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Brand Safety and Mutual Trust: The Key to Building Financial Services Partnerships

Brand Safety and Mutual Trust: The Key to Building Financial Services Partnerships

If you are a financial services brand, working with creators and other third parties might seem like an impossible task. The risks of fines from non-compliance by third parties might seem too great. But there are methods available to ensure creators and other partners follow regulatory guidance – and what’s more, there are ways to do this at scale.

As the partnership economy continues to develop and grow, the opportunity for brands to reach new audiences, form deeper connections with discerning consumers, and achieve their growth objectives, is becoming increasingly valuable.

In the financial services sector, working with content creators offers brands a particular opportunity to connect with new and existing customers in ways that are relatable to them – helping brands build trust and credibility with customers, existing and new. And as the partnership economy grows, the ecosystem expands, and there are many more creators (and other partner types) that have built their niche.

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So in a world where authenticity is key, how do you go about keeping control of the many different influencers and wider partnerships you want to work with? For some brands, the answer is not to work with them, and to miss out on the connection that these partners offer entirely. But it is possible to utilise the vast volumes that creators can bring whilst ensuring that your brand is not being misrepresented or falling foul of the regulators.

This article explores how.

Maintaining brand safety and regulatory compliance in FS partnerships

As we know, the Financial Services sector is highly regulated. Brands in the Financial Services sector are responsible for content that their partners share about them, and this poses a significant risk for brands whose partners fail to comply with industry requirements. The idea of “end-to-end” safety starts with brands knowing that their programmes are protected, from the first time they set up their partners on a partnership management platform, to the way they pay their partners and protect their customers throughout the
buying journey.

The partnership economy allows brands to reach consumers in a way that emphasises trust and authenticity. Influencer marketing is often a great way to drive traffic and drum up demand in new places; it can bring new consumers to a brand they may not be familiar with, and help to debunk misconceptions in a way that feels trustworthy and compelling.

Having confidence in a partner’s abilities to maintain compliance is key. Evidence of heavy corporate influence detracts from the authentic, relatable interactions customers require if they are to remain engaged, and influencers need to talk in their own voice to effectively engage their audience. Getting to know an influencer helps a brand understand them as a person – as well as their reputation and character – which helps to limit risk.

Leveraging innovation to scale safely and protect partnership programmes from fraud

Tech innovations in the last few years have made it possible to manage brand safety and compliance, as well as protect programmes. For example, we have tools on impact.com that provide full-funnel insights for financial services brands, and reporting that helps them understand what their partners are doing at every stage of the customer journey. This helps them identify and address issues that could result in partner non-compliance, brand safety risks or fraudulent activity.

This technology can also be used to automate monitoring and resolution for key areas of a programme such as paid search, promotional codes, content/web monitoring and social monitoring. Reports can also help expose and protect against any fraudulent activity, including invalid traffic and attribution risk, which create significant risk for a programme, as well as wasting budget.

1. Invalid Traffic
Invalid traffic occurs when an event derives from a non-human source, is forced on a human without their prior knowledge, or never appened in the first place. Invalid traffic isn’t always malicious – it can include search engine bots, for instance – but is often driven by publishers committing fraud in order to collect payment for payable events. In the partnership space, invalid traffic is most applicable if you are paying partner commissions for events that do not involve a payment from customers, such as leads or mobile installs.

Invalid traffic monitoring ensures you only pay for legitimate actions in your programme. It eliminates unnecessary risk when building new partnerships, allowing you to scale quickly and achieve rapid growth with the right relationships.

2. Attribution Fraud
Partnership management platforms can also help with the exposure of attribution fraud; when a partner uses malicious tactics to steal conversion credit from another partner or source.

There are four common types of attribution fraud:

●Web attribution fraud: The fabrication of clicks to claim attribution and premium payouts for leads or conversions.

●Lead gen fraud: The collection of advertiser payouts for producing fake leads or conversion events.

●Mobile/Install attribution fraud: The exploitation of advertisers’ cost-per-install (CPI) campaigns by stealing or fabricating credit and then collecting revenue for driving an app install.

●Mobile/Install fraud: Collecting revenue for driving suspicious app installs.

This fraudulent behaviour can be damaging to your programme’s relationships, as the partners driving those conversions aren’t the ones earning credit for them.

Automation to fuel growth – managing partner recruitment and maintaining regulatory compliance at scale

Through working with the right SaaS technology solution and leveraging an integrated platform, financial services brands can both manage their partnerships at scale, and safeguard their brand and meet regulatory requirements. Technology can help here in a number of ways, including:

●Support with FCA regulated partnership recruitment – to find relevant, brand-safe partners that are aware of, and compliant with, brand and industry regulations.

●Leveraging tech solutions to improve program efficiency – for example, the ability to communicate with partners at scale through surveys and custom fields – as well as identifying partners by promotional method, channel, geography, reach and audience demographic.

●Devising different communication methods to interact with different types of partners at scale, and monitor their content and performance – flagging and resolving any transgressions immediately through 24×7 tech solutions rather than relying on manual monitoring and intervention.

Many of these tools use rules that, once set up, are constantly crawling the web to ensure any brand mentions and content are as per guidelines. This goes a long way in dramatically improving efficiency, scalability and the overall performance of a partnership program.

A successful platform should also work with you to assimilate your existing portfolio and define your future strategy, introduce you to leading publishers/partners, optimise your current partnerships and provide full-funnel insights and easy workflows.

In an industry working hard to tackle ad fraud in 2024 and beyond, this is not only best practice, but rather industry standard, enabling brands to maintain a safe environment leading to more productive partnerships, larger programmes and increased revenue.

Ultimately, developing a successful, long-lasting partnership requires trust between brand and partner. The partner needs to be able to maintain their own tone of voice and the brand needs assurances on regulation and compliance. Together, we can work towards a future based on brand safety and mutual trust – and eliminate fraud for good.

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