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American financial advisors plan to double down on digital marketing efforts, with a focus on targeting newer, younger clients.

According to U.S.-based Broadridge Financial Solutions’ third annual advisor marketing survey, conducted in July 2021, the top five marketing areas advisors intended to invest more in are social media, in-person events, websites, video content and advertising in digital media.

Among the 402 U.S. advisors surveyed, 57% of those with a defined marketing strategy gained a new client via social media over the last 12 months, versus 34% of those without one.

About seven in 10 advisors (71%) got a lead via LinkedIn, and 58% received a lead on Facebook. Twitter, Instagram and YouTube all proved much less effective (6%, 4% and 3%, respectively).

In last year’s survey, 37% of all respondents said they obtained a lead that became a client through social media, and similar proportions of respondents last year reported leads from LinkedIn (68%) and Facebook (58%).

In this year’s survey, slightly fewer advisors cited baby boomers as their main prospective target. In 2021, 79% of surveyed advisors said boomers were their primary target — down from 81% in 2020, and 83% in 2019. Now, 58% of advisors prioritize generation X — an increase from 46% last year.

A good portion of advisors are targeting potential heirs, with 82% indicating as much. Further, 40% planned to target additional generations within clients’ families, and 42% said they were already doing so.

The U.S. advisors surveyed also increased their average annual marketing spend, the survey noted. The average spend was $16,090 in 2021, up from $12,939 last year — an increase of 24%.

The majority were directing their spending efforts to new client acquisitions, as opposed to cross-selling existing clients. Advisors under 45 were devoting 70% of marketing spending to new client acquisitions compared to 57% of advisors over 55. Two-thirds (66%) of advisors said they were actively adding new clients, and 59% reported an uptick in inbound prospect requests.

However, very few advisors were satisfied with their marketing return on investment (ROI) — only 15% of respondents said they were satisfied.

That likely reflects the finding that only 26% of respondents had a defined marketing strategy. Advisors with such a strategy onboarded more than twice as many clients in the past year compared to those who didn’t, the survey said.

The survey was conducted by 8 Acre Perspective Corp., across the wire, regional, independent broker-dealer and registered investment advisor channels.