Tips for Expanding Your App to Global Markets

There is no doubt about it. The mobile app market is poised for tremendous growth. In 2017, there were 197,000 million mobile app downloads. By 2021, that number is expected to swell to an estimated 352,600 million mobile app downloads.

If you’ve created an app that’s already a big hit in the United States, you should know that Americans only account for about 10 percent of the world’s smartphone users. What does that mean? It means 90 percent of your potential consumer base resides outside of the United States…and you may be missing out on a significant opportunity to grow your business.

What can you do to capture the attention of at least a portion of the 90 percent of smartphone users who live outside of the U.S.? You can expand your app to global markets, of course!

For progressive app developers, scaling their apps for expansion internationally is the natural next step to drive growth. Through international expansion, developers can gain access to lucrative markets overseas, earn an advantage over their competitors and garner recognition as a global organization.

While all of that may sound great, it doesn’t answer the underlying question, which is how can you go about expanding your app to global markets. Although you may suspect that such a broad-based question may have a complex answer, it doesn’t. Expanding an app to international markets successfully includes a set of straightforward, time-tested steps. While following these steps won’t guarantee you’ll be successful, doing so will at least make it more likely that you will be.

Conduct Research

If you work in mobile app development, you probably guessed that research is one of the keys to success with international expansion. Not every app is ripe for international expansion based on a given app’s appeal to a limited number of demographic groups alone. If you’re unsure what that means, consider the likelihood of Tinder succeeding in Saudi Arabia to get a better understanding.

Making things even more difficult are the barriers to success that exist in some locations. India is experiencing rapid growth in homegrown mobile apps thanks to its ever-growing IT industry, for example. Brazil’s Lei do Bem law gives local apps a distinct advantage over foreign competitors by providing a tax exemption to smartphone makers that have homegrown apps pre-embedded on their devices.

Researching the regions you’re thinking about expanding into isn’t enough. You must also investigate the platforms that are available for you to launch your app from, each area’s technical capabilities, and the cost and speed of mobile data in local markets.

If you think you can take the things just mentioned for granted, think again. If you created an app for iPhone users, you may be eager to expand into the world’s emerging markets. No matter how excited you are, however, your app will have difficulty finding traction because Android is the top smartphone operating system in places like Indonesia and other emerging markets.

In addition to researching the things discussed above, you must also learn how people in the markets you’re going to expand into pay for things online. While consumers in America and Europe may use credit or debit cards most frequently, residents in other countries like India may prefer to pay for apps with cash. You’ll need to enable your app to support the payment methods that are preferred in each area you plan to expand into.

Localize Your App

More than 70 percent of consumers in certain countries, which include Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Spain and Turkey, claim they’re more likely to buy something when information is provided in their native language. That figure alone should underscore the importance of localizing your app to suit every market you plan to enter.

It’s important to note that the same language isn’t always spoken throughout a given region or country. India is a prime example of a multilingual country that would require you to ensure your app supports all the different languages spoken there.

To localize your app meaningfully, it’s not enough to translate everything into a given language and call it a day. You also have to localize your app’s design, user interface, metadata, user experience and possibly even the name of your app.

Build Credibility and Trust with Local Partnerships

While you may know your app will enhance the lives of people in every market you’re going to compete in, potential users won’t until they try your app. Even if your app spread across your home country like wildfire, it doesn’t mean people in other locations have even heard of your creation. Being unfamiliar with your app in particular and your brand in general may make some potential users hesitant to download and use your app.

To overcome resistance to your entry in a new market, you should create partnerships with local brands that have already built awareness and established credibility with consumers in the area. Doing this will enable you to build trust and establish your own credibility faster than you could probably do on your own.

If you’re skeptical of the benefits of partnering with local brands, you can look at some big brands that have had success with this tactic. LinkedIn teamed up with Tencent when the website entered the market in China, for example. When expanding into India, Airbnb partnered with the Times Group to instill trust in its app.

Test Your App

Before you roll out your app to an entire country, consider testing it in limited areas first. With some simple A/B testing, you can make sure your app is tailored sufficiently to appeal to a larger foreign audience. If further localization needs to be done, you can take care of it before you launch your app nationwide.

Contact Sunlight Media

As a Los Angeles-based app development company, we know that many businesses struggle to find an organization that has the bandwidth to expand their apps to global markets. Now that you’ve found Sunlight Media, your struggles are over.

We offer a full suite of mobile app development services and we’re well-positioned to expand your app into new global marketplaces. To learn more about our proven capabilities, contact Sunlight Media today.

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