The Internet giveth, and the Internet hath taken away. On the plus side, we have Ceiling Cat and Sad Keanu. On the minus side is our shrinking attention span and memory.
Researchers from Oxford, King’s College London, Harvard and Western Sydney University set out to assess what our digitised lifestyle had done to our brains over the last three decades. Let’s just say that having the attention span of a goldfish is slowly becoming something we can only aspire to. “The limitless stream of prompts and notifications from the internet encourages us towards constantly holding a divided attention – which then in turn may decrease our capacity for maintaining concentration on a single task,” explained Dr Joseph Firth, Senior Research Fellow at Western Sydney University.
This is bad news for anyone who’s in the business of competing for consumers’ screen time – and financial service providers are no exception.
During our last expert panel discussion on the now and next of personal financial management tools, one of the main takeaways was that a record number of apps are trying to make it through customers’ attention firewall, whether it’s budgeting, wealth management or trading in stocks and cryptocurrencies. In fact, the majority of millennials and Gen Zers have probably never used fewer than four different apps for money management. Whose app is downloaded more, and what users see when they pull them up, is pivotal in winning the Game of Screens.
And what most of them are looking for is key financial information broken down in a way that is easy to grasp and, if needed, act on.
Money Stories: swipeable money updates for better financial decisions
That was our exact thought process when developing Money Stories: a ready-to-use, embeddable tool to give customers bite-sized, story-like snapshots of their financial lives – with minimal effort and decision-making on banks’ part. Inspired by the short and sweet content format trailblazed by Snapchat, the solution blends data analytics with digital storytelling into next-level mobile banking experiences for customers. And new sales avenues for financial institutions.
At its core, Money Stories distils complex transactional and behavioural analytics into single-screen, 7-10-second snapshots to help customers stay on top of their money matters and make their financial goals a reality. The stories displayed range from daily highlights through weekly and monthly forecasts to yearly summaries, creating a steady stream of money updates for users to interact with.
Daily highlights might include unusually large transactions, double charges or sharp balance drops within the last 24 hours. Weekly stories offer insight into income and expenses, recurring transitions and top spending categories over a seven-day period, plus week-on-week spending analysis and budget tracking updates. Stories based on long-period analyses keep customers in the loop about key changes in their monthly or yearly spending or credit card usage, as well as budget goals and planning in the form of need-want-save spending breakdowns.
But that’s not all.
Should it indicate trouble on someone’s financial horizon, a daily balance update can be followed by an offer of an overdraft to help them bridge the income gap. Or after a major purchase charged on a credit card, banks can let customers know that they also have the option to pay their debt in monthly instalments instead of all at once. Meaning that the solution creates a shortcut to hyper-relevant, personalised product offers.
Money Stories are just as easy to implement for banks as it is to use and love for customers, thanks to a two-step integration process. First comes allocating a strip for displaying stories in the bank’s existing mobile application. The module can be seamlessly embedded into any UI framework, interface and navigation through an SDK, while only taking up 8% of the user’s screen. The other part of the equation is data: the solution runs on daily transactions data supplied and analysed in batch. When all is said and done, the only decision for banks to make remains what product and service offers to slide into the story stream to boost targeting accuracy, conversion and customer satisfaction levels.