The challenge of integrating promotional messaging into an account management site


When I sign into a secure website to manage a bank or credit card account, I expect a clean and straightforward interface that makes it easy to accomplish tasks like viewing a statement, paying a bill, etc. I also understand that those companies need to make money, so I don’t mind if they use the account management site to let me know about other products and services. But sometimes they go way too far.

One credit card I use is a great example of this. They’ve managed to intersperse several promotions for products I don’t use onto nearly every page of the account management site. Plus, these ads look just like the links you use to navigate the regular functions, like viewing your statement. At best, it’s distracting, and at worst, it’s deceptive.

A few guidelines would serve everyone well. When placing promos or ads inside a secure customer site, try to consolidate them on the welcome screen or similar areas, maybe with the heading of “Special offers” or “Products you might like”. Then, make sure to give these offers a unique visual style so they aren’t mistaken for regular navigation. A subtle background or border should do the trick.

Whatever approach you choose, remember that customers come to the account management site to complete a task. If you try to trick them into clicking on the wrong thing every time they visit that site, it’s going to lead to lower satisfaction and higher attrition over time.