Win Subscribers with UX, Localization Testing

You must understand your consumer to successfully deliver products to them. This applies to media subscribers as well, where collecting useful customer data and product feedback to act on ultimately results in higher retention rates.

So, why is it that many media companies search for an easy way out? Using VPNs and spoofing to simulate elements of an in-market launch can’t tell you how a subscriber feels about your product, or why they might renew or abandon their subscription — these workarounds don’t even help you efficiently test your product’s functionality. When you fail to understand a subscriber’s wants, needs, challenges and sensitivities, churn remains high and conversion rates won’t cover the losses.

In short, there are many ways to fail when launching a media subscription service in a new market, and there’s a better way to approach the task. In this blog, we’ll explain why a one-two punch of content localization and in-market user research is the path to success when launching a streaming media product in a new market.

Localizing media content

It’s hard enough to succeed as a media company in today’s competitive landscape. Brands can underachieve or fail for any number of creative or technical reasons. While it’s much more difficult to ensure high-quality content reaches the market, the technical side offers numerous opportunities to succeed or fail — it’s up to you.

When launching in a new or unfamiliar market, understanding those subscribers takes on new importance, as every aspect of subscriber retention becomes more complex. Take the example of language translation for a popular TV series. Translating this content to a different language takes a lot of work to sound and look natural for a different in-market audience, as some countries and regions have very nuanced languages and dialects.

Remember too that it’s not just spoken-word (audio dub) content translations. All of the following must be seamlessly translated for each audience where the content will play. Things like:

  • closed captions

  • content titles

  • short-form descriptions

  • long content descriptions

  • audio dubs

Some media brands do an initial, rough translation, then never follow up with independent localization testing to validate these translations. This can make the difference between retention and cancellation. If you think a new in-market customer is going to put up with poorly translated content, think again.

Language translation is one of many nuanced areas of product localization, as any number of cultural blind spots can cause customers to disengage with your brand. Another heavy focus for media brands should be on providing content that is relevant and in-demand for the local audience. Locally sourced content is one way to provide content that has a greater chance of connecting with the in-market audience.


Localization: The Key To Digital Success Is More Than Just Translation

Learn how to overcome the challenges of launching products in different markets and cultures.

Remember that some content might have restrictions in other parts of the world. Conduct localization testing to ensure conformance with the proverbial hornet’s nest of digital content licensing agreements. Digital rights can vary by licensee, device type, location and more. For example, in the EU, there’s a content portability agreement that means if you travel to, say, Madrid from Brussels, you must be able to access any content you can normally access in either location. Boundary testing as part of localization efforts can reliably validate compliance with these standards, unlike trying to confirm this via VPNs, where geofiltering and other issues can negate those attempts.

Also, if revenue streams are important to you — spoiler alert, they are — remember that foreign markets rely on different currencies and preferred payment instruments. These require localization testing as well. For example, EU customers typically prefer debit cards, and those must be tested with real transactions in real locations. Make sure that you’re also catering to emerging payment alternatives, such as buy now, pay later (BNPL), which introduces different complexities.

Collecting useful insights

Understand the market, then serve the market. There’s no substitute for real in-market customer insights in delivering a strategic advantage in ad and content delivery.

What one country or region embraces in content presentation might be grounds for immediate cancellation in another. In Singapore, for example, no advertising is permitted during children’s programming — that’s a stark contrast from the United States, where children are subjected to tens of thousands of ads every year. Other countries have unique advertising specifications of their own, such as:

  • what types of ads children see, such as ads for unhealthy foods

  • legally binding product specifications/disclaimers

  • the total duration of ads per hour

  • limitations on non-approved medicinal products

  • unclear health-related product claims

  • prohibiting tobacco and alcohol ads, or including risks of use

  • subliminal advertising

  • volume level of ads

  • age restrictions on celebrity endorsements

While these legal restrictions are part of compliance with new media launches, just because an ad is legal to show doesn’t mean the audience will accept it. As streaming media providers look to roll out ad supported tiers, they must be aware of what’s customary to display, as well as the different tones, formats or lengths of the advertisements.

Additionally, some areas of the world have lower internet speeds or connectivity issues. Media brands must research how connectivity challenges affect the streaming experience, and whether these require changes to content resolution or other back-end elements of the service. The same goes for mobile phone connections, which are inconsistent all over the world. While mobile devices carry a different set of user expectations than broadband connections, it is nonetheless important to meet or exceed the customer’s expectations and measure up to the competition.

You might also need to rely on local users when it comes to testing your product on region-specific devices. A device lab won’t enable you to sufficiently test, say, a mobile phone designed to operate only in Japan.

Accessibility standards and litigation also vary quite a bit by country or region. The EU and United States are closely aligned in their high standards for digital accessibility. Other regions, such as Latin America or APAC, tend to have fewer regulations. This is especially important to keep in mind for Asia-based companies that plan to expand to the west, where they will be held to higher usability standards.

Collecting data on how subscribers react to your product can help you refine it for them. But, how do you collect it? Even if you have a research team, language differences, geographic distances and time zone differences all present challenges to effective in-market research. You’ll likely need to partner with a third-party user research firm to help recruit study participants and conduct UX analysis. But if the partner lacks the technical know-how or flexibility to adjust from one release to the next, will they be able to deliver the results you need?

Winning in new markets

Applause can deliver the insights you need for a successful launch. Our million-strong community of digital experts and testers operates in more than 200 countries around the world. Whether you need in-depth user research or localization testing in your new market, Applause provides the technical expertise and adaptability to help achieve your digital quality needs.

Applause helps name-brand streaming media providers with their global launches, supplying functional testing, payment testing, localization testing, user research hours and more. As competition intensifies for media companies around the globe, these types of new-market initiatives are table stakes for our clients, some of whom compete with each other. Applause supports these launches while also respecting our customers’ IP, with our global digital experts signing NDAs to lock down proprietary information.

Take the guesswork out of your digital quality initiatives. Tell us how we can support your next global new market launch.


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Greg Burnett
Vice President and General Manager, Sales and Customer Success, Strategic Accounts
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