marketer analysing financial chartsHistorically, the financial sector hasn’t seen the same level of innovation and creativity that we have seen in other retail verticals. This has been due to consumer behaviour and the slow adoption of game-changing technology and opportunities by financial service providers. In 2021, we predict that this is all going to change with the financial services sector becoming a hub of innovation.

In this blog post, Rakuten Advertising’s Client Development Manager for Financial Services, Harry Johns explores why finance advertisers should take a fresh look at their affiliate programme and its importance within the marketing mix.

Online demand will bounce back and create greater demand

Credit spending in 2020 fell 50% in the first month of lockdown. With many consumers furloughed or earning less, the need for credit products has decreased. However, this demand reduction is unlikely to last. Looking forward, TransUnion’s 2021 consumer forecast predicts that demand for credit products will increase by 65% in the second half of 2021.

With no alternatives during lockdown, internet sales shot up as the country went into lockdown in late March. This increased online activity spans all demographics – including those historically less comfortable transacting online. Finance is no exception and online applications may have a markedly larger share of conversions for financial service products in 2021.

An increase in financed focussed online advertisers and publishers

There has been exponential growth in the finance sector, from wealth management apps and payment cards to bill and credit management services. Consumers have become far savvier and therefore the number of online touchpoints has increased when making financial decisions. This change has enabled providers to engage and interact with potential customers at all stages of the decision tree.

Getting the right message to the right person has always been the cornerstone of digital marketing. However, for finance providers, delivering that message via a partner the end-user trusts is essential to gain trust and credibility.

Technology and innovation will support credit scoring and publisher compliance

Concerns over publisher compliance have often stifled innovation within the financial services sector. The cost of monitoring and the risk of fines have deterred some advertisers from engaging with potential partners. Here are Rakuten Advertising, we use a combination of human and technology to support fraud monitoring, content monitoring, social listening and publisher analysis.

These innovations ensure advertisers can be confident in the publishers they partner with and increase the prequalification of leads.

Greater ability to personalise offers, commissions and messages

One of the advantages of affiliate marketing has always been the pay-on-performance model. However, choosing how much to pay for which result has been limited by technology and certain publishers. Often a ‘one size fits all’ approach is taken with a flat CPC or CPA rate. Limitations to the scope of publishers some financial services providers work with further restricts the ability to be creative.

In 2021, the financial services sector can catch up with some of the creative ways to manage publisher incentives. Varying commission rate by customer type, geography or product type – or multiple other factors – allows advertisers to encourage publishers to deliver the right kind of business. Expanding the range of publisher partners on your programme allows advertisers to less dependent upon certain publishers who are restrictive in payment models.

Combining the tailoring of publisher incentives with user-specific messaging allows affiliate performance to be managed in a much more granular way. This enables much more sophisticated optimisation within the channel which in turn means better results.

This year will no doubt see more demand, but also more competition for financial providers. Utilising the affiliate channel effectively has never been more important. Financial Services providers who take the time to review the channel and make the most of the opportunity will be well placed to succeed in 2021.

To find out more about how Rakuten Advertising tools can help you improve your financial affiliate marketing programme please visit our finance resource centre to get in touch with one of our experts.