How can mobile app creators keep up with a globalizing economy? The answer requires a little bit of translation.
We all know the Irish lore surrounding rainbows: a leprechaun stashes his pot of gold at the base. The lump sum exists, yet remains inaccessible. Sounds frustrating, right? Well, in the world of mobile apps, recent studies not only indicate that a pot of gold does in fact exist, but also provide the map for how to cash in. Scrawled across the top is the map’s title: Going Native.
Catching Up to Globalization
As the Economist emphasizes, we live in a globalized world. Despite its agile and prescient reputation, the arena of mobile apps has also been slow on the uptake. In a recent study, Smartling surveyed 160 U.S. marketers working for nascent brands about their tactics for targeting multilingual customers and prospects.
This is a confusing insight, especially when you learn that 22% of respondents have a 21-50% foreign customer base and 41% of respondents have a 6-20% foreign customer base. Compare those numbers to the 65% of respondents whose companies spend less than 5% of their budget on reaching local and abroad non-English-speaking customers. Something is wrong here.
Lost in Translation
Before venturing abroad, marketers need to acknowledge the opportunity on their home soil. In the Smartling survey, 65% of the marketers were oblivious to the vast population of Spanish-language speakers in the U.S. Out of the respondents, 35% knew the correct number: 53 million.
Given the earlier numbers, it probably won’t come as a shock that only 10% of the marketing professionals consistently translate their content into Spanish.
Now, let’s look abroad: according to the 2014 Mary Meeker report on Internet trends, the fastest growing populations of Internet users call China, India, Brazil, and Indonesia home. In none of these countries is English the primary language.
The spike in farflung Internet users mirrors the global economy, which no longer orbits around the U.S.: in 2014, 86% of the users of nine of the top ten Internet properties, including Google, Amazon, and Apple, hailed from abroad.
An app in a native language leads to higher download volume and revenue. Distimo, an app tracking company, found that in the week following the debut of a native language app, the translation augmented download volumes by over 128%.
Similarly, the Common Sense Advisory performed a survey of over 3,000 global consumers in ten non-Anglophone countries across Europe, Asia, and South America, according to tcworld. The findings revealed that 75% favor products in their native tongue. Clearly, what's lost in translation is money.
What's the antidote to the mobile app market's lack of global strategy?
Chief Strategy Officer and Founder of the Common Sense Advisory Don DePalma clearly stated, “there should be no question about localizing your website and product information if you want to sell more goods or services to global customers. Localization must be a critical element in your plans to support the user experience and engage customers in a brand dialogue.”
It’s time for mobile apps to recognize the growing global economy by selling locally. Adotas reports how Nataly Kelly, the Vice President of Marketing for Smartling, advises companies working in North America to translate apps into Spanish for the U.S. market and French for the Canadian market.
As for marketers with global traffic, they should analyze their traffic, isolate the most popular countries, and include the languages spoken in those countries.
Overall, Kelly suggests that companies “start small, and be very focused. Lots of marketers start by localizing a mobile app, because it’s a small investment, but very easy to see quick return through increased downloads and customer engagement. Pick a project like this--most mobile apps cost very little to translate--and from there, you can expand into other areas.”
Selling local means a company can claim a fast-growing, emerging market and benefit from retention down the road. Failing to translate an app essentially wraps up the lost revenue with a bow and offers it to competitors.
X Marks the Spot
With a website like AppMakr, app creators can reward themselves with download volume and revenue for free. AppMakr provides the proper tools to lead anyone toward the pot of gold. Easy-to-use technology means we should all be scanning the sky for rainbows, hunting for the cash prize.
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