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Data-Driven Product Management: Achieve Global App Growth


16 March, 2020

Sam Makad
Dalibor Stajic
data-driven product management illustration

With over 3.2 billion smartphone users worldwide, the mobile app market has become a highly competitive landscape.

Achieving global adoption of an app doesn’t just happen overnight, but it is within reach. It requires a data-driven localization strategy that accounts for differences in language, search behavior, and a willingness to pivot product positioning (and messaging) to meet the needs of the local audience.

Understanding the nuances of which value propositions of your product or service vs. another will resonate with users.

This can only be reliably gained through data insights and a project roadmap that prepares for the global journey ahead. Let’s get you on track for global app growth with data-driven product management.

Focused Localization Strategy

At a high level, your product plan must include global transformation. The prime requirement to global app growth is referred to as localization (l10n).

It may not have been applicable to you before now. However, increased competition in any market means that your users will demand increased customization. This brings us to the localization strategy.

When referring to mobile devices, your goals will be determined by where the user is located. Whether they live in a bustling city or a rural region, their expectations may be different.

That’s why your data-driven product management strategy should be focused on what will be most impactful for every end-user in all markets you serve.

Here are some examples of how applications are used differently across the globe:

  • ESPN: American football and baseball may be popular in the US, but European users will prefer to follow soccer,

  • Tinder: Japanese users mostly access this app for group outings,

  • Uber: Launch of a new app, Uber Lite, to make the ride-hailing service easier to use in developing countries, such as India, where internet connection is poor and data quite limited,

  • WhatsApp: Unlike India, where WhatsApp is often said to be a way of life, the messenger app is not widely used in the US,

  • LinkedIn: To be able to operate in China, the business network implements censorship.

These illustrations make it clear that customer feedback is impacted by culture as it travels, and that feedback will have a great effect on your global strategy and determine your success in all your markets.

It is important to understand that trust to a foreign customer is equal if not more important to achieve your goals, especially if your company is based in the United States.

Great ways to earn trust are consideration for the different languages spoken (translation), unique user interactions (how they will discover your app, what phrases will they use to solve the challenge your app overcomes, for example), and purchase history.

Adjusting your go-to-market strategy based on culture-focused analytics to your project roadmap will be key to earning that customer trust.

Imperative to earning that trust is by keeping your global strategy in alignment. You can achieve this with the integration of a strong translation management system (TMS) into your ecosystem.

Phrase offers a versatile solution that can adapt to your localization needs and scale with your global growth from the very outset. Designed with the whole team in mind, it brings product managers, developers, designers, and translators together on a single platform to streamline their localization workflows across borders and time zones.

With a strong API and a variety of features, Phrase will enhance greater quality and consistency in your product translations, all while being easy on your budget. A solid TMS is crucial for going global with confidence.

data-driven product management

Globalization Data Variables

Now that you have a strong strategy in place and are managing your translations properly, your globalization strategy will naturally influence you to adjust the key performance indicators (KPI) by market.

The APM (application performance management) and EMM (enterprise mobility management) results will vary as a direct result of the functionality and user experience specific to where your users live, their culture, and the laws they follow.

For example, you may have a higher retention rate in a region where less revenue is collected, or the load time may be slower due to the lack of 5G, but the ratings increase. Measuring progress should be looked at through various lenses.

Go-to-Market Strategy

Tailoring your strategy to global customer behavior is essential. It’s great to keep an agile approach that anticipates your specific global expansion rollout. Customer loyalty depends on trust and the ability to adjust to their changing needs.

The bottom line is that analytic discovery is vital to maximizing your ROI (return on investment). You can protect your budget and have happy customers.

Your big data is managed differently per locale. It is best to have an analytics solution that will allow you to see the issues you should be focusing on as early as possible so you can respond quickly. Capture essential user information that empowers you with key insight to customer requirements and expectations.

UXCam is one such tool that provides the informed analytics required for global data-driven adaptation due to their use of heatmaps and customizable funnels. Heatmaps will lead you to see where and how far your localization strategy will need to be.

Since the experience will differ, a common consideration are the variety of languages where the characters play a role as to how they fit on the screen. For e-commerce, the ability to provide different currency for in-app purchases is required. Feature and content availability is often adjusted from market to market.

When it comes to customizable funnels, your timeline may need to be extended based on the various behavior patterns. Perhaps the stage that you focus on may need to be adjusted. Those tactics will get you one step closer towards a great data-driven product management.

product management

Evolution of the Global User

Global adoption and international success rates evolve over time. Technology trends will be sure to impact your customer behavior based on where and how they access their application and what device they access it on. It would be beneficial to follow these key global trends:

  • Banking: India has moved to a cashless society, and banks are increasing their efforts in Africa for mobile banking access.

  • 5G adoption: Currently, only a limited number of countries have adopted 5G, the international rollout impedes load times.

  • Machine Learning: Predictive text is dependent on the local use of grammar and slang.

  • Artificial Intelligence: VR/AR (virtual and augmented reality) trends and adoption vary significantly from country to country.

  • Wearables: Global wearable market growth is steadily on the rise, with most revenue generated in China, but divergent national legislation and risk of data theft keep the growth rate at a rather moderate level.

Global Precautions

Keep an eye out for potential risks that could have an impact on your bottom line. You don’t want to add to the list of pain points your product team faces on a day-to-day basis. Your product roadmap should anticipate the customer experience as it changes in 2020 and beyond.

  • Local laws: There has been a recent focus on privacy in the last couple of years (GDPR requirements in the EU). Data protection matters to customers now that they have power over their personal information.

  • Content restrictions: Some countries have specific laws pertaining to the features your app provides or some imagery may be considered insulting. Keep this in mind with your icons, screenshots, and store descriptions.

Achieving Worldwide Loyal Customers

Mobile technology is the main source of communication for many global customers and in emerging markets may be their lifeline.

If you hone in on key behavior patterns and adapt your content for your international audience, you can reach your globalization milestones. By positioning your app for global usability through data-driven product management, there are endless opportunities to explore. Aligning your key analytics specific to the locale will give you an edge over the competition.

Be sure to utilize smart tools that allow you the agility to immediately respond to your customers in real-time. Building data-driven product management into your roadmap is a strong methodology for earning many loyal, global customers.

Above all, every user, wherever they may live, will know that you value their loyalty, which is essential for all top-rated applications on a universal level.


Sam Makad
Dalibor Stajic

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