Photo and video-sharing social network Instagram has been added to the advertising arsenal of financial advisers based in the UAE.
There are nine million people currently living in the region, 3.7 million of whom are Instagram users, Nigel Sillitoe, chief executive of Insight Discovery, told International Adviser.
The research firm rolled out an aggregator website called whichfinancialadviser.com to list all regulated advisory businesses in the Middle East, a year ago.
Now, it is offering qualified advisers paid targeted campaigns to reach a wider audience.
“We want to help the most qualified advisers in the Middle East, especially those who are above Level 4 or the equivalent in their home country, to stand out from the crowd through a digital campaign managed by our business,” Sillitoe said.
“These campaigns, which start from as little as $1,500 (£1,148, €1,327), will be managed in partnership with DMBB4, a digital firm we have worked with on many campaigns in the past.”
Social media promotions have been around for a while, but what can advisers gain from Instagram?
According to Sillitoe, 73% of users are aged 25-44, which is a group that is “highly relevant to financial advisory companies”.
“Whilst we will continue to use LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media platforms from time to time, we have found Instagram to be the most successful when sponsoring new posts for whichfinancialadviser.com.
“Instagram is also incredible value compared to LinkedIn – for example the cost of a lead from LinkedIn might be up to $100, whereas for Instagram it could be $15.”
Financial advisers have historically been reluctant to turn to digital platforms to attract clients, as they have focused on an older demographic.
But Sillitoe said this is rapidly changing.
“More and more advisers and firms are finally waking up to the world of digital, thankfully at the expense of cold calling.
“With just a couple of exceptions, I feel that many firms are pretty hopeless at marketing themselves; this is because they don’t allocate much budget to digital and have very few controls in place to manage what their advisers actually post.
“What’s rather frustrating is that some of the best advisory firms at digital marketing are unregulated.
“I guess this is because these firms don’t have the same running costs as a firm regulated by the Insurance Authority or [Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA)]; they certainly have no need to put down any capital.
“In my opinion, unregulated firms in the UAE should be banned from doing any digital marketing or advertising, even if they are regulated by the [Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)] or another regulator in a different part of the world,” he added.
To be eligible to participate in the Instagram campaign initiative, advisers need to work for a regulated firm in the UAE; be qualified to a minimum Level 4 or equivalent; have to be a member of a professional body – such as the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) or the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI); and their company needs to be listed on Insight Discovery’s aggregator website.