Mobile App Trends to Watch in the FinTech Industry

In 2021, the global trend toward mobile continued, marking yet another transformative year for the fast-moving world of app marketing, particularly in FinTech.

In Adjust’s Mobile App Trends report, we explored the recent performance of FinTech apps, highlighting reports that banking app revenue reached $6.8 billion last year—(an 88% increase on 2020) and that over half of purchases (52%) were made with a digital wallet in 2021, and use of cash declined 42% compared to 2019. Adjust data itself showed a 19% increase in finance app downloads compared to 2020.

As the industry continues to grow, there are huge opportunities in the FinTech space for mobile app developers and advertisers alike.

Embracing user privacy

It’s been more than a year since the rollout of iOS 14.5 and Apple’s AppTracking Transparency (ATT) framework. This marked a critical shift in focus towards protecting consumer privacy. Although early predictions for industry-wide ATT opt-in rates were as low as 5%, our recent data shows a much higher rate of 25% — a number that is increasing consistently.

While the opt-in rate for FinTech apps sits below the industry-wide average, at 11%, these changes to data privacy have reinforced the need for marketers in FinTech to extract value from their own first-party data. Given this, we can expect to see continued acceleration in ATT opt-in rates for the FinTech vertical, as more users understand the value of opting in and receiving personalised advertisements.

Therefore, app marketers in the FinTech realm should implement robust opt-in strategies that communicate the benefits of targeted advertising to users. It’s this exact proposition, which has already been communicated for years, that’s led to hyper-casual games consent rates reaching as high as 40%.

Maintaining accelerated install growth

Adjust’s report finds that installs of FinTech apps grew by 35% between 2020 and 2021. Looking at the breakdown of these installations per subvertical. Payment apps make up approximately 57% of the installs share, followed by banking at 34%, stock trading at 7%, and crypto at 2%.

A rise in post-pandemic interest in investing apps continued in 2021, while interest in cryptocurrencies led crypto apps to overtake stock trading apps to become the majority of asset management app downloads. Bitcoin and overall crypto market capitalisation reached new all-time highs in April and November. As expected, we found that coverage of “meme coins” such as Dogecoin and Shiba Inu and the popularity of NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain led to a surge of new users into the FinTech space.

Globally, the share of paid installs relative to organic installs in the FinTech vertical grew from the beginning of 2020 until midway through 2021. Starting at 0.11 and growing to 0.15, 2021 ended with a ratio of 0.14. The most exponential growth can be seen in the crypto vertical, which started in 2020 at 0.11 and finished in 2021 at 0.23, indicating that the big increase in paid campaigns for cryptocurrency apps also, logically, resulted in a boost in the number of paid installs. Banking’s ratio dropped consistently, starting at 0.12 and finishing at 0.07, showing that the increased need and interest in banking apps caused users to seek the apps out themselves.

With more users than ever before flocking to FinTech apps, we know that marketers and developers are looking to expand their channel mixes to capture the largest number of potential new customers. We found that this was reflected in our trends data, as the number of partners each FinTech app is working with has also increased alongside the competition. What’s more, the average number of partners for the vertical as a whole grew from 3-4 in 2021. Crypto saw the greatest increase — starting in 2020 with an average of 2.5 partners per app and finishing in 2021 with an average of 4.5.

Increasing sessions and understanding user behaviour

With an increase of 53% globally, the growth of FinTech app sessions recorded is even more significant. Our findings highlight a boost in engagement within the vertical, as existing and newly acquired users record more sessions than ever before. While global sessions follow a continued upward trend throughout the year, the highest point can be seen in April, which was 92% higher than the 2020 average, and 27% up on the rest of 2021.

The breakdown of sessions across the FinTech subvertical differs significantly from what we saw for installs. Banking takes first place at 46%, followed by payment at 31%. Stock trading and crypto take more of the sessions share than the installs share, at 17% and 6%, respectively. This suggests that the users who download apps in these categories are clocking more sessions than those using banking and payment apps.

We discovered that this high level of engagement is also reflected in the length of sessions by users in each subvertical, with the most significant growth seen among crypto apps. Session lengths in crypto and stock trading are consistently longer than those in banking and payment, which aligns with the business models of each category. While a payment app might only be needed for a number of seconds for a task to be fulfilled, users buying and selling stocks or cryptocurrencies likely need to spend much longer to complete actions.

According to Adjust’s report, in-app revenue for FinTech apps is also increasing steadily, showing consistent growth from January 2020 through to December 2021. While subscriptions, third parties (sellers and beneficiaries), and advertising are the key ways that FinTechs monetise, we recognise that subscription models have become increasingly prominent. This helps to drive the increase in in-app revenue, as many FinTechs have progressed from the growth stage into the profitability stage.

What next for mobile FinTech?

In 2021, we saw the shift toward mobile accelerate, with more users than ever before turning to apps for their financial needs. With installs and sessions in the vertical increasing across all regions and subverticals, it is clear that the global FinTech app ecosystem is thriving, and continued growth can be expected from this space for the remainder of the year.

As for what’s coming next for the future of mobile FinTech, we expect to see growth in Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services, digital wallets enabling access to cryptocurrencies, as well as cloud banking from traditional banks. For mobile app marketers in the FinTech space, focusing on getting the opt-in is crucial. Although numbers are comparatively low, pushing this rate up by even a couple of percentage points can prove invaluable when it comes to building out conversion value models and predictive strategies for the aggregated SKAdNetwork data set. Focusing on finding these high-value users is key, along with building retention strategies that keep them sticking around. The best way to achieve this perfect balance is to improve the accuracy of your campaigns and to create a user experience that is perfectly optimised to your specific audience segments. Drilling down into your data to determine the key touch points along the user journey is how you’ll achieve this—great data makes for great insights.

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