How can we bring the “loud budgeting” community from TikTok to Acorns?


“Loud budgeting” refers to being fully transparent about finances — the opposite of quiet luxury.
There is a vibrant community of loud budgeters on TikTok, and we want to bring them to the Acorns investing app.

Thus, Acorns Academy was born!


Meet 24-year-old Mia Chen:

GoalsMia dreams of moving to New York City. 
She is working towards a promotion to Senior Associate in her company’s Manhattan office. 
She also dreams of being financially secure enough to retire her parents within the next ten years.

NeedsTo really save up for her future, Mia needs to start investing her money. 
She wants to build a diversified, reliable portfolio that generates returns while minimizing risk. 
She tells herself she needs to start saving more. But she also tells herself she needs a new purse...

FrustrationsMia keeps track of her monthly charges with no problem, but when it comes to decision-making, things aren’t as easy. 
Sometimes she feels lost when it comes to financial vocabulary and making monetary decisions.

Chat with Mia using an AI Persona:

Phase OneDiscovery
Goals: Raise awareness, engage the community

We partnered with trusted creators in the loud budgeting space.
They posted videos that seamlessly and transparently integrated Acorns into their typical content.
We gave their profiles an Acorns “verified” badge to pique viewer interest and establish legitimacy.

Phase Two
Goals: Build relationship with audience, create a common language

Harnessing the already existing functionality of TikTok key word search, we developed a version for Acorns.
Common finance-related phrases become Acorn’s vocabulary words, appearing in green.
Viewers tap them to be taken to a vocabulary “lesson” card still within the TikTok app.
After completing the lesson, viewers earn +1 Acorn, a progress-measuring unit redeemable in the Acorns app.

Phase Three

Goals: Encourage usage of Acorns app, reward participation

Within the Acorns app, Acorns Academy contains lessons, flashcards, and quizzes.
Acorns Academy “students” can also participate in Study Hall: topic-based chat rooms moderated by loud budgeting TikTokers.
Participation in each of these segments earns the student Acorns and increases their progress bar.

After 25 Acorns, our students move onto the next “grade.”
With 100 Acorns, our students graduate with expert financial knowledge!

Phase Four

Goals: Keep Acorns users engaged

1) Monthly Recap
Inspired by Spotify’s Wrapped feature, we use data to calculate habits and share with you your own unique insights.

2) Investment Tracker
Investment goals add up on a mobile device widget, depicting gradual progress until the goal is met.

Investment tracking Widget 
for iPhone and Apple Watch

AD: Smera Dhal
AD: Anna Myers
XD: Claire Snyder