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Ep 158: Why 'Next Billion User' markets matter for your app

Ludovic Thevelin advises app advertisers on their international growth strategies at Google. In this episode, host Maria Lannon talks to Ludovic about go-to-market considerations for different verticals, like gaming and fintech, how to make strategic decisions on international growth, today’s most promising untapped markets, and the LTV opportunities of, what Google calls, Next Billion User Markets.

Ludovic started working with Google eight years ago at their European headquarters in Dublin before moving to New York City and joining the international growth team five years ago.

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Questions Ludovic answered in this episode:

  • As far as apps that you’re advising, is there a specific vertical that you’re working on?
  • What types of mobile games expand the best? What’s the most challenging part of localizing apps?
  • How do KPIs differ for each market?
  • Can you give an example of when a plan for expansion didn’t work out?
  • Do you see success in specific verticals?
  • How do we think differently about LTV in emerging markets?
  • What market should apps start thinking about?


  • 1:29 Ludovic’s role at Google
  • 3:55 Scaling gaming apps internationally
  • 8:47 Making strategic decisions on regions
  • 10:11 Considerations for emerging markets
  • 11:01 When international growth strategies don’t work out
  • 14:21 Growing fintech apps
  • 17:03 LTV opportunities in emerging markets
  • 21:22 Untapped markets & verticals
  • 27:30 Creative excellence
  • 32:31 Resources


(5:03-5:21) “A lot of advertisers think they’re restricted by not having a different language outside of English, but we use something called an English Proficiency Index. If you Google that, there are a lot of external tools, free, that you can use to rank or rate markets based on how comfortable users are converting in English, and those are often markets that surprise your advertisers.”

(5:29-5:50) “I think the most challenging part is the culturalization piece. So when we talk about localization, you can think of it as a spectrum. The first step in that translation piece. And yes, now you can address a local audience in a local language; but what we find is U.S. advertisers are copy-pasting what they’re doing in the U.S. when they go to Germany and when they go to Japan and when they go to LATAM, but the users are very different.”