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Unlocking trends for women and investing

“One of the things I lack confidence in is finances – both financial literacy and confidence in my financial future. I find myself hesitant to take risks and don’t feel confident in my knowledge around investing. I’ve seen when discussing finances with my female friends that many feel the same way as I do and lack confidence and education on how to invest money.” Ana-Liza Quirolgico, Senior Audience Marketing Manager, Microsoft Advertising

As women close the income gap and have the means to invest and take financial risks like their male counterparts, it’s important to address the concerns women have about investing.

Microsoft Advertising conducted a survey to determine how opinions about investing and financial services differ between men and women. We were interested to learn where and when women are investing, their concerns and search behaviors, and how search advertising can help our Financial Services advertisers target and engage with women more effectively.

We discovered that women are more comfortable with having their money in the bank versus investing it into long-term gains and strategies, and that they reported lower levels of confidence in investing. Even when women hold the same amount of capital, or greater knowledge about investing than men, they tend to have lower confidence in themselves about financial decision-making.

Varying confidence in financial management between men and women may be widening the wealth gap

43 percent of women rated themselves as being at the novice level or lower when thinking about their overall financial expertise, compared to 25 percent of men who stated they are novice level or lower. Confidence and risk-taking often go hand in hand. No surprise – when an individual has low confidence in their expertise, they are less likely to take risks. When women lack confidence in their financial expertise, they are less likely to take financial risks, which can widen the gaps between men and women in areas like investment.

53 percent of women express concern about one of three financial topics

In addition to feeling a lack of confidence in their overall expertise, women demonstrate significantly higher levels of concern over their finances. The top three concerns for women are poor credit scores, an inability to rid themselves of debt, and potential job loss. By putting pen to paper, women’s confidence in their ability to reach financial goals surges. When looking at those who are very confident that they can achieve their goals, only three percent have not established a financial plan. Even just thinking about building a plan instills greater confidence in their ability to reach their financial goals and when they have more confidence, they have more investments.

Women turn to search engines for financial advice and knowledge

How can we build women’s confidence in their expertise and knowledge of financial services? Right now, women cite online search as the primary source for their financial advice and information. Over half have turned to search engines recently to help build their knowledge, but find search significantly less useful than men. We know from previous psychological and search-based research that women and men differ in terms of how they conduct research and searches (consider this Autos study) so understanding and accounting for the differences on topics like keywords and site visitation are critical. It is imperative to consider your customers’ unique consumer decision journeys, specifically around how women customers are searching, and authentically market to them. We call it Marketing with Purpose.

Watch the Unlocking Trends of Women & Investing webcast

Want to learn more? Watch the “Unlocking Trends of Women & Investing” webcast to learn about the consumer decision journey of women in Financial Services, and how Microsoft Advertising products can help you reach these customers.

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