It’s no secret that affiliate marketing budgets are on the rise in the financial services sector. From 2011 to 2017, affiliate marketing spend by the big four banks rose from 11.7% of overall digital ad spend to 14.1%. Despite all the regulations that slow progress in the financial industry, fintech brands are catching up with mobile apps, influencer marketing, and loyalty programs. And it couldn’t be a better time for them to do so.
In this blog post, we outline how financial companies can use affiliate marketing to acquire new customers, reach new audiences, and grow their own money-making affiliate marketing programs.
Best affiliate partners for fintech brands
In essence, affiliate marketing is about leveraging different kinds of partners — publishers, bloggers, influencers, et al. — to promote a product, service, or company to their audiences. As a model based on performance, it can be a sound investment decision for companies in the financial sector. But that doesn’t mean fintech brands should be careless with their marketing budgets or throw everything at the affiliate wall to see what sticks.
Done right, affiliate marketing by financial services can benefit these companies in several ways:
- Open untapped audiences for incremental growth
- Access high-quality, engaged, and/or niche customers
- Improve ROI versus traditional (non-performance-based) advertising
- Target and pay only for desired results
Before they can reap the rewards, fintech brands have to find the right partners to bring them in. Below, we present five of the best kinds of partners to help financial services companies raise their bottom line.
Comparison sites like Policygenius, Ratehub.ca, FinanceBuzz, and Bankrate help consumers sift through a variety of financial products like credit cards, mortgage rates, loan options, and insurance companies to identify which ones are right for them. The sites compare different interest rates, annual fees, and incentives to open new accounts, linking readers directly to them once they find the option that’s best for them.
Community and content publishers
With over 200 million ad blockers installed across browsers everywhere, consumers are more resistant than ever to in-your-face advertising. As such, publishers and blogs lend themselves nicely to content that consumers actively seek out to get everything from expert information to personal recommendations. Personal finance sites like The Penny Hoarder, HowToSaveMoney.ca, Business.com, Finance Girl, and smaller niche sites provide articles, reviews, offers, and recommendations about financial products and services.
Content affiliates are incentivized to share financial companies in exchange for commissions. Depending on your budget and offerings, there is a wide range of how banks and other financial institutions pay bloggers. Bank of America, for example, reportedly offers $120 per credit card approval, Discover pays $115, and TurboTax gives 15% commission per sale.
They say 2018 was the year of influencer marketing, and while it might take some time to find the right influencer for your brand, financial services can also capitalise on the trend. Research your industry to find popular gurus, or even niche experts, who might be able to promote your product or service on social media. Check specialty websites that help rank influencers by vertical, engagement, location, and cost. Find out who your competitors are working with, and how other brands grew their financial influencer relationships. Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing, so customers who follow a certain influencer will be more likely to trust their recommendations over any old review site full of strangers.
Deal and coupon partners
As you can see in the image below, deal and coupon sites like The Smart Wallet, RetailMeNot, and Brad’s Deals incentivise their readers with coupons for opening new personal banking accounts, enrolling in new financial courses, and taking advantage of credit card offers.
Loyalty and rewards affiliates
Loyalty and rewards affiliates offer cashback, points, or other types of rewards for using a product or service. Companies like Rakuten and Swagbucks offer paid gift cards and points for taking surveys, signing up for new subscriptions, or watching videos. Loyalty affiliates are a good option to keep in mind, as exposure and conversions increase by more than 400% when physical or digital rewards are offered.
How to start investing in affiliate marketing
Finding the right affiliates to work with is only one step in creating a successful affiliate marketing campaign. Fintech brands must also determine goals and budgets, set metrics, document marketing policies, implement compliance controls, and manage technology to pull it all together, for a start.
If you’re ready to launch your own affiliate program, head over to our Ultimate Guide to Partner Marketing series for a step-by-step breakdown that will put you on the path to success.