I'd really appreciate some pointers on how to achieve this sort of text animation:
I've tried with text animators, per character, but I cannot make it look quite as smooth.
You can tell that it either used Dan Ebbert's squeeze and stretch, or some kind of wiggle to ease out the scaling.
I really appreciate your input. Thank you very much.
It appears to be done with multiple text animators that are offset in time to give that cascading bounce effect. Check out some of the organic text animation presets in bridge and you can reverse engineer them to see how they work. Select your text layer and go to Animation>Browse presets>Text>Organic. You can preview them in bridge and then just double-click to apply to your text layer.