Battle of the Fintech Brands: 4 Unicorns Compared

There’s no shortage of fintech brands but the path to ‘unicorn’ status takes more than a great product.

Although they have the potential for rapid growth and scale, volume-oriented, fintech businesses must be prepared to fight for customer attention, media praise and investor funds.

As some of the most dynamic brands of 2020, there’s lots that marketers and executives from other industries can learn from analysis of fintech firms.

With that in mind, the ICS-digital team has assembled some compelling data on a 13 of the most intriguing fintech leaders, namely:

Brand Category Funding Location

Of course, each of these fintech brands started life at different times but there’s still a hint of a pattern when we look at funding received versus monthly web visits in 2020:

Brand Category Funding Domain Monthly Site Visits

Credit Karma have been around for a number of years now, but the scale of their traffic is truly jaw dropping.

While brands like iCapital Network and Kindur may find themselves under pressure to increase the size of their digital footprint, their more niche investing focus can partially explain why they’re at the bottom of the table in terms of traffic.

The overall picture is one of big money and some astounding success in web traffic, in spite of high competition and some volatility along the way.

User Experience, Pages Per Visit and Visit Duration

With invisible products and few options for customers to experience their offerings without trying directly to see what the fuss is about; these brands have done an excellent job of building traction and attracting visitors.

That said, visits are not enough – giving the transactional nature of these fintech sites, we’d expect the top performers to be keeping visitors onsite long enough to sign up, learn more details or carry out some kind of a profitable action.

Brand Funding Pages / Visit Avg. Visit Duration (Seconds)

In the data above we can see again that these sites are sustaining the interest of visitors, with most brands having more than three pages visited on average.

Once again, iCapital Network and Kindur are bringing up the bottom of the table and while they don’t benefit from the investment levels on par with some of the giants on this list, we’re still talking about tens of millions of dollars in play.

At the top of the table, we might also query if the number of page visits and visit duration of brands like Tala and Credit Karma.

Their visitors visit multiple pages and spend significant amount of time on site but as this a result of profitable actions being taken, or an indication that users may not be finding the information they’re looking for?

In terms of site speed and the amount going on each site, we can see some significant variations and some serious scope to improve.

Site Speed and UX

Affirm, Tala and MoneyLion all take over twenty seconds to get to the point of being fully interactive on mobile based on our test. This is significantly longer than the sub-3 second target advised by Google.

Brand Speed Score Requests Time-to-Interactive

As transactional sites with presumably significant security components, it’s not a surprise that each site is firing lots of requests when a visitor arrives on the site, with significant time taken to be fully interactive.

For those brands looking to compete more effectively to earn rankings and convert traffic, attention can be focused on site speed to build competitive advantage.

Although Google is reluctant to highlight anything as a ranking factor in isolation, the search giant is focused on giving ‘the right answer’ to users – and draws upon usability and engagement metrics as part of that algorithmic process to determine rankings.

For brand looking to challenge some of these big-money firms, this is one potential area where success is possible and of course this also applies to those on the list too.

Off-site SEO

Another ranking factor for SEO – and one that Google is even more circumspect about addressing – is off-site SEO and links:

Brand Funding Unique Visitors Authority
Score Backlinks Linking

Although there’s no simple formula for guaranteed success in SEO, quality, quantity and topical relevance of links to your brand’s site is still hugely significant. In the case of the companies above, we can see that all are picking up links and the ratio of do-follow links to no-follow links seems to indicate that these brands have a purposeful SEO strategy in play.

The types of links these sites are attracting are varied, but beyond the ‘usual’ links for companies of this type related to technology, finance and investor trends, we also see a spread of consumer-facing coverage, deliberate B2B PR and deliberate efforts to earn (or otherwise acquire) links.

For those seeking to compete for online visibility and rankings with this type of fintech brand, a creative and scalable strategy is key. Each of these brands has deep pockets, and a growth-hacking approach to acquiring web traffic. I suspect in some cases in addition to winning traffic for the sake of customer acquisition, this aggressive digital strategy is also to some extent about showing investors another type of positive
metric to justify further funding.

Summing Up

For fintech brands who don’t benefit from multi-million-dollar investment, there is much to learn from analysing the digital strategies of unicorns and wannabe unicorns. Comparing site speed, top performing pages, the relevance and depth of onsite content and other user experience factors can help carve out competitive advantage.

Similarly, when it comes to SEO it’s straightforward to uncover the types of technical strategy these sites benefit from, the potential oversights and in the case of SEO, where to start with an energetic and impactful offsite SEO strategy.

About the Author

Martin Calvert is marketing director at ICS-digital, an international digital marketing and translations agency that specialises in some of toughest online industry niches. Find out more:

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