Mobile Growth Online with Varo Money, Rakuten Rewards, and Turo

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Kasia Mikoluk (GM, Growth at Varo - online banking), Christopher Ruiz (Director of Product Management at Rakuten Rewards - cashback app) and Bailey Schroeder (Senior Product Manager at Turo - P2P car rental app) share success stories of mobile growth, the challenges and recommendations for onboarding, retention metrics and more.

Source:
Mobile Growth Online with Varo Money, Rakuten Rewards, and Turo
(no direct link to watch/listen)
(direct link to watch/listen)
Type:
Panel
Publication date:
March 15, 2020
Added to the Vault on:
March 16, 2020
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💎 #
1

Something that really unlocked growth for Varo is creating a way to sign up on mobile web. It performed better than directing people to the app stores from Day 1 of launching it. [Varo] 

11:20
💎 #
2

At the end of the registration on web users now get a little tour of the app. They are experimenting with different formats and it has been very successful. [Varo] 

13:13
💎 #
3

After observing that on the web users were converting (purchasing) more on Sundays and Mondays, they ran cashback promotions (increased cashback rates) on these days in the app as well. They saw huge spikes of downloads on these days. [Rakuten Rewards] 

09:55
💎 #
4

Looked at partnerships that would allow to get cashback to people quickly. They partnered with Lyft to provide $1 cashback each time users were riding with Lyft. That repeat offer got millennials in the door and then they tried to transition them to retail cashback. [Rakuten Rewards] 

23:25
💎 #
5

Built an engagement and churn model with ML/AI team that looks at over 100 features (depositing, transacting, frequency, amount, balance, etc.) and predicts how likely a user is to return and assigns a value to each user. [Varo] 

32:07
💎 #
6

Product team has to sit with customer service for at least 4 days when onboarding in order to know how to properly grow the product. [Rakuten Rewards] 

38:33
💎 #
7

Test more at the top of the funnel where you have the most users, optimize for that and then gradually move down the funnel. [Varo] 

45:25
The gems from this resource are only available to premium members.
💎 #
1

Something that really unlocked growth for Varo is creating a way to sign up on mobile web. It performed better than directing people to the app stores from Day 1 of launching it. [Varo] 

11:20
💎 #
2

At the end of the registration on web users now get a little tour of the app. They are experimenting with different formats and it has been very successful. [Varo] 

13:13
💎 #
3

After observing that on the web users were converting (purchasing) more on Sundays and Mondays, they ran cashback promotions (increased cashback rates) on these days in the app as well. They saw huge spikes of downloads on these days. [Rakuten Rewards] 

09:55
💎 #
4

Looked at partnerships that would allow to get cashback to people quickly. They partnered with Lyft to provide $1 cashback each time users were riding with Lyft. That repeat offer got millennials in the door and then they tried to transition them to retail cashback. [Rakuten Rewards] 

23:25
💎 #
5

Built an engagement and churn model with ML/AI team that looks at over 100 features (depositing, transacting, frequency, amount, balance, etc.) and predicts how likely a user is to return and assigns a value to each user. [Varo] 

32:07
💎 #
6

Product team has to sit with customer service for at least 4 days when onboarding in order to know how to properly grow the product. [Rakuten Rewards] 

38:33
💎 #
7

Test more at the top of the funnel where you have the most users, optimize for that and then gradually move down the funnel. [Varo] 

45:25
The gems from this resource are only available to premium members.

Gems are the key bite-size insights "mined" from a specific mobile marketing resource, like a webinar, a panel or a podcast.
They allow you to save time by grasping the most important information in a couple of minutes, and also each include the timestamp from the source.

💎 #
1

Something that really unlocked growth for Varo is creating a way to sign up on mobile web. It performed better than directing people to the app stores from Day 1 of launching it. [Varo] 

11:20
💎 #
2

At the end of the registration on web users now get a little tour of the app. They are experimenting with different formats and it has been very successful. [Varo] 

13:13
💎 #
3

After observing that on the web users were converting (purchasing) more on Sundays and Mondays, they ran cashback promotions (increased cashback rates) on these days in the app as well. They saw huge spikes of downloads on these days. [Rakuten Rewards] 

09:55
💎 #
4

Looked at partnerships that would allow to get cashback to people quickly. They partnered with Lyft to provide $1 cashback each time users were riding with Lyft. That repeat offer got millennials in the door and then they tried to transition them to retail cashback. [Rakuten Rewards] 

23:25
💎 #
5

Built an engagement and churn model with ML/AI team that looks at over 100 features (depositing, transacting, frequency, amount, balance, etc.) and predicts how likely a user is to return and assigns a value to each user. [Varo] 

32:07
💎 #
6

Product team has to sit with customer service for at least 4 days when onboarding in order to know how to properly grow the product. [Rakuten Rewards] 

38:33
💎 #
7

Test more at the top of the funnel where you have the most users, optimize for that and then gradually move down the funnel. [Varo] 

45:25

Notes for this resource are currently being transferred and will be available soon.

Success stories of a feature or promotion you ran

Kasia (Varo)

  • Varo launched 2.5 years ago, first on iOS then Android. For a while acquisition was mobile-only.
  • [💎@11:20] Something that really unlocked growth for Varo is creating a way to sign up on mobile web. It performed better than directing people to the app stores from Day 1 of launching it.
  • This led them to focus on how to get people that sign up on the web to get to the app (where the experience is better).
  • [💎@13:13] At the end of the registration on web users now get a little tour of the app. They are experimenting with different formats and it has been very successful.
  • To get people to the app they also offer users to provide their phone number to get a link to download the app (at the end of the tour) and use email.

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • A few years ago they were struggling to transfer people from desktop to mobile.
  • [💎@09:55] After observing that on the web users were converting (purchasing) more on Sundays and Mondays, they ran cashback promotions (increased cashback rates) on these days in the app as well. They saw huge spikes of downloads on these days.

Bailey (Turo)

  • When she was at ResQwalk (app to raise money for animal shelters). They would use the shelters to raise awareness of the app and that would drive download but after 45 days they were seeing trails off.
  • They built a leaderboard for the shelters based on the downloads they would drive which got the shelters to be competitive and much more active.


Challenges of onboarding

Kasia (Varo)

  • Do a lot of personalization once they've actually onboarded users.
  • They leverage access to users' bank transactions and personalize based on that. Example: a user is charged with an overdraft fee from Wells Fargo, Varo sends an email inviting the user to switch to avoid overdraft fee.
  • When signing up, they collect some intent information to personalize the onboarding experience: primary account or secondary account, which feature brought you in, etc. Combine this with demos.


Strategy when expanding Rakuten

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • Done a good job at retaining users and have multiple platforms users can use: desktop, chrome extension, the app, etc.
  • They were initially really focused on 1 core demographic but wanted to expand beyond that. They surveyed millennials and users told them it was too complicated.
  • [💎@23:25] Looked at partnerships that would allow to get cashback to people quickly. They partnered with Lyft to provide $1 cashback each time users were riding with Lyft. That repeat offer got millennials in the door and then they tried to transition them to retail cashback.
  • They were even able to use co-branded Facebook ads, etc.


Personalization strategies for  onboarding

Bailey (Turo)

  • Break up their marketplace as guests (renting cars) and hosts (listing their cars). They they segment further each group an adapt messaging. Example:
    - Casual hosts (1 car listed for supplemental income): messaging around convenience of listing your car, no cost if anything goes wrong, etc.
    - Power hosts (people that have multiple cars and use Turo for primary source of income): messaging around support from Turo to help them grow their business.
  • The role that insurance plays is critical in user acquisition: each host must select an insurance package. The insurance packages need to speak to each segment.


What is a healthy active user and impact on retention metrics chosen

Kasia (Varo)

  • Just looking at app opens isn't a real action.
  • For Varo the main action is transacting: depositing or spending. People depositing on a regular basis are engaging and getting value from the bank account which leads to retention and revenue.
  • Regarding the frequency: for Varo, users depositing at least once a month are active users. So their main metric is monthly transacting or depositing users.
  • [💎@30:30] If you are looking for your engagement metrics, find which actions are the most highly correlated with long-term retention.
  • They do not rely on opening the app because behaviors are really different from one user to the other (hands on or hands off with their banking).
  • [💎@32:07] Built an engagement and churn model with ML/AI team that looks at over 100 features (depositing, transacting, frequency, amount, balance, etc.) and predicts how likely a user is to return and assigns a value to each user.
  • This allowed them to find certain thresholds that correlate with engagement and they try to get users there.

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • For conversion metrics: first 10 buyers and now also adding browse frequency as well.


Examples of implementing user feedback

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • Sign up flow allows to link credit card and then get cashback "in the real world" without doing anything. This is confusing to Rakuten users that are used to get cashback for online purchases. They had to do a lot of testing on the messaging to get users to understand the value proposition of the automatic cashback and how to convert them.
  • Turned to context/cohorts to present the concept. They actually sit down with users to talk to them.
  • [💎@38:33] Product team has to sit with customer service for at least 4 days when onboarding in order to know how to properly grow the product.

Kasia (Varo)

  • They have a call center in Utah and Kasia actually listened to several customers calling.

Bailey (Turo)

  • Interview users, talk to them, try the product yourself. etc.
  • Using the service herself got her to understand the difference between two ways of ordering (with host confirmation and without). It led the team to put more efforts into explaining this further.


Determining risk for each segment of users

Bailey (Turo)

  • Think about risks on the trip level: distance, duration, value of the car, etc. This determines a risk score and use that to incentivize specific insurance package.


Learning from failures

Kasia (Varo)

  • A lot of A/B testing and they initially a test across the whole funnel. Did their due diligence but they went with a sample size that was too small: it was ok for the top of the funnel but a lot of the tests lower down the funnel were inconclusive.
  • [💎@45:25] Test more at the top of the funnel where you have the most users, optimize for that and then gradually move down the funnel.

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • One of the partnerships they launched with had a lot of hype (aiming for 20k new users per week) and it actually got more users than expected but it also increased the cost associated with that growth. Had to shutdown the program.

Kasia (Varo)

  • Increased the app for referrals and it blew up (including on the blogs on how to make money) and it ended up being costly.

Bailey (Turo)

  • Saw a pattern of people looking at 7 cars before booking. Built a carousel to display the cars but the test was inconclusive. But they forgot to look at users behavior/sessions before looking at these 7 cars.


Q & A


Highest performing acquisition channels

  • Rakuten: two-sided referral program is the most effective
  • Turo: do not have a referral program. Most effective channel is paid social.
  • Varo: test new platforms as they come out (e.g. Tik Tok) but Facebook and Google is what drives the volume. Also partner with websites and blogs


The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.

Success stories of a feature or promotion you ran

Kasia (Varo)

  • Varo launched 2.5 years ago, first on iOS then Android. For a while acquisition was mobile-only.
  • [💎@11:20] Something that really unlocked growth for Varo is creating a way to sign up on mobile web. It performed better than directing people to the app stores from Day 1 of launching it.
  • This led them to focus on how to get people that sign up on the web to get to the app (where the experience is better).
  • [💎@13:13] At the end of the registration on web users now get a little tour of the app. They are experimenting with different formats and it has been very successful.
  • To get people to the app they also offer users to provide their phone number to get a link to download the app (at the end of the tour) and use email.

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • A few years ago they were struggling to transfer people from desktop to mobile.
  • [💎@09:55] After observing that on the web users were converting (purchasing) more on Sundays and Mondays, they ran cashback promotions (increased cashback rates) on these days in the app as well. They saw huge spikes of downloads on these days.

Bailey (Turo)

  • When she was at ResQwalk (app to raise money for animal shelters). They would use the shelters to raise awareness of the app and that would drive download but after 45 days they were seeing trails off.
  • They built a leaderboard for the shelters based on the downloads they would drive which got the shelters to be competitive and much more active.


Challenges of onboarding

Kasia (Varo)

  • Do a lot of personalization once they've actually onboarded users.
  • They leverage access to users' bank transactions and personalize based on that. Example: a user is charged with an overdraft fee from Wells Fargo, Varo sends an email inviting the user to switch to avoid overdraft fee.
  • When signing up, they collect some intent information to personalize the onboarding experience: primary account or secondary account, which feature brought you in, etc. Combine this with demos.


Strategy when expanding Rakuten

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • Done a good job at retaining users and have multiple platforms users can use: desktop, chrome extension, the app, etc.
  • They were initially really focused on 1 core demographic but wanted to expand beyond that. They surveyed millennials and users told them it was too complicated.
  • [💎@23:25] Looked at partnerships that would allow to get cashback to people quickly. They partnered with Lyft to provide $1 cashback each time users were riding with Lyft. That repeat offer got millennials in the door and then they tried to transition them to retail cashback.
  • They were even able to use co-branded Facebook ads, etc.


Personalization strategies for  onboarding

Bailey (Turo)

  • Break up their marketplace as guests (renting cars) and hosts (listing their cars). They they segment further each group an adapt messaging. Example:
    - Casual hosts (1 car listed for supplemental income): messaging around convenience of listing your car, no cost if anything goes wrong, etc.
    - Power hosts (people that have multiple cars and use Turo for primary source of income): messaging around support from Turo to help them grow their business.
  • The role that insurance plays is critical in user acquisition: each host must select an insurance package. The insurance packages need to speak to each segment.


What is a healthy active user and impact on retention metrics chosen

Kasia (Varo)

  • Just looking at app opens isn't a real action.
  • For Varo the main action is transacting: depositing or spending. People depositing on a regular basis are engaging and getting value from the bank account which leads to retention and revenue.
  • Regarding the frequency: for Varo, users depositing at least once a month are active users. So their main metric is monthly transacting or depositing users.
  • [💎@30:30] If you are looking for your engagement metrics, find which actions are the most highly correlated with long-term retention.
  • They do not rely on opening the app because behaviors are really different from one user to the other (hands on or hands off with their banking).
  • [💎@32:07] Built an engagement and churn model with ML/AI team that looks at over 100 features (depositing, transacting, frequency, amount, balance, etc.) and predicts how likely a user is to return and assigns a value to each user.
  • This allowed them to find certain thresholds that correlate with engagement and they try to get users there.

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • For conversion metrics: first 10 buyers and now also adding browse frequency as well.


Examples of implementing user feedback

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • Sign up flow allows to link credit card and then get cashback "in the real world" without doing anything. This is confusing to Rakuten users that are used to get cashback for online purchases. They had to do a lot of testing on the messaging to get users to understand the value proposition of the automatic cashback and how to convert them.
  • Turned to context/cohorts to present the concept. They actually sit down with users to talk to them.
  • [💎@38:33] Product team has to sit with customer service for at least 4 days when onboarding in order to know how to properly grow the product.

Kasia (Varo)

  • They have a call center in Utah and Kasia actually listened to several customers calling.

Bailey (Turo)

  • Interview users, talk to them, try the product yourself. etc.
  • Using the service herself got her to understand the difference between two ways of ordering (with host confirmation and without). It led the team to put more efforts into explaining this further.


Determining risk for each segment of users

Bailey (Turo)

  • Think about risks on the trip level: distance, duration, value of the car, etc. This determines a risk score and use that to incentivize specific insurance package.


Learning from failures

Kasia (Varo)

  • A lot of A/B testing and they initially a test across the whole funnel. Did their due diligence but they went with a sample size that was too small: it was ok for the top of the funnel but a lot of the tests lower down the funnel were inconclusive.
  • [💎@45:25] Test more at the top of the funnel where you have the most users, optimize for that and then gradually move down the funnel.

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • One of the partnerships they launched with had a lot of hype (aiming for 20k new users per week) and it actually got more users than expected but it also increased the cost associated with that growth. Had to shutdown the program.

Kasia (Varo)

  • Increased the app for referrals and it blew up (including on the blogs on how to make money) and it ended up being costly.

Bailey (Turo)

  • Saw a pattern of people looking at 7 cars before booking. Built a carousel to display the cars but the test was inconclusive. But they forgot to look at users behavior/sessions before looking at these 7 cars.


Q & A


Highest performing acquisition channels

  • Rakuten: two-sided referral program is the most effective
  • Turo: do not have a referral program. Most effective channel is paid social.
  • Varo: test new platforms as they come out (e.g. Tik Tok) but Facebook and Google is what drives the volume. Also partner with websites and blogs


The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.

Success stories of a feature or promotion you ran

Kasia (Varo)

  • Varo launched 2.5 years ago, first on iOS then Android. For a while acquisition was mobile-only.
  • [💎@11:20] Something that really unlocked growth for Varo is creating a way to sign up on mobile web. It performed better than directing people to the app stores from Day 1 of launching it.
  • This led them to focus on how to get people that sign up on the web to get to the app (where the experience is better).
  • [💎@13:13] At the end of the registration on web users now get a little tour of the app. They are experimenting with different formats and it has been very successful.
  • To get people to the app they also offer users to provide their phone number to get a link to download the app (at the end of the tour) and use email.

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • A few years ago they were struggling to transfer people from desktop to mobile.
  • [💎@09:55] After observing that on the web users were converting (purchasing) more on Sundays and Mondays, they ran cashback promotions (increased cashback rates) on these days in the app as well. They saw huge spikes of downloads on these days.

Bailey (Turo)

  • When she was at ResQwalk (app to raise money for animal shelters). They would use the shelters to raise awareness of the app and that would drive download but after 45 days they were seeing trails off.
  • They built a leaderboard for the shelters based on the downloads they would drive which got the shelters to be competitive and much more active.


Challenges of onboarding

Kasia (Varo)

  • Do a lot of personalization once they've actually onboarded users.
  • They leverage access to users' bank transactions and personalize based on that. Example: a user is charged with an overdraft fee from Wells Fargo, Varo sends an email inviting the user to switch to avoid overdraft fee.
  • When signing up, they collect some intent information to personalize the onboarding experience: primary account or secondary account, which feature brought you in, etc. Combine this with demos.


Strategy when expanding Rakuten

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • Done a good job at retaining users and have multiple platforms users can use: desktop, chrome extension, the app, etc.
  • They were initially really focused on 1 core demographic but wanted to expand beyond that. They surveyed millennials and users told them it was too complicated.
  • [💎@23:25] Looked at partnerships that would allow to get cashback to people quickly. They partnered with Lyft to provide $1 cashback each time users were riding with Lyft. That repeat offer got millennials in the door and then they tried to transition them to retail cashback.
  • They were even able to use co-branded Facebook ads, etc.


Personalization strategies for  onboarding

Bailey (Turo)

  • Break up their marketplace as guests (renting cars) and hosts (listing their cars). They they segment further each group an adapt messaging. Example:
    - Casual hosts (1 car listed for supplemental income): messaging around convenience of listing your car, no cost if anything goes wrong, etc.
    - Power hosts (people that have multiple cars and use Turo for primary source of income): messaging around support from Turo to help them grow their business.
  • The role that insurance plays is critical in user acquisition: each host must select an insurance package. The insurance packages need to speak to each segment.


What is a healthy active user and impact on retention metrics chosen

Kasia (Varo)

  • Just looking at app opens isn't a real action.
  • For Varo the main action is transacting: depositing or spending. People depositing on a regular basis are engaging and getting value from the bank account which leads to retention and revenue.
  • Regarding the frequency: for Varo, users depositing at least once a month are active users. So their main metric is monthly transacting or depositing users.
  • [💎@30:30] If you are looking for your engagement metrics, find which actions are the most highly correlated with long-term retention.
  • They do not rely on opening the app because behaviors are really different from one user to the other (hands on or hands off with their banking).
  • [💎@32:07] Built an engagement and churn model with ML/AI team that looks at over 100 features (depositing, transacting, frequency, amount, balance, etc.) and predicts how likely a user is to return and assigns a value to each user.
  • This allowed them to find certain thresholds that correlate with engagement and they try to get users there.

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • For conversion metrics: first 10 buyers and now also adding browse frequency as well.


Examples of implementing user feedback

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • Sign up flow allows to link credit card and then get cashback "in the real world" without doing anything. This is confusing to Rakuten users that are used to get cashback for online purchases. They had to do a lot of testing on the messaging to get users to understand the value proposition of the automatic cashback and how to convert them.
  • Turned to context/cohorts to present the concept. They actually sit down with users to talk to them.
  • [💎@38:33] Product team has to sit with customer service for at least 4 days when onboarding in order to know how to properly grow the product.

Kasia (Varo)

  • They have a call center in Utah and Kasia actually listened to several customers calling.

Bailey (Turo)

  • Interview users, talk to them, try the product yourself. etc.
  • Using the service herself got her to understand the difference between two ways of ordering (with host confirmation and without). It led the team to put more efforts into explaining this further.


Determining risk for each segment of users

Bailey (Turo)

  • Think about risks on the trip level: distance, duration, value of the car, etc. This determines a risk score and use that to incentivize specific insurance package.


Learning from failures

Kasia (Varo)

  • A lot of A/B testing and they initially a test across the whole funnel. Did their due diligence but they went with a sample size that was too small: it was ok for the top of the funnel but a lot of the tests lower down the funnel were inconclusive.
  • [💎@45:25] Test more at the top of the funnel where you have the most users, optimize for that and then gradually move down the funnel.

Christopher (Rakuten Rewards)

  • One of the partnerships they launched with had a lot of hype (aiming for 20k new users per week) and it actually got more users than expected but it also increased the cost associated with that growth. Had to shutdown the program.

Kasia (Varo)

  • Increased the app for referrals and it blew up (including on the blogs on how to make money) and it ended up being costly.

Bailey (Turo)

  • Saw a pattern of people looking at 7 cars before booking. Built a carousel to display the cars but the test was inconclusive. But they forgot to look at users behavior/sessions before looking at these 7 cars.


Q & A


Highest performing acquisition channels

  • Rakuten: two-sided referral program is the most effective
  • Turo: do not have a referral program. Most effective channel is paid social.
  • Varo: test new platforms as they come out (e.g. Tik Tok) but Facebook and Google is what drives the volume. Also partner with websites and blogs