By Ashwin Shekhar
Over the last decade, India has witnessed tremendous growth in the fintech industry landscape. This trend accelerated with not only the expansion of internet services but, more recently, following the aftermath of economic developments such as demonetisation and GST (Goods and Services Tax) implementation. These shifts have changed how people perform financial transactions, with digital banking increasingly replacing traditional banking systems.
With demonetisation, COVID-19 elevated the usage of digital payment services and online transactions for vendors – both big and small. Additionally, this space has seen rampant growth as traditional banking systems in India are gradually getting replaced by digital banking, with leading banks such as Yes Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank, and PayTM bank encouraging the usage of digital payment systems.
Taking the market trends for 2023 into consideration, one can clearly bet on the growth of fintech services across verticals such as digital payment services, crypto trading, Buy Now Pay Later (short-term financing), lending, personal finance, and insurance apps.
The onset of the pandemic in 2020 pushed payment services and stock market investments to go digital, in line with consumers’ increasing hesitation in handling cash amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. India led the financial app installs globally at 149 crores downloads as of March 2021.
Apart from this, initiating innovative reforms coupled with technological headway, including UPI (Unified Payments Interface) in the digital payment arena, increased the number of first-time digital payment users. UPI has seen tremendous growth in India in recent years and is now used for a wide range of transactions, including peer-to-peer payments, bill payments, and e-commerce transactions. According to NPCI data, the number of UPI transactions in India increased from around 1 crore in August 2016 to over 400 crores in December 2020, a fourfold increase in just four years.
The growth of neo-banking in India has been significant in recent years. The increasing availability of affordable smartphones and internet connectivity, along with the government’s push for digital financial inclusion, has contributed to neo-banking growth in the country. According to a report by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the number of digital transactions in India increased from around 2 crores in 2011 to over 2000 crores in 2020, a tenfold increase in just a decade. There are several neo-banks operating in India, including Paytm, Google Pay, BharatPe, and PhonePe. These firms have gained a large customer base through their apps by offering convenient and user-friendly digital banking services, often at a lower cost than traditional banks.
Fintech marketers and app developers who think outside the traditional search and social boxes such as Google and Facebook; advertising within the OEM ecosystem can drive scale and find new audiences efficiently and confidently. So let’s decode their success mantra.
Giant Indian fintech apps, such as Navi, Money Tap, and WazirX, have tapped into alternative app stores and leveraged mobile OEM advertising to achieve incremental user growth and secure a maximum ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) for their apps.
Investing in mobile OEM alternative app stores has helped these fintech apps unlock newer audiences, hence adding to a more profitable revenue stream. With more and more fintech companies like PolicyBazaar, Razorpay, Cred, Paytm, and Groww diving fiercely into app marketing, it’s time to get ready to make wider inroads in 2023.
Major Android mobile OEMs, such as Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo, have launched their own app stores and offer users a new channel to discover and download apps. These app stores are pre-installed and placed on top of the Google Play Store on all new Android smartphone devices and cover nearly 90% of the total Android market share in India. Mobile OEM inventory is increasing rapidly, with a year-over-year growth of 3.8%, and shipments are expected to reach 1.43 billion by the end of 2022.
Fintech companies in India can use OEMs as an additional channel for their user acquisition marketing mix – Any mobile user in India owning smartphones of Vivo, Oppo, Xiaomi, or Samsung, should be a potential user for fintech companies, where apps promoting such services can run on-device ads targeting their end customer directly. In addition, fintech brands can impact users through display ads, recommended ads, and even have their apps preinstalled on these smartphones, where users are most likely using digital financial services integrated by default.
Mobile OEMs are enabling Fintech advertisers to reach potential customers at multiple touchpoints throughout the life of the device. Unlike most other user acquisition channels, it allows them to strike a chord starting with app suggestions or preloads at device activation, right at the onboarding stage. Additionally, marketers are placing ads decisively at multiple touchpoints to discover previously untapped customer segments throughout their journey. While taking a performance-based approach, you are rest assured that the down-funnel events are optimised for the highest user engagement with the app.
OEM is a source of more transparent inventory with no fraud compared to other user acquisition channels. They are the inventory sources with the highest data points other than search and social. It bolsters their targeting capability to the right customers precisely. Mobile marketers gain access to a fully fraud-free and transparent user-acquisition ecosystem simply because there are no additional layers between the budget holder and the mobile OEM itself. The mobile OEM fully controls the reach of advertising placements.
On-device ads enable fintech advertisers to go hyper-local and target users in precise locations. Fintech advertisers can now hyper-target the areas they want to reach using the area codes. Whether they are looking to expand into new markets or amplify reach in cities that may have been proven winners, OEMs can help marketers reach their goals. Appographic Targeting helps promote apps to users with similar interests beyond category and ownership to elevate app install rates. Furthermore, mobile OEMs offer customised push notifications to target high-value users during important events to enable app discovery, thus, helping them achieve broader distribution capabilities and reach larger audiences.
Fintech apps can use retargeting capabilities with mobile OEM advertising using components such as user behaviour, device model, and location.
Deep links can also be used to retarget dormant fintech App users in multiple different ways. For example, if a user has not used the app in 30 days, the app could send a push notification with a deep link to a relevant feature or new content in the app to encourage the user to open the app again and engage with the featured promotion. This can be especially useful for promotions and offers related to local financial services.
Marketers from the fintech arena benefit from the power of varied ad formats offered by OEMs. With mobile OEM app advertising, marketers, for example, can leverage an exclusive app store featuring per day and on specific dates with multiple advertising formats such as video ads, rewarded ads, native ads, and banner ads with unique placements. Additionally, OEMs allow them to get exclusive screen takeovers with splash ads, enabling them to show the best of their app features on an entire smartphone screen. All this is done in a video format, creating instant brand awareness and users’ interest. With dynamic ad placement offerings, brands can experiment with on-device display ads and in-app store ads to grab the most eyeballs.
While setting up the advertising campaigns, integrations can be seamless and available with most MMPs (Mobile Measurement Platforms), such as Adjust, Appsflyer, Singular, etc., where mobile marketers can track all activity – from impressions to installs – as well as the post-install activity. This empowers them to understand each new channel’s user journey and performance.
The author is the co-founder of AVOW