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Build for the next billion users

The pace of smartphone growth around the world is unprecedented, helping billions of new users come online for the first time. However, a majority of users in these markets face constraints not commonly seen in developed markets, such as: limited access to data connections and high costs when they are available, devices with reduced memory and smaller screen sizes, and prepaid accounts topped up as means permit. To address the needs of these users, apps need to be aligned closely with local commerce, culture, and language — more so than might be necessary when targeting developed markets.

10 tips to build an app for billions of users

Why it works

The next billion users offer a huge opportunity to grow your brand, apps, and user community, and as their economies grow they’ll become a valuable part of your business.

Best practices

  • Optimize for less powerful phones; they often have smaller screens, 512MB of internal memory or less, and dual or triple SIMs.
  • Ensure your app works well on slow and intermittent connections and can work offline when there is no connection.
  • Minimize the size of your APK so that it can be downloaded quickly and consider using multiple APKs to optimize APK size.
  • Optimize and minimize online data refreshes in your app. Allow data to be cached in advance over Wi-Fi when possible.
  • Avoid background services where possible.
  • Allow the user to control the type of data connection used, for example by syncing only over Wi-Fi.
  • Understand and support local economic and business ecosystems, such as currency, pricing norms, and payment systems, and localize your listing and APK to the relevant languages.
  • Show locally relevant content with an appropriate tone and language.
  • Consider localized pricing to reflect local purchasing behavior.
  • Respect socio-cultural expectations in content and UI.
  • Consider running app install ads to grow a valuable audience in that market, once you’ve localized and optimized your app for a country.

Examples

Get started

Building for Billions
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