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Asset managers focus more on ESG advertising in Europe during Q4

Advertisers on average allocated a higher percentage of their budget to ESG advertising

Key points:

  • More asset managers were advertising their ESG capabilities in Europe in Q4 compared to Q3
  • The share of ESG advertising as a percentage of total paid online advertising has risen from 7% to 19%
  • More than half of ESG advertisers promoted insights rather than brand or fund promotion

More ESG advertisers were in market in Europe during Q4 of 2021 than in Q3 and they overall allocated a higher percentage of their budget to ESG advertising, according to data from Fundamental Monitor.

During the last quarter of 2021, 61 asset managers were advertising their ESG capabilities compared to 46 during Q3 of 2021.

Furthermore, the share of ESG advertising as a percentage of total asset management paid online advertising rose from 7% to 19% during the same period. However, during both quarters Vontobel ran a very large sponsorship campaign for bonus certificates in Germany, which has distorted the figures. If we exclude Vontobel from the calculations, the share of ESG advertising rose from 23% to 44%.

If we look only at the advertising of those asset managers who were actively promoting ESG, the share of their ESG advertising as a percentage of their total advertising increased from 8% to 21%. If we exclude Vontobel, we see an increase from 38% to 54%.

Q4 2021 Europe ESG advertisers_medium

The fourth quarter also saw a shift in the focus of ESG advertisers. Where fund promotion was the most popular advertising purpose for ESG advertisers in Q3, during Q4 55% of ESG advertising focused on insights. ESG fund promotion fell from 43% to 27%, while ESG brand campaigns fell from 32% to 18%.

Apart from Norway, all European countries monitored by Fundamental Monitor saw some ESG advertising activity during Q4. The UK saw the highest number of different ESG advertisers (38), followed by Germany and Switzerland (25 each) and Spain (23).

There were a total of 13 advertisers who focused all their advertising on ESG during Q4: Nordea Investment Funds, Royal London Asset Management, NN Investment Partners, Rize ETF, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Kempen Capital Management, Impax Asset Management, Candriam Investors Group, FlexShares, FE Investments, iM Global Partners, AXA Investment Managers and Alliance Bernstein.

Despite the high amount of ESG activity, it still generates a lot of engagement from professional and end investors. Research by Fundamental Media into asset managers' social media posts found that ESG is continuously in the top five of most engaging topics on social media. 

Below are some examples of the type of ESG advertisements that were in market in Europe during Q4 2021:

 Q4 2021 DWS ESG Europe_original

Q4 2021 Liontrust ESG Europe_small

Q4 2021 Oddo ESG Europe_small

Insights Competitor alerts Asset managers focus more on ESG advertising in Europe during Q4