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TikTok Revises Branded Content Policies for Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) Advertising

Influencers and social media are guiding the spending of young people now more than ever before. For the best part of 18 months, purchasing online in just a few clicks has been a way of life - and it’s very easy to do.

Following the release of a new report, Shop Now, Stress Later report for 2021, which reveals that social media and influencers are guiding young shoppers, TikTok, as a scheme to curb poor financial advice being shared by influencers through the platform, has removed 11 million accounts from the app.

Reviewing statistics from the Shop Now, Stress Later report:

  • One-in-twelve (8%) have used BNPL due to influencers (up 42% year-on-year)
  • One-in-eight (13%) aged 18-24 said that influencers played a part in their decision to shop now and pay later (up 26% year-on-year)
  • One in six (16%) say BNPL schemes led them to purchase more than they could afford 
  • On average, BNPL platforms expect payment after 49 days but the average consumer said it takes 261 days to pay – an extra 186 days in debt. 

With finances involved here, especially the finances of young people, these new TikTok rules represent some of the strictest to date. Industry policies for Branded Content are more restrictive than Ad Policies, these don’t just apply to financial services. Advertisers in the financial sector are welcome on TikTok although loans, credit cards, and BNPL/investment services can still be advertised, as long as it’s with the 18+ targeting.

Young shoppers were found to be particularly susceptible to the marketing tactics of BNPL brands. One in eight (13%) 18-24-year-olds highlighted that social media influencers have encouraged their decision to shop now and pay later. This figure is up by a quarter (+26%) when compared to the data from 2020. 

18-24-year-olds are also more likely to use BNPL schemes (54%) than a credit card (49%) as the marketing tactics employed by BNPL brands entice younger shoppers – TikTok is very aware of this. 

James Andrews, senior personal finance editor at money.co.uk, said: “Our research shows that BNPL providers’ youthful marketing appeal and use of social media influencers, continue to encourage shoppers to sign up and potentially spend more than they can realistically afford.

“It’s positive to see a social media platform taking such a forward-thinking approach to the way that financial information is given, especially before formalised regulation of the BNPL industry comes in. “

With TikTok assessing the boundaries and responsibility BNPL schemes and financial advertiorial, it will be insightful to learn whether other social media platforms utilised for influencer marketing will take the same approach to encourage mindful spending after a turbulent financial period.

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