Digital content merchants whose services can also be consumed in emerging markets usually notice that after their content becomes available, traffic to the service is significant but metrics related to sign-ups, conversions and loyalty are far below those of Western countries.
The main cause of this is not adapting to local market specifics and using a global approach to user acquisition, monetization and retention. There is no single “emerging markets strategy” that works for all countries, as the same approach and tactics used in Brazil might completely fail for India. But localisation is the key to success, as recently also highlighted by our good partner iflix.
If you see a large amount of users from emerging markets interested in your service but metrics being worse than in your core markets, consider these 10 ideas to improve your results:
- Language. English is likely to be the default language of your service, but your value proposition remains unintelligible to many users if that’s the case; review your user base language preferences from Google Analytics and consider translating your service content and advertising materials for the most popular languages other than English
- Localized content. Besides providing services in a language users can understand, giving them with content that is familiar to them is important to. Recently, the livestreaming record for most concurrent viewers was recently broken in India with cricket, which on a global level can be considered a niche sport
- Promotional channels. In addition to existing advertising and social media channels, user acquisition in emerging markets can be targeted to locally popular channels, such as WeChat, Line and Kakao; co-marketing partnerships with mobile operators are also an additional way to grow your audience
- Timing of campaigns. Consumers in emerging markets have less expandable income, which means it makes sense to aim campaigns to periods where users are more willing to spend (immediately after paydays, local holidays like Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Diwali etc.)
- Data and device capabilities. Smartphone prices (and as a result, their technical capabilities) and mobile data costs differ significantly across regions; reaching users on low-cost devices with less money for mobile data can be done through creating lighter, less data-heavy versions of your service, on the example of Facebook Lite
- Free alternatives. Piracy remains a significant channel of entertainment, especially in countries where income is lower. It makes sense to think critically about markets with high piracy rates: how realistic is it to compete with free alternatives to your service, and what convenience do you give to the paying users?
- Pricing and packages. Lower disposable income levels in emerging markets mean users have less money to spend at once. While a $9.99 transaction might seem negligible for a US consumer, it’s significant money for someone who lives on $50 per month. If possible, localise your pricing to account for user income and sell content in smaller chunks (for example, daily and weekly packages). In case of carrier billing, you can check out consumer payment behaviour differences from our data map
- Free, freemium or premium? The app economy is dominated by the freemium model. But similarly to the issue with piracy, this model may not justify itself in case of lower income markets - most users might actually be happy to never spend any money if you give away too much of the content for free
- Choice of payment methods. Globally, bank-based payments only account for 31% of all digital gaming transactions. For countries with a low amount of paying users, seek out alternative payment methods that are more available of users: prepaid cards, digital wallets and carrier billing
- Customer communication channels. Similar to using localised promotional channels, your existing customers can also be reached through means other than traditional newsletter marketing and social networks; for example, SMS-based communication can be used for activating passive users and notifying them of ongoing campaigns
Seeing a lack of growth with your digital content in emerging markets and need additional ideas how to increase your sales? Get in touch.