Per reporter Chen Chen

On March 3, China Clearing announced that the number of new investors in February reached 17.2 million, an increase of 167.68% month-on-month, and this is also the number of new investors exceeded 98 million again after four months. It goes without saying that this is closely related to the market's widespread belief that "recovery" in 48 will become the key word for China's economy. In this context, how securities firms can seize market opportunities and accurately acquire customers through online or offline channels has always been the focus of the industry.

However, the reporter's investigation found that in recent years, more and more securities companies have joined the battle of online drainage and customer acquisition, and the cost has risen sharply, even approaching 1,000 yuan. At the same time, the homogeneity of brokerage services and the commission rate are killed again and again, which further releases the smell of gunsmoke of the brokerage customer acquisition war. Therefore, how to get out of differentiation and obtain high-quality leads from online channels within the cost accounting of each company has become a major problem for securities companies to acquire customers online. At the same time, the securities industry is caught in the dilemma of "buying traffic", and how securities firms can convert new customers into effective customers is also a topic that has been constantly explored.

Falling commissions and rising customer acquisition costs have plagued Tuoq

According to China Clearing data, as of the end of February 2023, the number of A-share investors was about 2 million, an increase of nearly 2 million from a year ago. In addition, the number of new investors reached 15.1500 million in February this year, an increase of 2.167% month-on-month, and investors ran into the market.

From the relevant company data that has just disclosed the 2022 annual report, it can also be seen that the brokerage company is still expanding the number of customers. Founder Securities said that in 2022, the number of new customers in the securities brokerage business will be nearly 160.6 million, accounting for 66.1483% of the market share, and the total number of customers will exceed 8.2022 million, ranking 2200th in the industry. Ping An of China said that by the end of 2022, the number of individual customers of Ping An Securities exceeded 200 million, ranking first in the industry, and about <> million new individual customers will be added in <>.

Similarly, a relevant person from Guojin Securities told reporters: "In 2022, the company's wealth management business will go against the trend and fully invest in the number of employees and service optimization, and the number of new accounts will increase significantly compared with 2021, which is a good level in the past 10 years." Since the beginning of this year, with the recovery of market confidence, the company's account opening since the beginning of the year has increased significantly compared with the same period in 2022. ”

In addition, a relevant person of Industrial Securities also said: "In 2022, the total number of customers and effective accounts of the company will continue to maintain a steady growth trend; In 2023, driven by new businesses such as personal pension business, the situation of new account openings will develop steadily and well. ”

The reporter learned that along with the number of investors still rising, there are two other phenomena that are plaguing brokerage customers: First, the A-share commission rate is still declining; Second, the cost of acquiring customers by securities firms continues to rise, approaching nearly 1,000 yuan.

As mentioned above, the brokerage commission rate of the securities industry is still in a slow decline due to factors such as the liberalization of new network policies, the intensification of homogeneous competition among securities firms and the rapid development of Internet financial models. Taking Shanghai as an example, data from the Shanghai Securities Association shows that the average commission rate of A-shares in Shanghai in 2022 was 0.257‰, down 0.89% year-on-year.

At the same time, the cost of acquiring customers for brokerages remains high. A strategic analyst of a securities firm in Shanghai told reporters that the cost of acquiring customers through external channels of securities firms has shown the characteristics of fluctuations and upward fluctuations, especially after the opening of one person per household and online business development in 2015, the cost of opening accounts through channels and private domain traffic conversion has been increasing. The cost of customer acquisition fluctuates around 500 yuan, and the cost of some high-quality channels, financial groups and big V may be higher. But on the whole, 500-1000 yuan is the general price of the industry, especially the external high-quality, effective channel customer acquisition cost in the past 1-2 years, due to the repeated use of cooperation by the securities industry, some "smart" channels are waiting for the price and selling, and even "set the brokerage account opening fee wool", its premium degree is high.

Online customer acquisition is increasingly valued by brokerages

Although the decline in commission rates and the high cost of customer acquisition are indisputable facts, brokerages still need to develop new customers in order to seek wealth management transformation. "Securities companies are facing the pressure of wealth transformation, whether it is live streaming, video account cultivation, or super APP iteration, stock customer groups, fund customer groups, and wealth management insurance customer groups are all wealth management public objects urgently needed by securities companies, and it is necessary to expand the base and cover diverse customer groups." The aforementioned strategic analyst of a Shanghai brokerage said.

The reporter investigated and learned that the current channels for securities companies to obtain customers are relatively diverse. On the one hand, through self-owned terminals and self-media, mainstream traffic platforms, vertical financial media and other channels, but also through beautiful account opening, new customer financial management, intelligent tool experience and other measures that are attractive to customers. In addition, the financial business classroom is also a new channel that has been "popular" in recent years, which has played a positive role in promoting investor education.

Simply put, the customer acquisition channels of securities firms can be divided into online and offline, and with the development and iteration of the Internet in recent years, online channel customer acquisition has attracted more and more attention from securities firms. Relevant people of Guojin Securities told reporters that the company adopts a new customer expansion strategy that pays equal attention to online and offline channels, and the current ratio of new online and offline customers is basically about 1:1. In addition, relevant people of Soochow Securities also told reporters that the proportion of new online and offline customers is basically 1:1.

A slight difference is that Industrial Securities' main customer acquisition channels come from offline, accounting for more than half. However, relevant people of Industrial Securities also admitted that with the continuous implementation of the company's digital intelligence construction strategy, the proportion of online customer acquisition continues to increase. In addition, relevant people of Ping An Securities said that the overall customer acquisition situation has a relatively large relationship with the market and channel policies, and online customers are very affected by market conditions, and the proportion of online will be higher when the market is good.

Relevant people of Guojin Securities said that online, the company continued the advantages of customer reputation and channel layout since the launch of Commission Treasure, and stabilized the source of online account opening. Relevant people from Soochow Securities told reporters that Soochow Securities is the first batch of securities companies in the industry to lay out online drainage and obtain customers, participating in Internet drainage as early as 2014 and establishing the then Internet Finance Division (now renamed Xiucai Business Department), seizing the first wave of Internet customer acquisition dividends.

Douyin has become a new scene for brokers to acquire customers

According to Analysys analysis data, in 2022, various brokerage apps have significantly increased their operation of public domain traffic platforms such as Douyin, and more than ten securities companies have now gained more than 10,<> followers. Among them, Ping An Securities, Galaxy Securities, Huatai Securities, Industrial Securities, and Capital Securities Douyin fans are in the forefront.

Relevant people from Ping An Securities said that the evaluation of Douyin's new channel has three points: "long-term optimism, deep traffic cultivation, and content customer acquisition". In his view, Douyin is a new scenario for brokerages to acquire users. Douyin continues to occupy the time of users of all ages with huge traffic, and through the continuous content output of many pan-financial influencers and financial media accounts, Douyin currently brings together a large number of shareholders and basic citizens, as well as people interested in financial investment, who are the growth point of new users.

Indeed, as a popular video platform, Douyin gathers a large number of young people with wealth management needs, and is a channel with great potential to expand customers. Relevant people of Guojin Securities also revealed that the company attaches great importance to the wealth management service needs of users of Douyin's new channels, and has tried to deploy advertising, content marketing and other aspects, with the help of the characteristics of these new channels that can be accurately reached, attracting the attention of users on the above platforms and choosing Guojin Securities services.

According to the reporter's observation, there are not only a number of excellent official accounts of brokerages on Douyin, but also many personal IP accounts. For example, the content operation team of Soochow Securities has established multiple IP accounts on multiple platforms such as Douyin, among which Xiaoqing Chat Finance and Soochow Xiaoqing have released more than 500 short videos in total, the cumulative number of views on the whole network has exceeded 5 million, and the number of fans on the whole network has exceeded 130.<> million, which has become the account with the highest number of individual IP fans in the securities industry. After browsing, the reporter found that these video contents were not serious financial news, but more interesting and popular self-produced content.

The same is true of Guohai Securities. In addition to opening official agency accounts, professional investment consultants are also organized in stages to open personal self-media accounts. Relevant persons of Guohai Securities said that through the overall planning and empowerment of the headquarters, we will create a "small shop" with a sense of temperature and differentiated content topics, and use the "content matrix" to meet the needs of users with different preferences for investment and education and related services in different professional fields. It is worth mentioning that combined with the positioning of female customer groups, the self-media platform has become the main position of Guohai Securities for the education of female customer investors.

The short video of the securities industry has not yet entered the stage of bringing goods

Although more and more securities companies attach importance to the layout of short video platforms represented by Douyin, industry insiders also frankly said that the current short video and live broadcast in the securities industry as a whole is still in the stage of branding, traffic marketing rather than bringing goods. At the same time, with the expansion of influence, the difficulty of increasing fans and operating costs are getting higher and higher. In addition, how to convert high traffic into high revenue is also a problem.

Relevant people from Ping An Securities said that the huge traffic has also brought about the problems of difficult user identification and long conversion links, which to a certain extent limits the conversion of customers. At present, our strategy on Douyin is still based on saving traffic and fans, and only customers who really like your content are the basis for subsequent conversion.

A relevant person from Guohai Securities said: "At present, the self-media platform as the main position mostly adopts an information push mechanism based on intelligent algorithms, and the more content a user accepts, the more he will receive a push that meets his preferences." And users are extremely convenient in content switching, such as Douyin, if the pushed video cannot attract people in a few seconds, the user's finger will be cut away. ”

In the view of the above-mentioned people, when carrying out public domain fan attraction, the "personality" of the account anchor, the topic selection of the output content, and the video style will naturally affect the accuracy of traffic. Unclear features and unclear content topics will in turn affect the algorithm, and it is difficult for users to be accurate; If the user is not accurate, the fast cut away, resulting in low data such as content, browsing time, number of likes, and number of shares, will lead to rarer traffic allocation.

In addition, a relevant person from Soochow Securities also told reporters: "For brokerages, there are many difficulties in the production of short video content. In her view, first, there is a lack of manpower, especially professional financial writers, professional shooting and editing production personnel, etc., short video is an emerging industry, and financial short video talents are scarce in the market. The second is original content, how to produce interesting and useful financial knowledge, transform boring financial knowledge into popular and vivid content, and let customers have empathy and trust. The team has to investigate a large number of similar competing products, study data, and even analyze the popular copywriting word by word to summarize and discover the rules of experience. The third is the problem of balancing traffic and compliance. As it is a professional financial institution, although it hopes to attract attention in terms of topic selection and copywriting, it must also take into account compliance considerations.

Industry shifts to "effective households"

It has to be said that it is expensive and difficult for brokers to acquire new customers. Some insiders frankly said that today's securities industry is falling into the dilemma of "buying traffic", and the lack of stickiness of customers attracted by the flow is common. The recognition of the customers who came through the cooperation financial blogger was not enough, and these customers recognized the financial blogger rather than the approved broker itself.

A strategic analyst of a securities firm in Shanghai commented that "buying traffic" is more a product of the market industry environment, the practice of each company and the pressure of internal assessment indicators. In the short term, the number of new customers in China's securities market has been in a slow incremental process, as long as the securities market is developing and investors are layout, the traffic dispute must be the core content of the new game. Lack of stickiness and low conversion rate of customers are inevitable results of this stage or the current stage.

Therefore, at a time when the industry's customer acquisition is seriously involved, more and more securities companies are gradually changing from "fighting the number of accounts" to "fighting for effective accounts". A typical example is that many brokerages have set their sights on activating precipitated customers this year.

"After communicating with my peers recently, I noticed that since the beginning of this year, for the top brokers, activating existing customers is more done, after all, these customers have a preliminary understanding of the company, if we can activate these precipitated customers into effective accounts, the effect will be even better." A senior figure in wealth management of a large brokerage firm told reporters. “

As said, the ultimate goal of a broker's acquisition is to convert into valid customers. Relevant people of Guojin Securities also believe that securities firms attach importance to the data of valid accounts of newly acquired customers in order to attract customers with real wealth management needs.

Relevant people of Soochow Securities further analyzed that this change is firstly due to cost considerations, and secondly, the company's performance appraisal ultimately pays attention to the quality of account opening and encourages customers with real investment needs. At the same time, relevant people of Guohai Securities also believe that excessive emphasis on "account opening orientation" will increase the probability of entering the market for people whose risk appetite and investment awareness do not meet the level of stock trading.

The reporter's investigation found that each securities firm has different indicators in measuring effective accounts, but the overall includes the proportion of valid accounts, customer deposits, customer retention time, customer satisfaction with services, customer assets and trading activity.

Take multiple measures to strengthen transformation

So, how to get out of the "buy traffic" dilemma and better convert customers into effective customers? The above-mentioned strategic analyst of a securities firm in Shanghai mentioned two suggestions, one is the assessment and incentive change of securities firms for branches, investment consultants and other practitioners, focusing on the assessment of effective accounts. The second is to operate its own business characteristics, labels and private domain content, and do targeted services and content for new customer groups such as silver customers and millennial customers.

In terms of experience, a relevant person from Soochow Securities told reporters: "To transform new customers into effective customers, the company has adopted an online + offline mechanism. A team of dozens of people has been established to further serve and convert customers who attract traffic online through telephone and WeChat. ”

In addition, she also said that while actively exploring and maintaining effective online channels, the offline business department completes the last mile of service marketing, undertakes the follow-up account opening services, suitability management, investor education and service work of Internet customers, and improves subsequent conversion through sincere and high-quality services. At the same time, it creates its own IP matrix, strengthens content output and content accompaniment, and combines its own channels for traffic introduction and conversion, so as to alleviate the pressure of "buying traffic" on production.

In addition, relevant people of Guojin Securities also told reporters that global customer acquisition and private domain operation have become an industry consensus. Public domain traffic is the foundation of private domain traffic, and private domain is to provide value to users and gain customer trust. At the level of private domain operation, precision marketing is mainly carried out through community and private chat.

"Taking the Tencent platform as an example, we reach investment and financial management customers through advertisements on public domain platforms such as Moments, Official Accounts, and Channels, and then use Tencent's official components to add staff to WeChat, guide customers to join enterprise WeChat groups, or guide customers to fill out forms and retain funds through the API messages of WeChat customer service." The above-mentioned Guojin Securities person said: "Enterprise WeChat groups can access private domain operation tools to improve community operation efficiency, and at the same time, they can also standardize community management with the help of group SOPs." Combined with community operations, active customers and potential customers are screened out for further operation management, such as content reach and event information reach, so that users have a deeper sense of trust in the brand, so that they are willing to precipitate and convert in the private domain. ”