Mint Shutting Down, Apple Introduces Journal App - ASO Weekly
November 3rd, 2023
Can the closing of one app cause a surge in growth throughout the industry? Inversely, can the introduction of another shake up market share in its favor? This ASO Weekly analyzes the impending shutdown of a beloved finance app and the launch of a brand-new Apple app that can potentially influence each category.
Mint Shutting Down
With the introduction of Credit Karma’s financial planning tool, direct comparisons to Mint were quickly drawn. Coupled with the fact that Intuit purchased Credit Karma in 2020, the question of what can be expected was always on the table, considering the two similarly-positioned products were now part of the same company. With a user base that virtually dwarfs Mint’s, Credit Karma seemed like the smartest focus moving forward and Intuit is soon to capitalize on that with Mint ceasing operations starting January 2024.
Upon Intuit’s announcement that they’re discontinuing the personal finance app, an influx of users was observed among not only Credit Karma’s main app but competitor apps across all app stores. Monarch Money’s CEO Val Agostino, someone who worked closely at Mint, stated that the new app garnered twice the number of users it usually does when the news broke. The same case applies to Cheddar, whose co-founder also observed a surge in beta sign-ups after the announcement.
So how can developers optimize finance apps to prepare for market shake-ups such as the one above?
What it Means for ASO
While surely a large number of users will jump from Mint to Credit Karma given the convenience of staying within the company’s ecosystem, there is also be a number of those who are looking for another alternative. Reddit is currently active with users discussing which apps on the market offer the best set of features to make the switch to. However, there isn’t one right answer.
Existing finance app developers can take this opportunity to scour forums and sites like Reddit for insight into what features users like about Mint and are looking for in competitor apps. For example, one user states:
“It seems like multiple people here like Mint because it allows you to see all of your upcoming credit card bill amounts… Do any of the Mint alternatives offer this feature? I already talked to Monarch support, and they said they do not offer this.”
For those that do offer similar features, they can start A/B testing different asset combinations using Apple’s Product Page Optimization or Google’s Store Listing Experiments to target users looking for those specific services. The results of those A/B tests can then justify adapting their app store listing to highlight the most popular features and attract more users.
Apple’s Journal App
We previously touched upon Apple’s new Journal and how it potentially affected other top journaling apps in a previous App Store Spotlight, and it seems like all is set for launch. With the arrival of iOS 17.2, Apple is introducing Journal, its native virtual diary which some users have already gotten their hands on. But can it compete? For avid journaling fanatics and writers, the feedback appears to be… mixed.
Early adopters were quick to note the simplistic, albeit different yet barebones nature of the app when using it.
“Journal is very much being positioned as a multi-media app. Obviously, images and video are great for evoking visceral memories, but writing through things at the end of a long day is a great way to process the last 24 hours.”
“I suspect Journal might appeal as an entry-level journaling app but is not likely to convince many people to dump their existing diary.”
- The Verge
While the new first-party service looks to position itself as a player in the journaling space, there still seems to be a ways to go before it actually delivers on the expectations users have for these types of apps. Journaling is primarily about writing. Whether through pen and paper or virtually, the essence of getting thoughts across through written word is one users look for rather than a full-on content solution. While a combination of the two can work, Apple will need to monitor feedback over time to adapt the app in a way that serves users and at the same time incorporates the new features they’d like to introduce.
What it Means for ASO
A new competitor is always a reason to keep existing players on their toes, especially if the competitor is the platform hosting your own app. However, based on initial observations and feedback, it will be a while before Apple is able to convince purists its app maintains the spirit of a journaling app. Current features seem intent on expanding what journaling can be rather than building upon what already is.
Existing journaling app developers can take this opportunity to continue polishing their standout features and highlight unique value propositions within their app metadata and creatives. A loyal user will be hesitant to give up the features they enjoy, even if the alternative is a first-party service. However, developers should still remain vigilant of future features incorporated into Apple’s Journal app that could directly compete with their offering.
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