How PlantSnap Grew From 750k Users to 30 Million Through Localization

Written by:
Tom Wicker

In 2018, Eric Ralls was at a crossroads.

Eric had created PlantSnap, an app that identifies plants. Just take a photo of a plant, and PlantSnap tells you about the plant in an instant.

“It’s a simple concept,” Eric said, “but incredibly difficult execution.”

Eric spent half a decade building his vision from the ground up. He harnessed ever-changing advancements in deep learning and artificial intelligence, and turned a gardener’s dream into one of the most advanced apps you’ll find on any iPhone or Android.

“In the beginning, the technology just wasn’t there yet,” Eric said. “But that’s exactly why I kept going and never gave up. If it wasn’t hard, someone would have done it already.”

By 2018, PlantSnap was identifying plants with 96% accuracy, but the app’s growth had not reached its potential. At every turn, users were delighted with the app. But Eric knew he could extend that joy even further.

Eric felt he was limiting himself by having English as the only language. “We were losing access to a vast majority of the people on earth,” Eric explained. “I wanted a partner who could take something special, and explode its growth globally.”

Eric reached out to Straker Translations. “Straker caught my eye right away. They had a proven track record of growing apps through localization.” Like PlantSnap, Straker started as a niche technology company, with humble beginnings and an exceptional product.
“I liked how they aspired to outgrow New Zealand; and when they did, they started enabling their customers to do the same.”

Eric recognized the importance of speed in updating his ever-changing app. Straker showed Eric the possibilities of a clean, efficient translation approach. 

Straker worked with Eric to develop a strategy, in three steps:

  1. Find out how prepared the app is to handle one non-English language
  2. Once the app is ready, translate a base go-to-market version, along with app store descriptions, into 37 of the world’s most common languages
  3. Once the app is live in different markets, gather feedback through app store reviews, and focus translation efforts in most important areas

One year later, Eric’s app has grown from 750 thousand installs to a whopping 30 million installs.

“They gave me a plan, and we executed it together,” Eric said. “It was a perfect fit for me.”

By translating a base version of the app into 37 different languages, Straker allowed PlantSnap to quickly scale without breaking the bank. As downloads and reviews began to roll in, it became clear which parts of the app needed expansion – and additional translation. Straker’s team worked with Eric at every turn, deploying translation to spark growth.

“Straker’s expertise allowed our reach to grow, while freeing me up to focus on improving PlantSnap’s core technology,” Eric explained.

Before long, Eric had fully localized marketing campaigns, instructional videos, and new features to roll out to his fastest-growing markets. PlantSnap now has daily users in 120 different countries. The app reached #1 on the Top Paid App charts in September.

“We’re proud to see the growth PlantSnap has experienced through localization and the help of our services,” said Grant Straker, CEO of Straker Translations. “It’s been brilliant to be a part of their progress and story.”

Eric continues to bring joy to nature lovers across the globe, all from his home in Telluride, Colorado. “I think it’s important for people to remember that we’re all a part of nature. I want people to rediscover the beauty and wonder that’s right outside their doors.”

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