Drinking from the fire hose – learnings from micropayment power users

Left to Right: Bikram (Probo), Ramesh (Sharechat) and Sagar (Jar)

By: Dev Khare and Priyal Motwani

To try out something new, we had put together a power user panel from large scale micropayments apps like Sharechat (Content/ entertainment), Probo (Play to earn) and Jar (Utility — Fintech) for “The 50 Rupee Summit”.

We thought it was an interesting idea as the richest source of learning and insights on human behavior and incentives is always talking to customers directly! And what better way to understand why some of these customers are paying INR 50–100 (very) regularly, which itself is yielding to $100M+ revenue opportunities for these micropayments start ups. It was also a good way to burst the myth on these customers not being who we typically imagine them to be.

We had very interactive and deep conversations with –

  • Mahesh: Sub-project manager in a construction company who also happens to be a part time creator on Sharechat/ Moj and ends up spending INR 20k per month on gifting
  • Bikram: 21 year old college student who started with INR 300 on Probo and is currently sitting at INR 3 lakhs
  • Sagar: 30 year old marketing professional who considers Jar as his most trusted personal finance app

Some interesting takeaways on their characteristics and how they think –

Time rich vs dollar rich archetype: Power users in micropayment apps aren’t the typical M/T1, affluent cohort that munches on Swiggy, travels on MMT and shops on Amazon/ Myntra. These can easily be the lower-middle income group segments (factory workers, college students, housewives, shop owners) who are time rich, and associate a part of their personality with their favorite apps (e.g., Mahesh was a proud Moj creator and Bikram would like to mention “Top Prober” on his LinkedIn profile). For platforms that are must have for them, they’re willing to spend >INR 10k per month, but of course the trick is to make it sachet payments (INR 20–50) vs charging them a high upfront amount.

Hungry for accelerated social and financial capital: These customers are looking for easy (but skillful) hacks for monetary or social success. A combination of both can be extremely potent, and typically sees high frequency usage and engagement. There is also a need for faster feedback loops that keeps their dopamine level high.

  • Bikram searched for all routes to make easy money (internships, reselling, real money gaming) but found Probo to be the right fit. It requires no complex knowledge of stock trading or deep strategies for winning on fantasy sports apps. All it requires is knowledge of cricket (which we Indians love), a strong opinion and most importantly, knowing when to withdraw
    Probo ends up having the most fluid, no constraint withdrawals.
  • Sagar tried his hands at multiple finance/ trading apps but wasn’t able to strike gold owing to lack of time and high complexity. Jar provides him with a medium to compound wealth while reducing his cognitive load in an asset class that he trusts (gold!)
  • Mahesh loves Sharechat/ Moj as it’s an easy way to express himself and meet like minded people. The creator battles are his favorite as that’s an easy way for him to gain 1–1.5k followers on a weekly basis and gifting makes him stand apart and get visibility.

Higher engagement builds trust layer for further cross sell: High engagement is a function of both app usage frequency and session time. It’s critical to optimize both for trust building and enabling higher spend (e.g., UPI apps are high frequency but not longer sessions). This comes from a relevant variety — e.g., Probo questions range from sports to youtube to stocks to news; Sharechat/ Moj provide audio chat rooms, short form video, creator gifting; Jar multiple forms of saving avenues. As all our power users echoed that building trust and regular usage enables them to spend freely on their favorite platforms

Word of mouth is the strongest acquisition hook: Contrary to common wisdom, the new age customers are experimental and proactive when it comes to trying out new apps that can provide them a chance for better social and financial capital. However, referral from peers/ acquaintances acts as a strong catalyst for trust building and giving an app multiple, multiple chances, before hitting the “uninstall”. Micropayments app that create virality loops (e.g., easy Whatsapp share of short form videos via Moj or opinion polls on Probo) find it easy to gain momentum.

Thanks to Sharechat, Probo, Jar, Winzo, AppsforBharat and PocketFM for giving us access to their power users!

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