Wondering how to grow your mobile business? Concentrating on existing channel optimization or conversion funnel optimization for the same old countries & languages? Why not have a think about focusing on new territories….

Working with many large international leading brands such as Deliveroo & up-and-coming global unicorns such as Over; ConsultMyApp (CMA) has built an incredible repository of knowledge and expertise in the area of mobile growth. Maintaining focus on the ‘holy trinity’ of Paid-media, ASO & CRM is a necessity to support this growth, but one often overlooked area is that of international expansion & localization.

Although your app may be technically available in non-English speaking countries, how do you think people will react in Germany to an English themed set of screenshots & description? Or people in China with an app themed for a Western audience with English paid-media adverts? The answer is not very well, and your app visibility, conversion rate and subsequent revenues will undoubtedly be well below where they should be. However, this doesn’t mean the opportunity isn’t there for your app to generate a considerable volume of highly engaged & monetized users. 

The key to cracking international expansion is having an international team, made up of people actually from the countries in question. Employing someone that grew up in New York and learnt to speak French isn’t the same as having someone who was born and brought up in the heart of Paris. They have been exposed to the nuances of French culture that only someone with that local upbringing can acquire. That’s the key to getting it right, and whether you recruit these people in-house or work with a mobile marketing agency such as CMA to achieve this – it really has to be at the heart of driving meaningful global revenue expansion.

What’s the opportunity if I expand and localize for international markets?

A very good question and it, of course, depends on your industry/genre and your target demographic. However, there are some commonly under-exploited territories such as Thailand, India, China (from a Western perspective), Russia and Africa which have significant economies & smartphone penetration. These underdeveloped areas could generate app revenues that easily rival most European countries and even the US in some cases.

For example, CMA recently worked with a US-based subscription business who had tremendous international appeal. They were technically available to download across the globe but hadn’t invested any time in localizing the store listing and app content. This client hadn’t considered running paid-media campaigns outside the US and a couple of other English speaking territories. 

Running their app against our analytical models (localized for over 30 non-English speaking countries, more than 80 industries and all major app stores), we could immediately see where the largest opportunities lay – Thailand was evidently a large underperformer, with significant revenue left on the table. 

After an intensive re-work of the Thai listing by our App Store Optimization team, and the curation of localized Apple Search Ads & creative sets, we saw some incredible results. Thanks to the ASO work, CMA improved the view->install conversion rate by 16%, and the number of organic impressions by over 70% within a week! Whilst the install->subscription conversion rate was lower than had been seen in the US, as the Thai market was largely greenfield, the CPI from the ASA campaigns was substantially lower, and along with the organic ASO improvements, in Thailand the client is now achieving the lowest CPA (at volume), and shortest payback window of any territory globally. 

These results will be further improved with upcoming content localization and localized CRM deployment. So, it goes to show one of the first international territories CMA targeted has already started to outperform the crowded US market in terms of efficient scalable acquisition. 

Some of the more commonly overlooked territories

Whilst the largest opportunities for your specific title(s) will only become apparent once you have completed the sort of analytical exercise described in the section above. There are some common territories that, at the very least, should warrant further inspection due to their current immaturity (but strong economies). Such places include India, France, Brazil, Germany & many areas of Asia (as demonstrated in the charts below), which not only have high volumes of smartphone users but also healthy economies.

Chart showing Top 20 countries by number of smartphone users

Source: NewZoo

A list forecasting the World’s largest economies (measured by GDP) over the next year

Source: Focus Economics

Cross-referencing the list of leading global economies with the countries that exhibit high volumes of Smartphone adoption, produces attractive regions for investigation & potential expansion. True localization for one or more of these territories may deliver a HUGE positive impact to your app revenue metrics, with substantial ROI on the expansion and localization effort.

Focusing on China, it is worth noting there massively fragmented app store ecosystem on Android. Due to current international tensions, it is likely that European Android devices are also going to be left with a mix of the Play Store and manufacturer app stores. Even Apple is facing challenges from publishers demanding they either reduce the expensive tariffs on their distribution platform or open the devices up to rival stores (and that’s without the possibility of governments intervening under anti-competition fears).

Overlooked app stores, platforms & devices…

Have you considered other less-represented platforms such as Kindle, Apple Watch/TV, or even simply optimizing your iOS app for the iPad? These may not be for everyone, but the cost of porting an Android release across to Kindle or optimizing an iOS app for iPad with some level of ASO on these platforms may be well worth considering. Remember there are 10’s of millions of Kindle devices in the world, hundreds of millions of iPads and 10’s of millions of Apple TV’s (rising thanks to the growth of 4K streaming services). To provide some supporting evidence for this, CMA recently worked with a global travel booking company and quickly recognised the opportunity for a dedicated iPad version. Post-release, the client’s iOS download volumes increased by almost 40% overnight…

In Summary

Experience (and empirical data) tells us time and time again that truly localizing your paid-media campaigns, ASO strategy for new countries, as well as optimizing/porting to new platforms and stores can pay significant dividends. 

In many cases, the effort and cost of doing can produce a far greater ROI than simply spending more money and time on already saturated and highly competitive markets. It’s not easy to do, but then, that’s why there are Mobile-first agencies such as CMA to help you with it ….

To discuss how CMA could help you grow successfully and profitably into new markets, don’t hesitate to reach out via email at growth@consultmyapp.com, or by phone on +44 (0)20 7153 1239, and one of our team would be delighted to talk to you.