The biggest opportunity to grow your app’s user base may lie outside your home country, hence, establishing an international presence for your mobile app may help you maximize your app’s chances of success. Nowadays, digital businesses have a high chance of going global, and there are many examples of successful app globalization, so maybe it’s time for you to give it a try?
For the transition from local to global to run smoothly, you need a strategy. To provide the full picture of the steps to undertake before you move forward with your globalization plan, we spoke with our team members Naoki Kobayashi, VP of Asia, Kim Carlson, VP of Sales - U.S. & EMEA, as well as with our partners from MobilityWare, Social Point, and me2zen.
Let's dive into several key points you need to consider.
- Setting Goals and KPIs
- Planning Budgets
- Machine Learning Models and Data
- Creative Strategies
- Creative Checklist
Setting Goals and KPIs
The success of your app marketing strategy should be tied to key performance indicators (KPIs). Effective scaling requires a clear set of goals per region. Before you dive into the world of globalization, figure outwhat your overall objectives are. Mobile app developers generally want three things: more downloads, more revenue, continued user engagement. To measure these goals, you will need to measure the following KPIs:
- Cost per Install (CPI)
- Cost per Mille (CPM)
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- Conversion Rate (CR)
- Retention Rate (RR) and Churn
- Return on Investment (ROI)
The benchmark for these KPIs will be different per region, so it’s important to configure your analytics, do research, and set the right expectations per each market.
Once you have defined your KPIs, the next logical step is to plan your budgets. It is smart to start with a lower budget, enough for your media partner to complete the learning phase, and increase the budget allocation once you know what works. Making prudent financial decisions is even more important when you are dealing with a small level of capital, so let your media partner guide you in terms of timing of the test and make sure to follow the reporting on the ability of the campaign to deliver results.
Machine Learning Models and Data
Globalization requires careful selection of your media partners. Having a demand-side platform (DSP) partner with global reach ensures campaign scalability. Look for DSPs who own global data centers and have strategic partnerships with the large exchanges, as well as local exchanges, to ensure the coverage of different ad formats.
Another factor that differentiates a great media partner is their focus on building predictive models and their ability to identify which data is valuable for training machine learning models. Look for a partner that offers custom machine learning algorithms trained on down-funnel KPIs that optimize for events such as registration, sale, and purchase.
Your ad creative is the representation of your brand and the backbone of your mobile advertising campaign. A carefully planned creative strategy may be your winning card in your journey to globalization.
Use your data to inform your ads and run creatives targeted to a specific audience. Localize your ad creatives to adapt to different markets. Past performance of Aarki’s numerous global campaigns has shown that most localized ads perform better than standard non-translated ads.
To help you tap into new territories, we have created a checklist that is sure to boost your creative ads.
1. Mind the culture, not mere translations
Know the region you are entering and be authentic to it in your ad creative. Considering the specifications and the preferences of the market is a good step towards resonating with global audiences. We sat down with our creative specialists in Japan and Korea to understand some of the design trends we are seeing in their local markets.
According to our Senior Creative Specialist Chew YanQiao, focus on the typography and color and design elements while localizing in Japan.
Typography is an important factor when localizing ads in Japan. Japanese people love text copy and it helps convey a message or story. Focus on keywords that relate to your audience.
Based on the assets provided by the advertiser, we analyze and stylize the colors and design to reach a balance of attracting users while not losing the essence of the brand.
In terms of design trends, Japan closely follows US trends, but with a twist. Its unique language, traditions, lifestyle and culture bring a distinct vibe. Ads tend to combine loud and bold concepts, expanding on the idea to make it as extreme as possible to capture the audience’s attention. The focus is on keeping creative relatable to create a strong connection, embracing the unique charm of Japan.
- South Korea
South Koreans like to keep it local, preferring apps in their own language. Most users opt for large-screen devices, which helps explain why video is more popular than in other regions. This is a great opportunity for marketers, as video creatives are great for showcasing how the app works and highlighting its best features while enhancing the user experience.
Our Senior Creative Specialist in Korea, JunHyung Hong agrees with Yan regarding the most important design factors for advertising your app in Korea. Per JunHyung, it totally depends on the concept of the app but simple design and typography is best for attracting the audience.
In Korea, users are influenced by all the creative elements of the mobile ad, whereas Western audiences are more focused on the call to action and product advertised. Korean mobile ads are influenced by all the design elements— fonts, colors, transitions, and effects—which have a great impact on the engagement of the audience. These design elements establish the value of the mobile app and whether it should be trusted.
As for the trends, Korean design is based on simplicity, expressed in typography, composition, and color pattern.
2. Separate texts from images
Embedding texts into images might be convenient in production, but it will cause delays and lead to extra cost when llocalizing your app. Therefore, make sure you separate texts from images wherever possible. This makes it easy to translate your copy and even use custom fonts for specific languages. Interested?
3. Leverage custom fonts
While advertising your app in the global market, use custom fonts to create more space for your message, and to add impact.
We at Aarki believe that brands must build connections through authentic stories, signature innovations, and inspiring experiences that are rich, powerful, and lasting. With this in mind, we have built a creative suite that allows us to upload your custom font file and write your copy as we design your ad, just like we would with a standard font. The main benefits of custom fonts are the small creative size, which requires less production time and gives you more space to enhance your ad creative.
Custom fonts support your brand’s character and are an integral part of the brand’s personality.
4. Mind the space
In today's hyper-connected world, we exchange more words than ever, making it critical that your words stand out. This refers both to your app content as well as to your advertising copy.
Different languages require different amounts of space in the design. This is because it takes more (or less) words in specific languages to communicate the same statement. For example, translating from English into languages such as Spanish or French can result in 20-25% expansion. German translation may even expand as much as 35%. Whereas Chinese, Korean, or Japanese will usually contract. So, while inputting the translated texts, you may need more space or, on the other hand, end up with blank spaces in the design. To avoid this, make sure that the design of your app considers the future possibilities of accommodating different types of texts: right-to-left language content (Arabic, Hebrew) and even vertical content (Japanese).
5. Avoid hard coding texts, especially currency, time, and date formats
Localization is not a mere translation, so if you need to localize your app in the future, you should avoid hard coding functions like currency, time, and dates from the very beginning of the app's development. The world is wildly inconsistent regarding time and date formats. Some countries put the month first, and others put the day first. Some use a 24-hour format, while some use 12-hour splits. Some use AM and PM, and others do not. Currency varies too. Have you noticed how many types of dollars exist? Let us help - more than 20!
Now that you have the creative checklist for globalizing your mobile app, lets discuss the advertising strategies you can use to promote your app globally.
6. Leverage one or more of the below strategies
- Design promo-based ad creatives
- Show sales promotions, deals, and offers.
- Promote the benefits/rewards of your app
- Feature gift vouchers, coins, or exclusive deals to first-time users of loyal app users.
- Feature testimonials
- Highlight testimonials from satisfied buyers that affirm the value of your product or service
- Exploit the benefit of instructional/tutorial creative ads
- Show how easy it is to use your product or service
- Demonstrate the app features
- Highlight unique and best-selling features
Creative optimization should be a focal point for your campaign planning, irrespective of the region you are entering. Your A/B testing should not only focus on broad differences. Sometimes changing small details like background elements, the color of the call to action (CTA) or a word in the copy can be enough to grab the attention of your app users. Moreover, you can test multiple variants of ad elements to determine the most effective combination for a single ad.
Transparency in reporting gives the advertisers and the media partner the ability to drill down on performance data and optimize on a granular level. When entering new markets, work with a partner who has the right reporting tools to make sure that optimizations are guided by valuable performance data.
For Android app advertisers and iOS app advertisers whose users share IDFA, the reporting should be at the impression level. Ad placements, the audiences reached, and the return on ad spend should all be visible to the advertiser. The campaign data and the app events that are attributed to the campaign should be easily viewed on reporting dashboards and passed via APIs to reporting tools that enable the advertiser to have end-to-end performance visibility.
There are several limitations in reporting after the release of iOS 14.5 and the launch of the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework for users who opt-out IDFA, however, this can be mitigated by working with a media partner who will ensure transparent reporting by integrating with all major MMPs.
Feeling more informed about your next steps towards globalization? Give it a try and let us know your feedback. Shoot us a message in case of questions.