Engaging Millennials with Mobile Banking Tools

People are buying more through their phones. Confidence in mobile payments raises the stakes for marketers trying to reach a consumer at the right place and the right time. As we saw over the summer, this year was the first that mobile purchases surpassed desktop on Prime Day. This means the purchase window isn’t as narrow for a growing number of customers, now that they’re no longer tethered to their desktop or an in-store cash register.

Mobile and performance marketing specialists Fluent have pushed the conversation forward with digital-first customers on their media platform, The Smart Wallet. Visitors can find tips and tools for better managing their finances.

Getting users to crunch budget numbers on their phones is only a small step removed from loading up a Venmo mobile wallet or Apple Pay account with actual funds. It also opens the door on other app-based financial solutions like Truebill, which analyzes users’ bills and negotiates lower payments for them.

The marketing team at Truebill saw an opportunity to test out the acquisition performance of The Smart Wallet about a year ago. The ongoing partnership, which includes a sponsored widget in content on The Smart Wallet, continues to evolve using Fluent’s optimization capabilities.

Alon Wertheimer, VP of marketing at Truebill, told me he was looking for ways to diversify traffic beyond “the usual suspects” (Google, Facebook), while maintaining a strong return on ad spend (ROAS).

“With Fluent, we were able to continually refine content, A/B testing different angles, to find the optimal positioning,” he said. “This iterative approach allowed us to efficiently scale.”

He added, “I think many people assume that as paid marketing scales, organic traffic increases. Overall that is true, but the halo effect on organic is even more significant when working with The Smart Wallet. As we scaled our TSW campaign, we found a greater correlation to a lift in organic traffic than when we scaled other channels like Facebook.”

Steve Green, head of performance marketing at Fluent, gave me some insights into how The Smart Wallet achieves this scale. Their core audience is Millennials, with approximately 60 percent women.

“We put a strong emphasis on creating rewarding media experiences that provide real value to the consumer,” Green said. “Truebill does a great job of tailoring their user experience to the individual, aligning with Fluent’s mission to help brands take a more customer-centric marketing approach.”

The two properties line up by providing a higher engagement with their audience by providing practical tips that produce results.

“As a mobile app that provides consumers with the tools to better manage their finances, Truebill was a perfect fit for our audience,” Green explained. “The app teaches our Millennial readers how to maintain a budget, especially if they have no prior budgeting experience.”

The Smart Wallet staff, on the other hand, includes financial experts and data scientists that help readers “make smarter choices, [and] readers see the direct reflection on their current finances while also helping to secure their future financial stability,” Green stated.

As Truebill continues to grow their audience, their main channels are social (Instagram and Facebook), Apple search and Google, as well as affiliates. They worked closely with Fluent to test and refine creatives in order to “re-engage users and keep them interested,” Green said.

They settled on a calculator widget to get users engaged. They also used content for different service offerings for users, such as canceling unwanted subscriptions and negotiating bills.

Ultimately, Fluent drove tens of thousands of qualified sign-up to Truebill, and outperformed other acquisitions partners by 20 percent.

“Truebill is the single best way to aggregate visibility into all your accounts, and to give you a comprehensive understanding of your finances,” Wertheimer said. “Beyond that, Truebill gives you control by letting you easily cancel unwanted charges, or by automatically negotiating the best rates on things like cable and cell phone charges. For people today that live on-the-go, sitting at home manually balancing their checkbook with a pen and paper simply isn’t an option. Consumers lead busy lives, which is why they’re turning to apps that help them keep their finances in check wherever they are.”

Wertheimer said that for previous generations, the bank branch on the corner was a one-stop shop for a consumer’s banking needs. Although mobile finance apps allow users to make transactions on the fly, he suggests this emerging space is also getting complicated and out of the consumer’s control.

“Today, it’s not uncommon for people to have an app-based bank like Chime for their savings account, a separate app for investing, and another program to monitor their credit,” he explained. “On top of that, spending has become largely automated with subscriptions and bills on autopay.”

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