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The BRAG Blog: How CashApp Ruled Finance

Posted May 19, 2022

The BRAG Index, or Brand Relative App Growth Index, is a first of its kind report released by Digital Turbine and Apptopia in May 2022. The BRAG Index measures a brand’s app installs against its brand funnel (defined as consumer awareness and install intent) to find brands that had app growth that transcended its market presence. 

The BRAG Blog gives you deeper insight into our findings. Read the full report here.

The Crypto Effect

Cryptocurrency was a dominant story in 2021 with the number of owners almost doubling in the U.S. from 15.3 million to 28.3 million. This rising trend had a massive impact on our BRAG Index as when we ran our consumer survey (beginning of Q4 2021), people were just starting to be in-tune to how easy it was becoming to purchase cryptocurrency within apps. In Q4 alone, cryptocurrency app installs shot up 645% Year over Year. And then in Q1 we saw massive marketing pushes by several of them including CashApp, Crypto.com, and Coinbase.  

These results made for a crypto-centric story in our BRAG Index as those 3 apps (in that order) not only were the top 3 in our category, but also had BRAG scores that were the top 3 overall across ALL categories! While the value of crypto might be crashing now (more on this later), interest and value were soaring during our periods driving a large number of installs for apps that offered market crypto. 

What’s in the Box? 

Sure enough, all 3 of the top BRAG apps had relatively low awareness in the beginning of Q4 2021, ranking in the bottom 30% within the category. Install intent was slightly higher, but still in the bottom half. However, by the end of the quarter, CashApp had the most installs of ANY app in the category and Crypto.com and Coinbase only trailed popular mobile payment apps PayPal, Google Pay, and Venmo. 

As you can see in the box, no finance apps did extremely poorly in our BRAG index with a lot of apps clustered around the middle. In fact, Finance had the most apps with a BRAG Index > 1 of any category. However, the top 3 apps clearly outdistanced the rest by a good margin.   

How CashApp Cashed In 

Six months ago, less than 40% of financial app users were aware of Cash App, and even fewer intended to install the app. Despite this, Cash App delivered more than 30M installs during our research period – nearly double the amount of the second most-downloaded in the category (PayPal at 17M). 

In November, right after our survey period and while interest in crypto was skyrocketing, CashApp noticed that many crypto owners were in the less risk-averse younger population bracket. Through smart promotions with TikTok stars like Jojo Siwa and football celebrities like Odell Beckham, Jr., they were able to tap into the younger audience and drive interest to their app. 

CashApp, recognizing that there was a large addressable market for crypto, also saw the value and potential of distributing their app through on-device solutions like Digital Turbine’s. In fact, Digital Turbine put CashApp on millions of devices in the last 2 quarters alone! 

Crypto.com and Coinbase also employed bold marketing strategies to help boost their user growth. We saw Crypto.com buy the naming rights for one of the most famed arenas in sports (the formerly named Staples Center in Los Angeles where the Lakers play) and run commercials starring Matt Damon. Coinbase, meanwhile, took a different but no less bold approach by running a Super Bowl ad that starred no one but a bouncing QR code. The results were stunning as the app jumped to the top of the App Store rankings in February.

What’s Next?

Because of the cryptocurrency wave, I expect the Finance category to look a LOT different in our next report, which will feature consumer surveys from the beginning of Q2. For starters, thanks to bold marketing, awareness and intent to install for the 3 leading apps will be a lot higher. CashApp had the highest awareness of the 3 at 36% (and this is consumer awareness within those consumers that indicated an interest in finance apps). Coinbase was at 22% and Crypto.com was at 15%. The bold marketing pushes will certainly push these figures higher. I wouldn’t be surprised if these 3 jump from Transcenders to Leaders in the next report.

It also remains to be seen if the current crypto “crash” has any effect on our BRAG Index for these and other apps. Despite the crash, interest and curiosity in crypto still remains high. So even though ownership of crypto currency might stagnate, the apps still might be able to grow installs and users while crypto stories remain in the press. We’ll find out in a few months! 

Stay tuned to our BRAG Blog as we take a look at Shopping and Streaming Video next week! 

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Anna

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