5 Strategies for Mobile App Promotion in International Markets

Dimitris Glezos
February 11, 2016
7 min read

Many developers create innovative mobile apps that have near-universal appeal but find themselves unsure of how to reach users in global markets. The first thing to know is that mobile app promotion in a locale outside of your home country will require you to devote of research and time to determine target personas and markets, as well as which languages to translate to. We suggest looking at all the data you’ve collected about your app or your competitors to help with the decision making process.

Today’s post focuses on the strategies of mobile app promotion that you can utilize after you’ve laid the groundwork for international mobile app expansion.

1. Optimize your app store descriptions

It seems like a no-brainer, but one of the first steps of global mobile app promotion is to optimize your listing in the app store, whether that’s Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Elements to consider for app store localization include:

  • Title – Your app’s title may stay fairly similar in your source language and in your target language(s) because this is where your brand name is usually mentioned. Do pay careful attention to cultural variations (between your source and target content) where certain verbiage may prevent or even offend certain groups from downloading your app.
  • Description – Simply translating your app store description from your source to your target language(s) may not be enough! Because the value of your app may be different for users in other countries, focus on your target personas, their cultural buying habits, and what they’re looking for when writing new descriptions. Doing so can make your product stand out among competitors and increase overall app store engagement.
  • Keywords – Consider consulting with native speakers when determining your keywords (and even writing your title and description) to make sure that your keywords are appropriate for your target users. In some cases, the literal translation of keywords from one language to another does not have the same meaning and can negatively affect your app’s global adoption rate.
  • Screenshots and videos – Any text, including text within product screenshots or videos, needs to be localized for your target market. This will help to increase product understanding and engagement, and thus, downloads.

Optimizing your app store descriptions can also be a great way to test the appeal of your mobile app among international audiences. Keep in mind that even though you may not have a fully localized mobile app, localizing your app description makes it easier for multilingual audiences to find your app in the app store because users generally type search terms in their native language. This can help you identify which multilingual audiences will truly engage with your app.

Google Play is unavailable in China, so app developers who want to market their apps in the country turn to Baidu which has recently surpassed Apple to become the world’s second-largest app distributor. And with China accounting for 59% of all app downloads made last year (in contrast to the United States which only accounted for 8%) it’s extremely important to leverage the persona and target locale research mentioned above when determining the best online stores for mobile app promotion.

2. Create a marketing website to promote your mobile app

While you may be focused on developing your app and pushing updates regularly, don’t forget to create a marketing website for your app. This type of website gives you the ability to describe your app and its benefits without the limitations that app stores place in terms of characters and keywords. It’s a great way to promote your mobile app while allowing customers to find your app through other channels, most notably search, when the right marketing tactics and promotional campaigns are used (we’ll talk about some traditional and digital marketing tactics in the section below). And your website doesn’t have to be complex. Many apps have a simple one-page website with a few main keywords and a large CTA button that prompts the user to download.

Depending on the results of your initial research about the best languages and countries to concentrate your mobile app promotion efforts in, you may also consider localizing your mobile app’s website. This is an option for developers who aren’t ready for full product localization but want to test interaction and engagement from users in other countries. Key metrics for measurement can include website traffic (homepage and landing page hits) or conversion rates via your site’s download button.

3. Flood all channels, on and offline

Thanks to social media, reaching users no matter where they live is as easy as posting a few short sentences to Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram. Utilizing paid ads in these channels can also give you enhanced visibility and even more control as you can select which demographics you want your ad to be shown to. Running press releases about your mobile app, guest blogging, and reaching out to influencers to review your app are also great ways to drive additional attention.

4. Establish a feedback loop early

When you launch an app and make it accessible to users around the world, establish a feedback loop as early as possible where global users can review your app and provide feedback. A few simple ways to increase reviews for your app include:

  • Triggering in-app review messages – As users explore your app, you can set certain actions to trigger in-app messages that prompt the user to review your app. When the user clicks on the in-app message, he or she will be taken to the appropriate app store to leave their comments. There are a number of plugins that support this type of functionality for iOS and Android apps.
  • Leveraging customer support conversations – If you have a customer service team that interacts with users via email or live chat, share a link at the end of the successful conversations to rate your app. This can be a great way to engage with users as they use your app and receive great help from your team.
  • Incentivising users – While Apple has been removing apps that incent users to leave reviews through in-app credits, there are other ways to incent users to provide reviews outside of the app. For instance, creating a contest on social media or through your blog that asks users to share a great story about your app may entice a review. At the very least, such promotions give you higher visibility in social channels.

Beta testing your mobile app among new multilingual users will also give you a great opportunity to get some unbiased feedback so you can launch new updates that improve the overall user experience. In some app stores, newly released versions of apps move back to the top of the “what’s new” section, so by leveraging customer feedback and making your product better, you’re also increasing visibility in the distribution channel that you’re using.

5. Don’t forget about CX and retention

Generally speaking, the customer experience of your app is critical to its success; your app should be easy to use from the first seconds a user interacts with it, have a clean UI, and offer value to the user. Yet, building a great, useful mobile app is only half the battle when it comes to getting more and more users interested in it.

As a developer or app owner, consider customer experience as a way to retain users, to keep them coming back for new information and looking forward to new updates. These individuals will become the voice of your app, encouraging friends, family, and other users in their community to use your app. In this respect, mobile app promotion doesn’t stop when an individual becomes a user, but when they inspire others to use or purchase your app.

With the proper planning, mobile app promotion can be very effective. If you’re interested in learning more about app localization check the The Complete Guide to Mobile App Localization or download Localization 101: The Beginner’s Guide to Software Localization.

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Dimitris Glezos
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