As you may know, 2014 was the tipping point for mobile usage as it overtook fixed internet access. So it’s no longer a case of asking whether mobile marketing is important, the question is how do you make the most of it?
Almost 3 billion people, 40% of the world’s population, are using the internet, and the latest estimates are that 80% of these own a smartphone.
But are you maximising the potential audience for your apps?
Quick smartphone statistics:
- In the USA, 58% of adults use a smartphone (source)
- China has over 700 million smartphone users (source)
- 3 billion smartphones were shipped out in 2014 (source)
All developed countries have widespread smartphone usage, and Mozilla is even working to get smartphones into undeveloped countries, where penetration is already relatively impressive – around 1 in 3 people. We’re approaching a time where smartphones will be able to connect everyone in the world.
With such expansive growth comes opportunity. Putting out an app for your UK audience to gauge interest is a good start – but beyond that, you should be optimising for all users, countries, and devices to expand your reach as far as possible.
The great thing is – It’s actually not that difficult to do.
Assuming you have an app developed, below is all you need to do to put your creativity into the scope of a global audience.
The basics: Make yourself seen
Searchers on the app store in China aren’t using the same characters that we in the UK are. You have to adapt to the different alphabets for the following attributes:
- Search keywords
- App title
- App description
- Change log
Make sure that every element in your listing is relevant to the country and culture that you are optimising for. The same app description that gets UK users to download might fly right over the heads of a Chinese audience if not translated properly – this will lead to less-than-optimal results.
Now, searchers will be able to find you if you optimise correctly. That’s the easy part. Next is making sure that the app is right for them.
Translate all of the following
Thankfully for business owners, the app store follows a very rigid structure. There are only so many fields that you need to change outside of the core text that makes your app function and the app listing fields discussed above.
Here they are:
- Push notifications – a powerful tool if used correctly… annoying, confusing and likely to make the user uninstall if not
- Initial launch guidelines – make sure that your user can understand how to operate your app from the very first install
- Help tips – let the user understand what he needs to do if they get confused along the way
Make sure that your translations are spot on and, we may be biased, but there is no app for that!
The issue with apps is that there isn’t a lot of room on the screen of a phone, so the commands, directions, and info tends to be condensed and short. A mistake on a word or phrase means that an entire part of your app is confusing or even unusable.
Adapting development to a country’s culture
Looking past your app functions, the elements within each country-specific app have to be consistent with what will entertain and captivate that country’s audience. In America, a repetition game based on flipping hamburgers might resonate, but in China, it could be seen as a cheap shot at stereotypical American culture because it’s so un-relatable.
That’s just a clear-cut example – making your app relatable can be a lot more subtle. Immerse yourself in the culture and learn how your competitors in your market adapt to that culture and how they make their apps speak to the buying public and keep them interested. Don’t be a complete follower… but remember, you’re jumping from one country to another – you don’t have to reinvent the wheel in the country you’ve just moved into.
Developing for all devices
Not releasing your app on certain platforms is leaving a large percentage of users unserved and you may find more opportunities and less competitive pressure on a different platform.
And if people really do want your app, you won’t be thanked for leaving out a large percentage of any country. Think of how frustrating that is when it happens to you!
Cross-platform development software such as Xamarin can make this relatively painless if your app is simple. Owners of more complex apps may have to hire help to get the app working everywhere, but the reward of appealing to a brand new user base with just a bit of tweaking is enormous.
The mobile revolution is easy to capitalise on
Look anywhere and you’ll only see mobile usage and app download numbers skyrocketing – in fact, according to comScore, mobile users passed desktop users in 2014.
Getting to desktop users everywhere is a challenge – many different search engines, social networks, and other platforms need to be taken into account. Getting to mobile users everywhere is a lot easier – everyone is using the same essential platforms and getting apps from the same sources.
Wedge your foot in the door by optimising your app listings immediately, and then after that, create variations of your app for different countries and blow the door wide open. As long as you’re on all of the different platforms as well, you have complete exposure to the global mobile market and everyone will be able to relate to you.
Here at Bubbles Translation Services, we help you take domestic apps and catapult them into the international marketplace. Get in touch today to learn how we can help with your global app exposure.