Getting to the gamers

Feb 17th '23

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) InvestSmart campaign uses specific techniques to alert different groups of people to risks from investment offers. Read how they researched types of investors so they could consider the risks.


Deciding on the best techniques involves looking at how different types of investors behave so the regulator can shape the right messages and the best channels to get this information across.


For example, recent developments in social media and digital technology have opened up access to investing to many more people. With increased access, comes increased risk. Consumers can now easily invest in high-risk investments. Some of these promotions use popular ‘gamification’ techniques to encourage people to participate. Gamification uses elements of game playing, like score-keeping, competition and league tables, to encourage people to take part. High-risk investments can be a valid part of well diversified portfolios, but we are concerned that many investors don’t recognise all the risks involved.


Information is power. So we set about finding ways to urge these consumers to consider the risks, by being present in all the channels they use to do their research.


  • Arming at-risk investors 

First, the FCA had to find out more about these investors, what attracts them to these offers and where they see them. Research found they tend to be aged 18-40 and are often driven by emotional and social factors. They enjoy the ‘thrill’ and feeling of ‘being an investor’. 78% said they relied on their gut instincts to tell them when to buy and sell.


But nearly half of them – 45% – didn’t realise that losing money was a potential risk of investing, and over 60% relied on social media when researching investments. They were also disproportionately attracted to offers and platforms that used gamification.


  • Don’t Get Played 

FCA pre-campaign creative testing showed consumers responded most strongly to gaming parallels. The messages also needed to be clear, memorable and use the right language for the audience. The campaign needed to incorporate the sense of competitiveness and idea of ‘skill’ that can drive high-risk investing, while highlighting the risks and the need for investors to carry out independent research.


Drawing on FCA’s digital advertising expertise, and insights from research with consumers they developed a campaign that used these parallels. The FCA incorporated gamification, created Tik-Toks, an Instagram Live, worked with influencers for the first time, as well as Olympic gold medallist BMX-er Charlotte Worthington, and joined up with a wide range of relevant partners to drive people to the dedicated InvestSmart website.


  • 5 simple questions  

Launched in October 2021, the FCA ‘Don’t get Played’ campaign, part of their ongoing InvestSmart programme, invites potential investors to ask themselves 5 simple questions before making an investment decision. Reaching inexperienced investors on their own terms, by the end of November 2022 the campaign’s website had been visited over 124,000 times, with its detailed articles read nearly 65,000 times. FCA is also encouraged by feedback from people using the website – one comment sums this up: ‘Super clear insightful info that helped me understand more about the pitfalls.


The investment market is constantly changing and so are the behaviours of its potential customers. By using a ‘test and learn’ approach in FCA campaigns, their aim is to make sure they arm investors with the information they need in the most effective ways possible.


Source: FCA


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