Arrow Icon
blog header pale blue image blog header abstract shape

Heart of Advice

Insights and best practices for successful financial planning engagement

left arrow Back to All Articles

eMoney 2021 ROI of Digital Marketing Survey Results: Prioritizing Marketing Metrics Produces Results

Valerie Rivera July 1, 2021

Man Holding Different Digital Marketing Metrics Icon
Updated on: October 25, 2021

eMoney conducted a survey1 in April 2021 to uncover what kind of ROI financial professionals see from their digital marketing efforts. The results indicate that digital marketing is effective, but financial professionals must invest time, energy, and resources into digital marketing to achieve the results they want. This is especially true in the areas of client acquisition and retention.

Luckily, certain marketing methods that can help financial professionals achieve their goals faster than others.

The ROI Metrics Financial Professionals Care About

Key Finding: Growth is on the mind of most financial professionals. While there are many potential metrics that firms can use to measure digital marketing ROI, financial professionals are laser-focused on improving client acquisition, retention, and the client experience.

Survey Results:

  • 53% said that deepening current client relationships and increasing client satisfaction were their most important digital marketing metrics.
  • 50% named increasing client retention as the most important digital marketing metric.
  • 49% prioritized seeing an increase in new clients, an increase in client referrals, or the creation of a more positive client experience.
  • Increasing insights about specific target audiences or segments was ranked the least important metric at 1.5%.

Focusing on Acquisition Metrics Helps Realize Results

Key Finding: Financial professionals identify several acquisition metrics among the most important digital marketing ROI benchmarks. The survey discovered that financial professionals who focus on acquisition metrics are more successful in gaining new clients and referrals than those that were focused on other metrics like engagement, efficiency, or retention.

If growing your book of business is your firm’s primary concern, dedicating resources and shifting focus to raising acquisition metrics will help you see results.

Focusing on Retention Metrics Helps Realize Results, Too

Key Finding: When it comes to measuring the ROI of digital marketing methods and solutions, financial professionals also consider multiple client retention metrics to be important. According to the survey, keeping it top-of-mind pays off. Like acquisition, financial professionals who focus on retention metrics keep more clients than their counterparts who focus on other areas.

If client retention is a priority for your firm, spending time marketing to your current client base will help move the needle on these metrics.

Email Campaigns Generate More Leads Than Social Media

Key Finding: Utilizing multiple marketing methods is important, but some generate more leads than others. Financial professionals find that email campaigns are currently more effective for lead generation than social media campaigns. If lead generation is your focus, then investing in email campaigns is wise, particularly if you’re resource-strapped and need to make tough decisions about where to put your marketing resources.

But this doesn’t mean you should write off social media. Having a comprehensive digital presence is essential. Today’s consumers expect financial professionals to have social accounts and use them as part of their research process when searching for an advisor.

But beyond expanding your digital footprint, building a social presence now will prepare you for the future. As wealth transfers to younger generations who are digital natives and grew up on social, social media is likely to gain more traction as a lead generator. This trend reflects findings from the eMoney Consumer Marketing Report, which indicated that 60 percent of those aged 18-24 and 41 percent of those 25-34 have used an advisor that reached out to them on social media.2

Survey Results:

  • Email campaigns generated approximately 1.7x more leads than social media campaigns on average.
  • Email campaign materials had approximately 4% higher click-through rates on average than social media campaign materials.

Delivering Educational Content Is Essential

Key Finding: An effective digital marketing plan should use multiple tactics across several marketing channels, but different forms of educational content reign supreme. Proactively providing content that has educational value is the most effective way to increase both client retention and acquisition.

But our survey indicates that it can’t be just any old piece of content—it needs to be tailored to a specific audience and speak directly to their concerns. These results are in alignment with overarching marketing trends outside of the financial planning industry.

Survey results:

  • 48% of financial professionals identify custom content as the most effective marketing method for acquisition and retention.
  • 37% named webinars and events among their most effective retention and acquisition marketing tools, coming in second.
  • Targeted email campaigns came in third at 34%.
  • Only 25% named general email campaigns among the most effective methods for retention and acquisition, reinforcing the importance of audience segmentation and targeting.
  • In contrast to custom content, only 19% of financial professionals identified generalized content among the most effective retention and acquisition tools.

When It Comes to Digital Marketing ROI, You Get What You Give

To get the ROI you want from your marketing, you have to place your focus on specific, tangible marketing goals and leverage the marketing methods that best support those goals.

While it can be easy for marketing to get lost in the shuffle, making it a priority isn’t optional. It’s simply part of being a financial professional in today’s digital-first world.

Familiarizing yourself with different marketing methods, which methods resonate with your audience, and marketing best practices will help you maximize your ROI. Luckily, there are ways to make marketing easier and less time-consuming, like taking advantage of marketing automation tools that can streamline the process.

Jumpstart Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Sometimes, the hardest part of implementing a digital marketing plan is just getting started. After all, you can’t see the ROI of digital marketing if you’re not actually implementing a marketing plan.

To help you get the ball rolling, explore eMoney’s marketing resources for actionable guidance on how you can start bringing on more planning clients.

To learn more about the unique insights gleaned from this survey, see our webinar “Setting Marketing Goals for the Win” below.


1. 2021 eMoney ROI of Digital Marketing Survey, May 2021, n=188.

2. 2020 eMoney Consumer Marketing Survey, September 2020, n=2,000.

DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.

Image of Valerie Rivera
About the Author

Valerie Rivera, Senior Product Marketing Manager at eMoney Advisor, leads the go-to-market strategy for eMoney’s suite of business development solutions. Valerie began her career at eMoney in 2012 as an Account Executive and then a Live Trainer where she trained over 1,000 advisors on the eMoney platform – helping them drive success in their firms. In her spare time you can find Valerie outdoors--snowboarding, hiking, and mountain biking in her home in Colorado.

You may also be interested in...

A professional works at her computer.

How to Write a Strong Financial Advisor Bio

Clients today are looking for financial advisors who have expertise and experience, but they are also looking for someone who… Read More


An Overview of Client Acquisition for Financial Advisors

Acquiring new clients is critical for achieving growth in your financial planning practice. As clients get older, they shift from… Read More

A financial advisor meeting with prospective clients

From Prospect to Client: A Client Acquisition Workflow for Financial Advisors

New client acquisition is an essential task for any financial professional looking to grow their business. But financial advisors often… Read More

eBook: The New Advisor Value Proposition

Download our latest eBook and learn how top advisors are combining Fintech and FinPsych for superior client outcomes.

Download Now

Sign up to have the most popular Heart of Advice posts delivered to your inbox monthly.

Heart of Advice by eMoney Advisors

Welcome to
Heart of Advice

a new source of expert insights for
financial professionals.

Get Started

Tips specific to the eMoney platform can be found in
the eMoney
application, under Help, eMoney Advisor Blog.