Are you at the point where you feel that your mobile app is due for global expansion? Most if not all mobile apps aim to have as many users using their app as possible. This eventually means expanding your reach outside your home country. In this article, I would like to talk about some of the details that one should take note of when scaling up your mobile app for a larger, more diverse audience.
Some obvious questions that first come to your mind would be:
- Which country/market is more suitable for your app?
- Is it going to be useful/applicable in the area?
- Are there any existing competitors in that market?
These are questions which requires extensive market research and statistics. Even if these results are positive, are there any other questions/concerns that you should consider? The answer is yes.
Here are some issues to consider while expanding expanding your app's reach outside of your home market.
Localization and Language Barriers
Some of the questions that immediately come up are as follows. Is your app suitable for the new audience (of different age group, gender, geography, etc) to understand? Will language translation help to capture more audience in the new market? Is your app written in a way suitable for translation? What's the cost to translate all parts of your mobile app into local languages? Other than linguistic translation, what other types of localization is needed? Things like numbers, currencies, date formatting are some other things that vary in different locales.
This is a problem every app with a growing audience would eventually have to face -- serving a larger group of users, spread over a larger geography, while maintaining a high quality of service. This would most likely require one to either upgrade to larger servers (so called, "vertical scaling") or to increase the number of servers ("horizontal scaling").
There are a few options for both types of scaling depending on how your infrastructure is already set up. If you are using a cloud service for hosting such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure, vertical scaling can be pretty easy. Just spin up a new, bigger server and discard your older servers. In case you started out with your own physical servers, scaling problems will hit you a bit harder. The solution in this case will probably involve adding more disks/memory or just buying brand new, bigger and better servers.
This handles the increased usage part. The geographically distributed nature of the incoming requests will be a harder challenge. What's the right location for setting up those new servers? Will it provide fast connections that you require to the new audiences? This is also linked to the other concern which we want to highlight.
PacketZoom optimizes the mobile app traffic over mobile and wifi networks. It's no secret that networking infrastructure around the world varies greatly. This results in uneven levels of user experience. As most developers would do, we tend to assume that network would be smooth on the users’ end. In reality, frequent network disconnections and switching between networks (e.g 3G to 2G, LTE to 3G) are common parts of user experience in most parts of the world . What are the solutions to this problem? Ideally the problem will be solved by the mobile carriers around the world investing billions of dollars into their network infrastructure. Can we afford to wait patiently while the carriers make up their minds? Maybe we don't have to.
As a practical solution today, PacketZoom provides an alternative approach for this problem. To make best use of the existing mobile networks, we created a brand new networking stack specifically designed with mobile apps in mind. To get a sense of how this new stack works, check out our How it works page. To get a quick and easy evaluation of how your app can benefit from PacketZoom stack, start here.