Croud x Google: App marketing for the finance industry

Croud and Google recently co-hosted a virtual event exploring the latest developments and opportunities within mobile advertising for finance marketers. 

Croud’s US Managing Director, Kris Tait, Senior Biddable Account Manager, Allyson Lai, and PPC Senior Account Manager, David Podesta, joined Google’s Senior Regional Tech Partners Lead, Apps, Dr. Ulrich Keller, to discuss how advertisers can leverage app marketing to drive growth within the financial services sector. Below is a summary of the session.

Understanding key industry trends

The finance industry has rapidly evolved over the past year and a half, with brands increasingly leaning on digital solutions to maximize their marketing strategies. At Croud, and across the digital marketing industry, we’ve seen more and more brands investing their money in the following three areas:

Customized content

Brands that are focused on creating unique, engaging content to showcase their products are winning within the digital space. Customized content is truly the cornerstone of all online marketing. 

Video content

According to a study by Animoto, 73% of consumers are more likely to buy a product if they had seen a brand video. With millennials increasingly driving growth in fintech products, payment products, money transfer products, etc., it’s important for brands to create content that engages this particular audience – and videos do just that. 

Data science and predictive modeling

As the data privacy landscape continues to change, brands are investing more into collecting high-quality data. They are leveraging data science and predictive modeling for lifetime value, propensity, customer segmentation and clustering, as well as ad automation. Here is a case study on our client, Paysafe, showcasing how we used predictive modeling for creative direction across programmatic media.

Key industry updates

The banking and finance industry has undoubtedly faced a number of challenges and changes as a result of the ongoing pandemic, including the rapid growth of app marketing and mobile digital services. 

Global finance app downloads are significantly outpacing overall app download growth, and as features like contactless payment methods have grown in popularity throughout the pandemic, global banking app sessions have increased by an average of 49%

To adapt to these quickly changing times, banks and finance brands are continually offering new ways to encourage users to work with them. This means efficiently answering their queries and providing them with accessible options at a lower cost, such as in-app finance management features. For example, 38% of consumers who are depositing checks are now more likely to do so via a mobile banking app than they were pre-pandemic. These changes in user behavior, however, are not only evident in younger audiences, but can be seen across older demographics as well. 

Furthermore, Google Search Trends show that generic searches like ‘Bitcoin’ or ‘Crypto’ have not seen particular growth, whereas searches like ‘Bitcoin app’ or ‘Crypto app’ have seen record highs. Specific brand searches for finance apps have also seen great spikes since the beginning of the pandemic, showcasing the growing interest in mobile finance apps. 

Q&A session with the experts

Where and how do you typically begin building out an app marketing strategy?

David: To start, you need to think about what in particular you’d like to use the app for, as well as what specific goal you’d like to measure. Then, of course, you’d need to consider what conversion actions you would have, and whether or not you have the right tracking in place. For example, if you’re a finance app you may want to focus, not only on app installs but, perhaps on account sign ups and other deeper funnel actions as well. 

Budget is also a major consideration. You want to make sure that you’ve done the research and forecasting to get an accurate idea of your daily budget. It is recommended by Google that you set your daily budget to a least fifty times your cost-per-install (CPI) target. And last but not least, you want to look at what creatives you’d like to utilize. When we started looking at our client, Paysafe’s Skrill app, we found that by trying to utilize all the different types of creative assets, like images, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) files, video, etc., the more reach we were able to have across the market. We were also able to gain a better understanding of what type of creative assets drove the best engagement in different markets and circumstances.  

What type of key performance indicators (KPIs) do you typically use (other than cost per install (CPI))? Are there any that brands are particularly looking at when they’re running app install campaigns?

Allyson: We’ve definitely seen our clients focus on people who have registered for the app or made a first transaction – these are some of the KPIs that you may be looking at when running an app campaign. 

David: To add to that, the KPIs can definitely change overtime. At first, you might just focus primarily on app installs, but once you have enough volume to optimize towards some of the deeper funnel actions, you may start wanting to look at things like cost per account signup or cost per transaction. 

Kris: I’ve seen Croud put marketing strategies together for apps that are potentially launching into a new market, and while they might be quite mature in the UK, they may not be mature enough in the US right now. So you can see these kinds of curves as David mentioned, where brands need to build some volume to start with before they can start optimizing or looking at that data further down the stream.

What are some key tips you would recommend when entering a new market?

David: Using the example of our client, Paysafe, we’ve run search campaigns for them in a number of markets all around the world, and what we’ve found is that the cost per acquisition (CPA) trends will be roughly the same if you’re running app marketing campaigns across several different markets. The markets with the highest CPA for search were in Europe and North America, while the lowest were in South America and South Asia – which correlated more or less with what we were seeing on the app.  

Also, if you’re trying to grow volume, you don’t want to limit your targeting. For example, while a great percentage of people speak English in countries like India, you don’t want to limit your targeting to English speakers only. You want to also focus on some of the other languages that are frequently spoken in India, like Hindi – especially considering the fact that most English speakers in India also speak Hindi. By opening up our targeting to speakers of multiple languages, we saw a boost in our conversion rate and volume, despite the fact that our content was in English. 

What is an effective market entry strategy like for cryptocurrency?

Ally: With cryptocurrency, there is a bit of a struggle to penetrate English speaking markets like the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Interestingly enough, the strategy that we take is just looking at economies that aren’t doing so great and aren’t as strong, and trying to penetrate those markets. But it’s also important to be thinking about where there are large masses of people, like India. That’s always a top-performing country for us, just because of the sheer number of people that are there; there’s a lot of opportunity to enter that market.

Do you think there will be a slow down of people downloading apps after the pandemic, and if so, how will brands need to change up their strategy? 

Ulrich: No, I don’t think there will be a slow down of people downloading apps after COVID-19, given that new devices are coming online, we’re seeing shifts in populations (e.g. older demographics are shifting towards the online space), etc. 

In terms of app campaign strategies, they are most effective when you invest in a couple key areas – frontloading and localizing your campaign.

Kris: I completely agree. With more trust in what apps are doing with our data, it should increase the number of apps that people are downloading – certainly the ones that they can trust in and are transparent about what they’re doing with people’s data, so I definitely see app downloads speeding up. 

I read an article the other day about how the average person in El Salvador owns more than one mobile phone. So when you think about that trend in other developing markets, the number of apps, the amount of traffic and the amount of usage on mobile phones are only going to increase. Thus, things like Universal App Campaigns (UAC) and other platforms that help us scale our marketing are becoming increasingly important.

Crypto has become very mainstream, and lots of organizations are being more flexible with their policy – is Google looking to do the same? (For example Paypal accepting Crypto). 

Ulrich: Google has a very detailed policy site that actually talks about what advertising we can do in terms of financial products.

We have made massive advances especially in the US and Japan, where certain companies can apply for certifications that would allow them to do so, but there would be local and regional regulations that you would need to consider. 

Do you think it’s harder for legacy brands to have successful app marketing campaigns over challenger brands?

David: It really depends on your app’s proposition and functionality. It obviously helps if you have a really fresh idea within the app, as well as if you can advertise it through several different creative assets. For example, if you can create an ad which explains the app and how it works in an engaging way, then I can’t see why a legacy brand would be at a disadvantage compared to a challenger brand.

Kris: I completely agree. The brand would just need to have a proper, well-thought out strategy around the audience they’re engaging with. There’s no barriers that should stop them from being successful.

What are some of the benefits that come with using third-party vendors, and how have you used them in the past?

Ally: Third-party vendors are great because they can provide additional inventory that Google might not have or details you’re just unable to access on other major platforms. One of the key benefits of third-party vendors is the ability to align your ads with relevant content. There’s also the flip-side option where you can exclude content that you don’t want to align with. And lastly, there’s the option of incentivized ads, which reward you for opting into viewing a video or advertisement, and these are really great for growing volume and scale. Having a lot of inventory and different types of inventory can really help scale a client’s growth.

Plus, a lot of these third-party vendors can optimize based on your target, so if CPI is the name of your game, you can set a certain CPI and they’ll go after it. If cost per registration is your target, they can certainly do that as well, so it really is as flexible as some of the other major platforms.

Would you suggest a change in strategy post-lockdown based on which markets are opening up faster, current limitations in those markets, etc.? How should marketers think about their international strategy post-pandemic?

Ulrich: Yes, I would definitely change my strategy depending on which countries are opening up, what trends I’m seeing, and also what traction I see within the markets. Gaining insights on each market is where it might get a bit tricky, because every market is different and where you find those insights will vary per market as well. Google has started to develop new go-to market strategies, because what has worked pre-pandemic probably won’t work in life post-pandemic. 

But when it comes down to it, I believe that engagement is key. You need to have very engaging creatives, powerful messages, and tailored, localized content. So if you take that into consideration and review other best practices, you should be in a good place. But if we’re talking about the finance sector specifically, I’m not sure that I would consider which market is opening up sooner, especially because that can change day by day. 


There’s evidently an abundance of opportunity within mobile advertising for finance marketers to drive growth. It ultimately boils down to building a strong app marketing strategy that includes concrete goals and KPIs, powerful creatives, tailored and localized content, and data-driven insights. 

To access the presentation materials from this event, please fill out the download form here. If you have any further questions for our panelists or would like to learn more about how to maximize your app marketing strategy, please get in touch with our team. 

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