Why In-Language Apps Are Important for Mobile Advertising

There are six billion mobile phones in the world today, according to Emerging Markets Mobile Attitudes, a report from Upstream. Of these, more than three quarters are located in the developing world, where growth is set to skyrocket, especially among smartphones. Let us state that another way — more than 75% of all mobile phones are not located in the West. They’re located in emerging markets, where of course, the top languages are not the usual suspects: French, Italian, German, Spanish, or English. Mobile app translation is a new requirement for today’s global advertisers.

Millions of New Mobile App Customers

By 2017, there will be 1.6 billion new mobile connections, according to the analyst firm Ovum, with Africa projected to be the fastest-growing region. In the next three years, 175 million new mobile users will be added in sub-Saharan Africa alone, per a report from Deloitte.

Nearly half of respondents to the Upstream survey stated that they would pay between $100 and $350 for a phone, and 15% said they would pay more than $450. This goes to show that even though phones are expensive, particularly when compared to the average income for individuals in emerging markets, people are willing to make significant investments in them. However, nearly a third (29%) said they would not pay more than $100, so cost remains an important consideration for many.

Favorite Brands Vary by Region

Interestingly, while Apple is extremely popular as a smartphone brand in the West, its appeal is not nearly as strong in emerging markets. Samsung is the most sought after brand (32%), followed by Nokia (22%), with Apple coming in third (21%). The rankings change quite a bit from one country and region to the next. For example, Nokia is the market leader in Nigeria, while Samsung is the market leader in Saudi Arabia.

Why does all this matter? Two words: mobile advertising.

Emerging Markets Take Over

By 2014, Ad Age projects that advertising spend in emerging markets, including mobile advertising, will account for one third of global spending. This means that emerging markets will soon overtake the U.S, which is currently the biggest market. BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) alone will make up nearly half of global ad spending by 2017.

While people in the West are bombarded with advertising and choose to ignore most of it, this new crop of consumers in emerging markets is not yet as jaded. The study found that 68% of people in emerging markets are open to receiving promotions from brands as frequently as once a week. SMS marketing is flagged as the most friendly advertising format for emerging markets.

In-Language Apps for Global Reach

What will it take to reach the world’s newest mobile consumers, who seem to represent greater opportunity for advertisers? Translated apps will obviously play an essential part.

For more on this topic, check out the infographic below, courtesy of IDC and IDG Global Solutions.

Smartling In-Language Apps