Latest fin-influencer boom makes Instagram and Tiktok battleground for digital banks

Latest fin-influencer boom makes Instagram and Tiktok battleground for digital banks

While scrolling through your Instagram, you must have noticed the sudden increase in glamorous bloggers posing with colorful bank cards and talking about ‘financial wellness’ and ‘savvier spending’ between sips of their cappuccinos in recent times. The reason being, like fashion brands, digital banks, too, are now using influencers.

Fintech firms are paying social media influencers to post endorsements across Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok to increase their market share. Banks, including Starling, Revolut, N26, and, Bó have all publicly used ‘fin-influencer’ campaigns. Social media influencers’ use reflects a subtle shift in fintech’s tactics: Dominating platforms not touched by big banks yet.

Fin-influencers on the rise

Loot was the first to use ‘fin-influencing’ in 2017 as it paid several Instagram bloggers to promote their Monzo-esque student card. Revolut joined the bandwagon in 2019 by paying several social media stars to promote their services through a £32-per-user referral system. However, the rise in ‘fin-influencer’ in the last 12 months indicates fintechs have doubled down on the $15bn influencer marketing sector. Revolut aims to target the US market by launching a massive influencer campaign stateside. Using influencers to enter new markets is a proven strategy. N26 and Klarna have launched numerous international campaigns, with bloggers posting in different languages.

If this trend continues, fintechs will become a part of the 17% of companies that spend more than 50% of their marketing budget on influencers shifting away from TV campaigns and tube ads.

The critics have a say too

Influencer marketing has plenty of benefits for fintechs. It creates brand awareness and makes a buzz. However, some experts aren’t impressed by this trend and question its utility. Accenture’s Tom Merry feels the influencer strategy is not useful for fintechs aiming profitability instead of growth. He says the trouble for fintechs in the UK is to make money from the existing customers. Fintech consultant Will White further explains that if you are just a general offering, then you are another bank saying nonsense. The plan works only for an affinity bank and if the influencer is from your affinity group.

Finance blogger, Ellie Austin-Williams, notes that finance is a highly personal topic, so the likelihood of a lifestyle influencer being a real customer, or giving a genuine and honest opinion, is extremely slim. Austin-Williams demonstrates this through engagement stats for a fashion influencer. The blogger had an engagement of 0.01% on her banking advert, but her average was ~5% (comparing how many ‘likes’ her posts received as a percentage of her total following).

Influencers receive flak

Promoting fintech is generally uncontroversial, but influencers working with Klarna have received flak for failing to flag the risks of using credit. A campaign has now launched forcing the UK advertising watchdog to change the guidelines on influencer posts about Klarna, suggesting they have warnings about getting into debt.

Nonetheless, Scola Dondo, a UK influencer notes working with fintechs can be useful as influencers can help teach their followers about money. According to her, the impact of such campaigns depends on the person and your following.

For now, the trend of fintechs using influencers to push their brand name is here to stay, at least for the next year. The reason being Instagram influencers continue to have a healthy relationship with their followers and can influence their decision-making. And if we go by the statistics, influencers’ power will only increase in the upcoming times. Instagram analytics of major influencers have revealed their engagement with followers and have even showcased how their posts and stories have impacted their viewers. These stats highlight the importance of using influencers to promote brand name for fintechs.