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User Segments Finance Apps Should Be Targeting

It may come as no surprise, but the United States is the richest economy in the world, with a colossal $17.5 trillion in purchasing power. What is jaw-dropping though, is how woefully bad Americans are at managing their personal finances.

About a third of Americans don’t have any emergency savings and the average American household with at least one credit card has nearly $15,950 in credit card debt. 

People need help making better decisions about their money.

And finance apps are in the best position to answer that call. By targeting the right user segments and running the most relevant campaigns, finance apps can turn people’s fortunes around. They can help a shopaholic rein in spending, teach a carefree individual to think about retirement and show the rookie investor how to better manage his or her portfolio.

If you’re the manager or marketer of a finance app, here’s how you can make your users a little bit richer, and a lot happier.

People Have Different Money Management Pain Points

The first step to improving your finance app’s marketing is to understand that different people have different money management needs. Some people struggle at budgeting, while others need assistance with saving or planning. So, start by dividing your users into segments based on similar characteristics, lifestyles, and money habits to unearth common financial pain points. This will help you trigger push and in-app marketing campaigns that address each problem head on.

7 User Segments Finance Apps Should Target (Plus 23 Must-Try Campaigns!)

Not sure what these user segments should look like or how you should group people? We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and outlined seven of the most common ones. Take a look below and see which user segments best describe the people that use your particular app. Then, position your app as a solution.

1. The Too-Busy-To Budget Bunch

Creating a budget and sticking to it is easier said than done. The modern working professional has too much to do, too much going on, and too much to worry about to religiously keep track of receipts and purchases. These busy bees are most at risk of over-spending or inadvertently wasting money simply because they’re not tracking what they’re buying. That’s why they’re relying on your app to do the budgeting for them.

What this User Segment Could Look Like

All users who have more than 20 account transactions per week, have visited your app’s budget screen, and set up budget goals. You could further refine this segment by profile attributes like income bracket, age group, and family size.

Sample Campaigns to Run

Push Message: “You’re about to go over your X budget! See how close you are.”

  • Send a push alert as people in this segment get close to exceeding their food, entertainment, shopping, etc. budget so they can control their spending

In-App Message: “Looks like you haven’t created a budget yet. Let’s make one together.”

  • If these users haven’t entered in budget amounts, trigger an in-app message the next time they are in your app with a call-to-action pointing them to a quick tutorial

Push/In-App Message: “Here’s an overview of your monthly spending. Click to see where you were under or over.”

  • When the weekly/monthly budget timeframe ends, send a push or in-app message to this group that links to each user’s spending statement
  • Summarize how they did, congratulate them on sticking to their goals, and if they went over-budget, provide suggestions, tips, and adjustments for the next cycle

2. The Forgetful Few

From cable bills to heating bills, upcoming rent and loan repayment deadlines, many have a fair amount of bills they regularly pay. To make matters more complicated, these bills usually have separate due dates and penalty structures. It’s impossible to keep track of everything you owe and when. Plus, it can be incredibly frustrating when you accidentally miss a payment. If your app keeps tabs on bills, you likely have a segment of users that always cut it close when a deadline approaches. So, make bill tracking easier for people by setting up app reminders.

What this User Segment Could Look Like

All users who have added their reoccurring bills to your app and have missed at least one payment in the last 30 days.

Sample Campaigns to Run

Push Message: “Reminder: Your X bill will be due in X days! Pay early.”

  • As a bill due date looms, give these users a heads up and encourage them to consider paying early for quicker peace of mind

Push Message: “Your X bill was just paid. View your new account balances.”

  • If users have automatic payment set up, let them know when a bill has been settled and remind them to view their new bank and credit card balances

In-App Message: “Congratulations! You successfully paid your X bill! Now, set up automatic billing so you never have to worry about late fees.”

  • Give your users an in-app high five when they pay their bills on time to ensure they keep it up (and highlight the benefits of having no overdue balances or, point them to a new app feature)

3. The Tenacious Traders

Does your finance app cover stocks and financial markets? Then you’ve probably got a segment of tenacious users who make a handful of trades on a daily basis. These users will typically launch your app multiple times to check on how their favorite stocks are performing. They’re eager to buy and sell at the most opportune time. Lighten some of the stress of stock trading by setting up timely alerts about market changes.

What this User Segment Could Look Like

All users who have integrated their stock portfolio into the app, have selected a few stocks to “watch,” have made at least one trade in your app within the last seven days, and have three or more app sessions per week. You could further refine this segment by adding a profile attribute, like portfolio value range, income bracket, and last trade date.

Sample Campaigns to Run

Push Message: “X stock just increased in price by X%. Want to sell?” or “X stock just fell in price by $X. Ready to buy?”

  • Real-time push alerts about stocks this user segment cares about will exponentially boost their reliability on your app

Push Message: “You just received a dividend payout from X shares. View details.”

  • Keep users up-to-date on important events like payouts and stock splits or IPO announcements

Push Message: “Trading closed for today. Your portfolio increased by X% compared to X. View highlights.”

  • Send a summary of portfolio changes when the market closes
  • Check out the below example of this campaign in action from Robinhood

In-App Message: “Here are the details of your pending trade. Click to confirm.”

  • When a user is ready to make a trade, summarize the details in a clean in-app message to give users a chance to review before proceeding

4. The Big Spenders and Shoppers

A lot of financial apps not only track accounts, but also facilitate purchases by acting as a digital wallet of sorts. For these apps, the “big spenders” user segment is important. Big spenders and regular shoppers are the groups of people who have made significant purchases with your app (be it in terms of dollar amount and/or volume), and have thus completed the “ultimate” in-app action/conversion. Your goal is to target these users and entice them to make a repeat purchase.

What this User Segment Could Look Like

All users who have made at least three in-app purchases within the last month, but have not made an in-app purchase this month. You could further refine this user segment by profile attributes like location and last product purchased.

Sample Campaigns to Run

Push Message: “Thanks for paying with X. Your $X transaction at X has been processed.”

  • Every time a user makes a purchase using your app, give them assurance that the transaction successfully went through and summarize the details

Push/In-App Message: “Pay with X at X store and get $5 off! View locations.”

  • Give these users an incentive (discounts!) and an opportunity (highlight key retailers) to reconvert!
  • Here’s a real-life example of this campaign from LevelUp

5. The Frequent Flyers

With the globalization of businesses, consistent travel is part and parcel of many jobs. But despite the prevalence of jet setting employees, travelling for work can still be a hassle with expense reports, currency exchanges, booking hotels, etc. making it a tedious process. If your finance app specializes in expense tracking and management, be sure to create a segment of frequent flyers. Then, trigger push and in-app messages that show this group how your app can simplify the financial complexities of business travel.

What this User Segment Could Look Like

All users who have added a trip and viewed the expense screen in your app or, completed a currency conversion. You could further slice and dice this segment with profile attributes like visit duration, visiting country, travel dates, and entertainment preferences.

Sample Campaigns to Run

Push Message: “Thanks for scanning your receipt from X. It was successfully added to your expense report for X.”

  • Confirm that a receipt was successfully uploaded into the app so users know they’re in the clear to discard the paper versions

Push Message: “Welcome to X. Remember, 1 US dollar equals X.” or “Welcome to X. Want a taxi to get to your first meeting/hotel?”

  • When travelers arrive at their location (or on the day of their flight), automatically remind them of the current exchange rate
  • Also, think about how your app can help these travelers get to their appointments quickly and efficiently
  • For example, Expensify asks users (when they have landed) whether or not they need transportation arrangements to be made

In-App Message: “Done with your meetings? Check out these top five restaurants near your hotel.”

  • Help tired business travelers relax after their work day by suggesting nearby entertainment activities or fine dining venues

In-App Message: “Welcome back to X. We’ve compiled all your receipts into one report. Click here to email it.”

  • Once a user marks a trip as complete, trigger an in-app message that directs people to view or email a full travel report
  • Your app can even take this a step further and group travel expenses into categories like car, mileage, food, etc.

6. The Do-it-Yourself Taxpayers

Let’s be honest: doing your taxes can be a big, form-filling, number-crunching headache. Some people work with a tax professional to file their return, while others brave the process on their own with a trusty app. If your mobile mission is to help people survive tax season, build a segment of users who have self-selected to independently file their taxes in your app. This group is most likely to respond to gentle nurturing and move to the “ultimate” in-app action or conversion event (i.e. successfully filing their taxes).

What this User Segment Could Look Like

All users who have downloaded your app, started the tax filing process, but haven’t completed it. You could further refine this segment with profile attributes like job role, marital status, and employment status.

Sample Campaigns to Run

Push Message: “Friendly reminder! Your tax return will be due in X weeks. Submit early and be worry-free.”

  • Politely nudge users who have fallen out of the funnel to return to your app and complete the process so they can relax

Push Message: “Good news! Your taxes were successfully submitted to X. Swipe to check the status of your return.”

  • Keep users updated on important tax-related events, like when their taxes were submitted, approved, etc.

In-App Message: “Got a question? Filing your taxes shouldn’t be confusing. Ask us anything about your return and we’ll get you an answer, pronto.”

  • Give your users a sense of security that even though they took the independent filing road, help and clarity are just a few clicks away

In-App Message: “Pro Tip: You can claim X as expenses and X as income to maximize your refund. Learn more” 

  • As people go through the tax filing steps, trigger occassional popups with tidbits of information and tips on how to get the most money back

7. The Average Adult

Finally, this last user segment is a representation of the average Joes and regular Janes of America (or any other country!). This group of people has everyday financial needs like tracking cash flow and monitoring account security. The average finance app user may not be a heavy investor or big spender; their main goal is to use your app to make money chores and tasks easier.

What this User Segment Could Look Like

All users who have connected a bank account to your app, have at least one app session per week, and have enabled push messaging.

Sample Campaigns to Run

Push Message: “You just got paid! View your account balances.”

  • Let users know when major in-app events take place – like getting paid or receiving a bill

Push Message: “Attention: We detected fraudulent activity in your account and took safety measures. Contact your bank now.”

  • Act fast to alert your users of any suspicious account activity, implement precautions, and provide action steps so users gain a sense of security

In-App Message: “New Feature Spotlight! Did you know you can deposit your checks in-app? Click here to learn more.”

  • Use instructional popups to show casual app explorers how to easily carry out common financial transactions in-app (reduce their need to travel to banks for simple tasks!)


Make Managing Finances Fun (and Fairly Straightforward)

Money is something everyone cares about, but not everyone understands. On a basic level, financial apps should help users demystify how they’re earning money, where it’s going, and if it’s growing.

Long ago, we needed financial advisors, accountants, bankers, and bookkeepers to properly track our income and expenditures.

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