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  • SOFI app grows +179% YoY in August, up from +136% YoY in July and continues a 4-month sequential rise in growth.
  • SOFI sequential YoY growth dates back to April – ahead of the June announcement that the student loan pause would be ending. The positive app growth in Q2 aligned with the 20%+ stock jump after 2Q earnings. 
  • Apptopia marketing intelligence shows SOFI user acquisition efforts go beyond student loan payback – promoting its brokerage and personal finance offerings.

As the student loan payment pause comes to an end, SoFi (SOFI) has had a resurgence in its app growth that trends with the 85%+ YTD stock performance. Though student loan repayment is an undeniable factor in its app growth, SoFi’s user acquisition momentum started in April, ahead of the repayment date announcement. This suggests that SoFi has worked on its other personal finance products and their product market fit.  

Indeed, observing app growth of pure play student loan provider Nelnet (NNI), the download spikes are more finite. Nelnet’s app jumped 403% in June and 188% in July but fell -71% in August. This growth was likely driven by email marketing to “download the app to get ready for payments resuming”. 

Apptopia marketing intelligence has a view into App Store search ads (like Google SEO ads but within the app store). In the last 30 days, SoFi has increased its Share-of-Voice for terms it does not rank organically for including “PNC Bank”, “401K”, and “Mint”.

Will SoFi activity look more like traditional banks after October when student loan borrowers have the app and automatic payments set up? Or will SoFi successfully leverage student loans to emerge as a greater consumer finance platform? Mobile performance and advertising data is proving to be a valuable signal for tracking its strategy shifts.

Questions on the underlying data included in this analysis?