Why finance advertisers need to embrace content publishers

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As insurance regulations are changing the rules around incentives offered by the affiliate channel, we need to rethink the publisher mix within finance.

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For insurance brands, the affiliate channel has always delivered the best value for consumers. This not only aligns with the wants of the consumer (especially in light of the cost-of-living crisis) but also FCA policy with the regulator’s new pricing practices for general insurance requiring that existing customers are not charged a higher rate than if they were a new customer. With the regulation affecting pricing incentives, advertisers within the space need to look at how to reach customers and drive new policies without the new customer incentives that have dominated the space. Whilst there will be a significant impact to the existing partner type mix, it potentially raises questions on how brands can shift their partner programmes to serve them within the environment. Upper funnel activity such as content will be able to play a more significant role for advertisers.

Broadening Horizons

The insurance space has always relied on lower funnel publishers, such as cashback and discount sites, as conversion rate boosters on products where switching consideration can be long. As a result, upper funnel activity, which can communicate product value and information has not been as much as a focus, although there already exists a wealth of content publishers including media houses and influencers within this space. Content within finance is traditionally limited to money saving articles, but it could be time to consider broadening horizons. For brands, this could mean looking at using content sites to help communicate more unique and qualitative aspects of your insurance products that differentiate beyond price. For example, advice blogs could highlight extras such as smart home alarm systems being included in a home policy. Learnings could be taken from other verticals like retail, where we also see affiliate content playing a part in brand activity with sponsored content and influencer marketing.

Measurement barriers

Despite the opportunities, it’s worth addressing why the finance space has not embraced content in the same way as other verticals. It comes with the territory that finance brands have to justify marketing spend against their revenue and risk models. Lower funnel activity is a lot easier to measure within basic last-click analysis, whereas content is often a component in a chain of touchpoints. To better assess the imact of content, we recommend that finance brands ensure they are using appropriate multi-attribution tools to measure the contribution of all affiliates in converting and non-converting journeys. Awin’s own SingleView has been utilised by many of our advertisers to allow for a much deeper understanding of the value of the value of publishers beyond the last click. The easy integration with Awin’s MasterTag means that this is an easy option to help with a content strategy.

Ensuring content safety

Another barrier to overcome is ensuring that content is compliant with any brand and regulatory guidelines. Awin’s compliance team ensures that there is already a strong baseline of publisher compliance and quality, but we’ve developed solutions that can help with this, with technology that is able to detect missing or disallowed terms but that also helps manage the auditing process. Within Awin’s managed influencer programmes, we use tools like Tagger to not only vet authenticity of follower counts but to allow content sign-off with a clear paper trail. Whilst the approach may mean working with a larger mix of partners, we believe that the tools such as Rightlander, which we use with a number of clients, can ease the audit burden and ensure confidence in content activity. That being said, brands do need to consider how they can make sure that if their publisher on-boarding process includes any specific rules such as approved text or disclaimers that it is easily accessible to publishers.

The channel’s role for insurance is changing, but now is the time to see how your brand can continue to help consumers make informed choices using the wide range of content publishers on our network. Moving to this model may be a series of test and learn, requiring other areas outside of performance teams to get buy-in. However, the lasting effect should be a more diverse partner mix which can deliver real value to your programme and future customers.

If you’re an advertiser and want to explore how Awin can help accelerate your ecommerce activity in the new year, please get in touch.

Or if you’re a publisher or influencer who wants to leverage Awin’s platform to create more money-making partnerships, get started today.