Personal finance advertising lagging behind consumer internet drive

CONSUMERS have been faster to go online to buy personal finance products than the companies selling them have been to promote them over the internet, research today claimed.

Some 85 per cent of consumers research financial products such as mortgages, credit cards and loans online, with around 55 per cent going on to buy a product over the net.

At the same time six out of ten people said they became aware of a new financial product or service for the first time through the internet. Despite this, research carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers for search engine Google found that financial services firms are allocating less than ten per cent of their overall media budgets to internet advertising.

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More than 50 per cent of budgets are being used for print advertising in some cases, despite companies rating it as being less cost-effective than either online, television or direct mail advertising.

Ian Carrington, head of financial services at Google Europe, said: "Consumers across Europe have been swift to discover that the internet offers huge improvements to their shopping experience for personal finance products.

"For the sake of their customers and their own commercial success, finance firms need to move faster and more fully online."