AppUp Elements 2011 – why you should localise your app

You’ve built your app. You’ve loaded it to the Intel AppUp Center. You’re starting to see a few sales but you’re not really making any money. What can you do to secure more downloads?

Stefan Englet, European developer program manager at Intel, spoke at AppUp Elements 2011 on one of the things developers can do to increase their potential market and monetise their app more effectively: localisation.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the top 50 apps on the AppUp Center get 50% of the total revenue through the store. The top 1000 apps get 98% of the revenue. The wealth is not being shared – great for the top few but not for anyone else. The need to find ways to sell to more users is great, but why should localisation, rather than better marketing or better quality apps, be the route to achieving this?

The reason is in the numbers: 52 percent of AppUp Center consumers speak English as a first language. This is significantly more than any other language
and yet by only building apps in English, developers are cutting out half of their potential market. The total breakdown for the AppUp Center installed base runs as follows:

English – 52%
Spanish – 13%
French – 12%
German – 10%
Italian – 7%

Some apps need only change language in order to localise – Englet used the example of My Little Artist, a drawing app by Dmitri Rizshkov which supports English, German, French, Spanish and Russian.

Other apps need more effort to localise, such as Lugdulo’V by Corentin Chary, an app for finding bicycle rentals in the local area. To extend this app to new audiences has required more extensive modification – new maps and information for different cities around the world. Once updated for new regions, however, the app is instantly useful to people in those locations.

It would be good to understand what the above developers achieved in terms of additional downloads from those regions but unfortunately this wasn’t part of the session.

Given the potential market increase with localisation and the fact that Intel has now localised the AppUp Center and developer program, the company is offering developers some support in getting their apps viewed by non-English language consumers. Support offered includes:

- Validation of localised-only apps – the AppUp Center used to require English language meta data but this is no longer the case
– Support for entering new markets – advice about localisation
– Localisation tools for developers

Certainly something for mobile coders to think about but some case studies showing increases in downloads might help convince developers that it’s worthwhile putting time and effort into localising their apps.

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