BRAG-ing About: Financial Super Apps
Our BRAG Index II is out! The Brand Relative App Growth Index puts a lens on the relationship between brand and app growth for leading apps in major categories. Our “BRAG-ing About” blog will take a deeper look into Big Issues facing each category.
Finance Apps have not hidden their desire to become “Super Apps”. But it’s not as easy as adding capabilities. As much as Field of Dreams preached “if you build it, they will come”, consumers are not that simple. They need to like an app first before they’ll adopt new functionality.
Leading finance apps have taken different paths toward building that consumer engagement: product innovation, sports sponsorships, mass marketing, and cryptocurrency among them. Our BRAG Index reveals that the factor that drives the brand engagement necessary to be a Super App is Peer to Peer payment.
P2P apps littered the top of our BRAG Index for every factor, including “Brand Funnel”, a measure of consumer awareness and install intent. This “top of the funnel” measure had Venmo first and PayPal (which owns Venmo) 2nd. CashApp meanwhile held down the highest score in our BRAG Index measuring app growth relative to Brand Funnel (in simpler terms, CashApp out-performed growth expectations more than any other app).
All of these apps we feel are positioned to potentially become a super app, but perhaps none more so than PayPal who leads in not only our Brand Power rankings but also in Engagement Index. As the first P2P payment app (dating back over 20 years!) PayPal has built consumer trust more than any other app in the category. I still remember using it for my first eBay transaction!
Trust in a brand matters. P2P payment apps had to work to build that trust. Certainly most had a little hesitancy the first time they decided to put their financial information into a website and hit send instead of writing a check (how retro!). Was it secure? Would it really get there? Would I get what I was paying for? But over time, that trust has built.
Apps that haven’t built that trust have a longer road ahead to being a Super App. Our first BRAG Index had a leaderboard filled with crypto apps – including Crypto.com and Coinbase. Crypto.com famously had Matt Damon telling us that “Fortune favors the bold” – but as the market ebbed and flowed, so did feelings about being bold. Coinbase struck it big with a floating QR code after the Super Bowl but also has seen its momentum stall.
They weren’t the only ones who used the Super Bowl to build their brand. SoFi’s popularity has grown thanks to purchasing naming rights of the venue that hosted the game last year (and will host the BCS National Championship this year). Despite that, our BRAG Brand Power rankings place them 14th out of 19 due in large part to a lack of consumer understanding of what their app actually does.
So who will become the next Super App? One thing about finance is that new trends come and go – it’s the ones that will stick that will build winning brands. Apps that can build and sustain consumer appeal will be the ones who win the biggest shares of the consumer’s financial wallet.