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Practice Management

Multimedia tools are primary sources for educating individuals on financial matters and promoting financial literacy, study says.

This Practice Management article is intended for financial advisors only (registered representatives of broker dealers or associated persons of Registered Investment Advisors).
 

The responsibility for planning and saving for retirement increasingly rests on individuals—and video, quizzes, games, podcasts, presentations, and other multimedia tools are primary sources for educating individuals on financial matters and promoting financial literacy, according to "Online Investor Education Web Resources for Retirees," new research from Corporate Insight.

Video is an excellent medium for promoting financial literacy and presenting product information, Corporate Insight said, and half of the companies covered by the Annuity Monitor Report host annuity-specific videos on their websites to prompt interest in annuity products or riders.

Fact sheets, prospectuses, and other downloadable resources, while generally available, are potentially offputting. Annuity providers generally do well at promoting video resources, Corporate Insight said, noting that seamless navigation and quick access are critical to user acceptance and use; 70% of those companies covered by Annuity Monitor use a multimedia submenu tab to facilitate navigation.

"The most engaging of these videos offer a good mix of audio and visual aids, utilizing a host, speakers, and background charts and graphs that offer product comparisons and/or highlight the key product features of annuities or annuity riders," the report said. And the most effective of the videos are short and include chapter menus to break content into smaller packages.

The range of videos include market updates and tutorials. Corporate Insight recommends videos be labeled, with insignia implying that a particular file is in fact a video, and that video be imbedded in the page, rather than in a new window.

In the past year, social media usage also has increased among firms included in the Annuity Monitor, Corporate Insight said, and consumer education is primary goal of those efforts.

"Polls and quizzes are a common way for firms to engage users on the topic of financial education using social media," Corporate Insight said in the report. "Quick facts as status updates for Facebook also provide insightful commentary on pertinent financial topics. Finally, repurposing consumer and producer-facing videos on a YouTube channel is a good way to centrally host multimedia videos that focus on product education."

Interactive games are another way of promoting financial literacy on Facebook and public websites, and engaging consumers while creating product awareness and branding opportunities, Corporate Insight said, but only 17% of companies surveyed offer them.

The report also includes a description of effective product pages and tabs and the instruction to provide performance reporting, including historical returns, daily prices, and performance reports, and that pages should be organized and key information displayed in an easily readable format.


Chris McMahon contributes regularly to content on Financial-Planning.com.

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