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2020 Mobile App Engagement Benchmark Report

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Mobile Marketing

Why Your App Should Consider a Global Audience

Guest Blogger  //  December 8, 2015  //  4 min read

When developing an app or similar mobile service, it can be tempting to only market it to the people in your home country. It’s often cheaper and generally requires less planning to market to consumers who live in a country you already know well.

However, sometimes marketing to a relatively small pool of consumers can be short-sighted, and could severely limit your prospects of being maximally successful. This post digs into why considering a global audience might be the solution to your app’s growth.

Internet Use Has Grown Rapidly

Today, it’s difficult for many people to recall times when they did not use the Internet every day, but there are still some places in the world where it is hard to gain Internet access. With that in mind, your first thought might be to only focus on countries who have Internet access fully dialed-in. However, keep a future-oriented mindset and consider rapid Internet adoption an indicator that even if a country lacks consistent access now, it may not be true for too long.

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Image source

To put things in perspective, consider that the number of people connected to the Internet has risen sharply in a very short period of time. Just 10 years ago, only 1% of the world’s population had Internet access, and now about 46% have access. Furthermore, between the years 1999 and 2013, the number of people using the Internet around the world increased tenfold.

China has more Internet users than any other country, and usage rates there grew by 4% from just 2014 to 2015. Furthermore, the number of Internet users is skyrocketing in African countries: Zimbabwe, Angola, and Uganda collectively make up just 0.47% of the total Internet users in the world, but the user rate has gone up by 17% in each place in a year.

Apps That Have the Global Market in Mind

The statistics above give hard evidence it’s useful to market your app globally. However, if you’re still unsure how to go about doing it, take inspiration from some companies that have already succeeded with that goal.

The accommodation app Airbnb is a great example of an app developed with the global community in mind. It’s available in over 25 languages, with others being added frequently. To keep pace with the growing and multilingual user base, Airbnb uses both in-house translators and crowdsourced translations. Also, it specifically makes media clips catered for people in particular markets that are using the app to look for accommodations.

Additionally, an app called Handy facilitates booking handyman service and housecleaning calls in over 20 cities throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. This summer, the company behind the app celebrated its third birthday and one-millionth booking. Initially called Handybook, the app uses geolocation services to detect where a person lives and then allows that individual to indicate the number of rooms in his or her home or the type of help needed. The app then generates prices for the requested assistance. Like many startups, Handy hasn’t had a hassle-free history. However, it’s impressive the app’s usage base has already stretched to three countries in the same number of years.

Getting Your App Company Ready to Go Global

Making the decision to create apps for a global market should not be something that happens quickly or without carefully weighing the pros and cons. However, once you’ve chosen to give it a go, there are several things that can be done to build a foundation for success.

One clear tip is to pay attention to pieces within your app that may not translate smoothly across other markets, especially in terms of the wording of your content. At best, failing to communicate across different dialects might only cause confusion, but in the worst-case scenario, you might actually generate offense. Requiring developers and marketers to go through cultural awareness training could be helpful to avoid these situations. Take it from a former American president who accidently turned an image typically representing “peace” into the an obscene gesture; not all societal norms always translate.

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Image source

Additionally, invest time and money into doing research that’ll help you discover how people in your potential markets use similar apps, or apps in general. Conducting surveys among a theoretical user base may determine there’s not as great a need for a certain mobile service as you thought, or may reveal the market is primed for what you can offer.

Final thoughts

While developing an app for a global audience is not a quick or straightforward process, it’s certainly worth your time. Although it’s hard to say for sure what the future holds for Internet users, it does not seem likely the online realm will lose its significance anytime soon.

Author bio:Kayla Matthews is a blogger who writes about technology, apps and gadgets. You can read more posts by Kayla at ProductivityBytes.

About Guest Blogger

This article was written by one of our awesome guest bloggers. We're lucky to have these community members to share their knowledge with our mobile community.
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