Leading digital marketing agency, AccuraCast has called on the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) to provide clearer guidance to financial bloggers and influencers who are working with brands in the financial sector.
Currently, guidance from the ASA is that if payment made, whether monetary or something is given for free and a brand has some kind of control over the content (whether approval or stipulating which hashtags should be used), then the fact the content is an advert should be ‘obviously identifiable’. This can be done by using a hashtag such as #ad or #advert. Influencers also need to adhere to ‘code rules’ from ASA around advertsing financial products. However there is no specific advice for influencers advertsising financial products from the ASA.
In addition financial brands often have different rules and regulations to meet their own internal compliance and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidance.
AccuraCast believes that clear, specific guidelines would make working relationships between influencers and financial brands more effective, as the uncertainty can often hamper the speed in which content is approved, and can mean that influencers are not clear about whether they can work with certain brands.
With many financial brands now turning to bloggers and influencers as part of their marketing strategy and in particular for international growth – they can add a lot of value for a relatively low budget – clearer guidance is needed. For example, the ASA has many different regulations that must be followed when it comes to financial products being advertised, but no specific guidance on how this applies for influencers.
Farhad Divecha, Managing Director and Founder of AccuraCast, said: “Financial brands in particular can often be wary of using influencers as part of their marketing strategy due to the ambiguous regulations and compliance involved. The guidance from the ASA is not specific to financial bloggers and it can often leave brands feeling nervous as to whether they are providing the right detail for their customers – most brands now want to be open and transparent.”
Jonathan Gutteridge, Owner of The Money Shed and The Money Shed Blog, said: “Bloggers aren’t the same as traditional media, our style and tone is different, and although we maybe more casual in what we say, we can still get the message across and keep it compliant. One drawback of the red tape around content is the delay it can add in getting posts live – and this can sometimes be to the detriment of the post – by the time it is approved, it might no longer be relevant.”
“Despite this, one major benefit for brands working with bloggers, is that we aren’t tied to a geographical location – anyone can access our content, and from any location, which means bloggers are great to aid international growth within a business.”
Lynn Beattie, owner of the blog Mrs Mummypenny, said: “Brands employ influencers to provide their own tone of voice and opinion, and it can be frustrating to have to go through many rounds of amends to meet brand compliance. If you choose your influencers carefully then they can be effective in promoting your products and services to an international audience.”