How to take your app global

A guide to localizing your app for valuable new international audiences

1 Overview

The challenge

With just a few clicks, you can publish an app to Google Play and access a global audience of more than 1 billion active users. So how can you narrow down the most profitable markets to target?

Your aim

To pinpoint and get to know the right markets, localize accordingly, and maximize your app’s chances of success.

How to go about it

Market Finder helps you decide which are the best markets for your app through analyzing data such as mobile penetration, mobile sales, as well as Android and iOS usage. It’s then time for thorough research to understand the audiences in these markets and take their preferences and expectations into account to make your app offering irresistible.

2 Compile a shortlist of countries

In addition to the countries suggested by Market Finder, you can also:

  • Look at your app's installs, user feedback, and social media to find markets where there may be demand.

  • Check the Optimization Tips in the Google Play Console to see if there are countries where it’s already gaining popularity.

3 Research your markets thoroughly

Make sure you have a good understanding of any market you want to enter. Market Finder has lots of in-depth metrics to share on your target countries. Also check the ‘Data and insights for key countries’ section of The Going Global Playbook. Google Search and many free and paid-for third-party tools can help too. Also, consider reaching out to your community and sound out anyone living in the markets you are researching.

4 Understand your local user

Users want a personalized experience, and when you offer a localized app with translated text and localized graphics, they engage at a much deeper level.

  • What are the different user behaviours in each market?

  • Where and how are users accomplishing their goals and tasks with their devices? Their behaviour likely differs when engaging with social media, shopping, communicating, search, productivity, utilities, banking, entertainment, and gaming. Market Finder can give you key global insights into areas such as online purchase behaviours, mobile sales, and use of smartphones in consumer purchases.

  • How does your app fit into this scenario?

5 Localize your app accordingly

  • Languages and dialects. Does the country speak more than one language?

  • Translate your app, store listing and other resources. Use the app translation service from the Google Play Console, Android Studio or hire the services of a local translator.

  • Design for local culture. Your app's graphics, images, colours, style, tone of voice, functionality and payment methods all need to be designed to feel right to that local audience. For games, consider how game characters or tools might be adjusted to appeal to local audiences. It's important to ensure nothing could be seen as culturally insensitive.

  • Use a single set of flexible layouts with alternative layouts, where needed. Depending on your target countries, for instance, design to support right-to-left text and use the correct (system-provided) formats for dates, times, numbers and currencies.

  • Optimize your app for low- and no-bandwidth connectivity and low-cost devices.

  • Price to local conditions. When you enter the price of your app, in-app product or subscription in the Google Play Console, it automatically converts your price to the local currency, adds tax (in select countries) and applies locally relevant pricing patterns. You can override these if you want to. Consider the:

    • Local cost of living
    • Consumer purchasing power
    • Competition
    • Likely demand for your app

Find out more about localizing your app

6 Promote your apps

App campaigns streamline the whole business of promoting your Android or iOS apps in the country or countries of your choice, making it easy to promote across Google’s top properties, including Search, Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. All you need to do is provide text, a starting bid and budget, and let us know the languages and locations for your ads. Our systems will test different combinations and show ads that are performing the best more often, with no extra work needed from you.

Find out more in the Going Global Playbook