With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating interest in online banking and financial product brands in the financial services industry are spending more on digital advertising than ever. eMarketer projects that financial services advertisers will spend £14.62 billion on digital channels this year – that is nearly double the £8.08 billion they spent in 2017.

With digital marketers re-evaluating their budgets, affiliate marketing is an optimal way to maximise return. As advertisers only pay when a conversion takes place, the channel is considered a low-risk way to drive more traffic, leads, and sales to your business.

However, for financial brands, this is not always the case. FCA regulations and company compliance requirements need to be managed carefully to ensure publishers and the communication of offers are compliant. For financial brands to work effectively through the affiliate channel, robust compliance must underpin the entire strategy. Tracking solutions, sharing of data, publisher recruitment, optimisation of offers, the message on 3rd party sites and reporting requirements all need to be under the microscope to protect consumers, publishers and advertisers alike.

All too often the complexity, technology requirements and time constraints can impede an advertiser’s ability to be agile and expand partnerships beyond a narrow set of partners. The alternative is seen as too risky, or too time-consuming. The result is missed opportunity to grow and develop a successful programme, and of course, fewer approved applications.

The Challenge of Compliance

The ability for financial advertisers to drive growth through affiliate marketing has been hindered for years, by three key challenges: Growth, Quantity vs Quality and Compliance.

Compliance regulations are integral to help maintain the integrity of the financial institution and provide stability for the market. Regulatory oversight for financial brands is increasing and so are the consequences of non-compliance as regulators crack down on misinformation and protect consumers. At the same time, we’ve seen publishers responding to the increased appetite for digital financial products and promoting financial services. This has created even more complexity for advertisers to keep track of their offers and messages.

The complexity and concerns of managing compliance have often stifled innovation within the financial services sector. When financial service institutions approach us, they often recognise the opportunity exists to expand their activity within affiliate marketing. In addition to securing more approved applications amongst their target customer portfolio, they also wish to reduce an over-reliance on a small number of very influential publishers who market on a narrow set of criteria.

Before having the confidence to tackle this challenge, brands need a partner who can help them by providing both the expertise in affiliate marketing and in compliance.

It is the combination of these two areas of expertise that empowers financial advertisers to scale efficiently through the affiliate channel without exposure to greater risk.

Stay compliant: Gain new customers and scale your business

Rakuten Advertising has a compliance team with over 20 years of experience in financial affiliate marketing. We provide a combination of the best of industry experts and automated proprietary tools to monitor compliance and help financial brands grow in a safe way. This makes auditing easier, faster and protects your brand like never before

Our platform offers comprehensive protection across all publisher types.

The key features include:

  • Real-time monitoring to ensure potentially fraudulent activity is identified immediately
  • Content monitoring to ensure messaging is aligned on publisher sites to business requirements
  • Social listening to track brand sentiment and monitor reach
  • Real-time updates to ensure there are no marketing errors preventing issues before they occur

These features allow financial advertisers to work with publishers more confidently and ensure activity is aligned to compliance requirements and regulatory standards set by the FCA.

If you’d like to learn more about affiliate marketing for financial services, please contact our finance expert, Harry Johns.