Hunger Games for Fintech in India, as companies bet big on digital

On TV, the ad volumes of the fintech sector surged by 36% from January-October 2021, compared to the same period of last year

Fintech platforms further claim to pay attention to in-store visibility while crafting marketing strategy

Show me the money!, is an idiom used to describe euphoria around money. And fintech start-ups in India have been living it up, especially during the on-going pandemic. The sector has raised $4.6 billion in the first three quarters of CY2021, according to a report by PwC India. With rise in competition, fintech firms have increased the spend on customer acquisition and retention.“While a lot of traditional sectors and regular advertising categories restricted their ad spends during the pandemic, and overall advertising revenues growth suffered, certain players in the fintech sector did contribute substantially to India’s ad pie. Fintech contributed in a small way to arrest the sharp nosedive in ad spends during the pandemic,” Navin Kathuria, executive vice president, planning and buying, OMD Mudramax, said.

The fintech sector accounted for three percent of overall TV ad volumes during January-October 2021, compared to two percent in the same period last year, as per the data shared by AdEx India, a division of TAM Media Research. On TV, the ad volumes of the fintech sector surged by 36% from January-October 2021, compared to the same period of last year. Furthermore, fintech ad volumes doubled during the second leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL), compared to the first leg of the tournament.

Digital continues to dominate the media mix for the sector with more than 85% ad insertion share. On digital, the ad insertions of the fintech sector surged by 14% from January-October 2021, compared to the same period of last year. While May, July, August, September had nearly equal shares of ad insertions, October recorded the highest share of ad insertions in the January-October 2021 period.

The marketing strategy is usually two-way fold, one to acquire customers and the second one is focussed on retaining. “With the launch of BNPL product MobiKwik Zip in 2019, we are also targeting consumers from “Bharat” who are underserved or unserved by large non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and banks,” Chandan Joshi, co-founder and CEO, Consumer Payments, MobiKwik, said. The fintech company ran a TV campaign that ended in October, to highlight the use cases of its BNPL product. Although Joshi did not reveal any number on MobiKwik’s marketing spend, he indicated that the spend is largely driven by digital and TV still acquires a small portion of the overall budget.

Fintech platforms further claim to pay attention to in-store visibility while crafting marketing strategy. “We use social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for driving brand awareness and engagement. YouTube channels act as a repository of the how-to videos and infomercials across product verticals,” Jerry Williams, vice president, marketing, Pine Labs, said. It runs brand video campaigns across key OTT platforms and uses a combination of SEO, SEM and paid social channels for driving quality leads and customer acquisition across our enterprise, retail and B2C businesses. According to him, in addition to direct marketing channels, the company uses PoS terminal interface strategically to educate its customers about new products and features.

According to OMD Mudramax’s Kathuria, the media mix of fintech platforms also varies largely depending on the category. For example, aggregators or digital-first InsurTechs, banking use a multi media strategy. On the other hand, the emerging sectors like cryptocurrency were digital-first but some of those players also advertised on TV in 2021. “At ZestMoney, we explore a mix of platforms from digital, TV and print ads for our marketing efforts. Going regional is core to our brand philosophy because we want to make credit accessible to a large number of people. We do plan to associate with marquee properties across OTT platforms and TV as we build out the BNPL category in India,” Aishvarya Murali, marketing head, ZestMoney, said.

For fintech startup Rupeek, there are four key components of its marketing strategy, “logic, magic, purpose, and personalisation”, to Shalabh Atray, senior vice president, marketing and digital. Fi, which claims to have an audience between the age group of 21 to 35-year-old digital native, claims to rely on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Google. “On digital, videos and GIFs are our primary assets, given the platforms we use. We are still experimenting with HTML5, videos of different lengths and clutter-breaking visual designs,” Aparna Narayan Leon, marketing lead, Fi, stated.

The valuation of the fintech sector is expected to reach $150-160 billion by 2025, from the current $50-60 billion. This is expected to translate into an incremental value-creation of approximately $100 billion, as per latest study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and FICCI. Long story short, let the games begin!!!

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