into the machine learning power of automated marketing solutions to maximize performance. Performance Max, for example, enables brands to run a single automated campaign across the Google Ads inventory and connect with self-directed investors wherever they are in their investment journey.
How to provide helpful and engaging information to empower decision-making
For self-directed investors, financial information that is unreliable, difficult to understand, or overwhelming in volume can make them feel disempowered. Indeed, 81% of investors say investment and wealth management products should be simple and easy to understand.4 So brands should make their information clear enough for even the least experienced investor.
A dash of fun can also help. Of the investors surveyed, 67% would like their investment information to come with an element of fun; this percentage increases to 76% among those aged 25 to 34.5 A game-like financial simulator, for instance, can help illustrate how an investment product works, while a simple quiz-like game with rewards can help people test their knowledge of financial information and earn points.
Live streaming is another way brands can make investment information engaging. They can also have YouTube creators host the live stream and interact with the audience to make the information more relatable and memorable.
It’s not enough, however, for brands to make easy-to-understand investment information available online. Our study finds that there is a high expectation toward digital-enabled experience, with 77% of investors expecting more personalized information that is relevant to their needs and stage of life.
To provide a more meaningful customer experience, brands should build an integrated customer database and create bespoke user segments to deliver the most relevant information to each group. Google’s unified machine learning and bidding solution, Smart Bidding, for example, uses real-time automation to optimize content and enables brands to reach their priority users, including high-value customers, with the most useful information.
As people in Hong Kong move toward self-directed investing, financial brands have an opportunity to empower them and play a crucial role in their financial investments and decisions. By being readily accessible on the right digital channels, and providing clear, engaging, and relevant information to investors, brands can stay top of mind and help investors navigate this time of economic uncertainty to achieve their financial goals.