Why App Localization is Good For Mobile App Success

Why-App Localization is Good For Mobile App Success blog post image

Every day, the world seems to get smaller. We’re all interconnected because a mobile-first world blurs the lines of distance and borders. When we purchase items online, we usually have no idea if the goods or company we’re buying from is local or from a country on the other side of the world.

What matters is that the product appeals to us. We understand it because the messaging makes sense and resonates. It’s clear—through the language, cultural cues and visuals—that the product addresses our current need or desire.

The same is true with mobile apps. An app is successful when it can draw in a user with a clear value proposition, deliver a positive user experience and engage them enough to keep them coming back.

If you want to grow an app that has global appeal, incorporating app localization into your ASO strategy is not only important, it’s a must.

Both Android app localization and iOS app localization require time and effort. App localization goes way beyond translation. It takes a solid ASO strategy that’s based on market research, competitor analysis and ongoing keyword research.

    What you’ll learn in this Article

  1. What is App Localization?
  2. Why Do You Need App Localization?
  3. The benefits of app localization
  4. When is the Right Time to Localize a Mobile App?
  5. Which Countries Should You Localize in First?
  6. How Do You Localize an App’s Metadata?
  7. Get the Help of App Localization Software
  8. What are the Benefits of Cross localization?
  9. A simple Methodology for Localization
Final Thoughts on App Localization

So what are app localization best practices? Read on to get first-hand app localization tips from AGN’s ASO expert, Arturo Mendez. We’ll break down the why, how and when of App Store Optimization localization for global success.

You can also watch the video of the discussion between Arturo and Mobile Action down below:

What is App Localization?

App localization is the process of adapting your mobile app to penetrate different countries by making it appealing to local users. This means using their own language, incorporating cultural nuances and adjusting keywords into their own search terms.

This includes localizing key metadata and all critical elements of App Store Optimization that affect app store ranking. These are a bit different for the iOS App Store and Android Google Play, as you can see in the visual below. Optimizing visual elements—like the icon, screenshots, videos, etc—is also part of the app localization process.

Why Do You Need App Localization?

Localization is about understanding your audience across various markets. Language and culture have a great effect on user perceptions and habits, so making the necessary adjustments to an app is crucial for successful global expansion.

It’s important to remember that—while English may be recognized as the universal language—not everyone is fluent or comfortable with all-English content. And it’s well-known that consumers are more likely to connect with a brand that communicates with them in their native language. Which makes perfect sense, right?

Establishing this connection goes beyond a straight translation. Acknowledging and reflecting cultural differences, using local vernacular and native expressions is key in enforcing a relationship with users.

The benefits of app localization:

  • Get more downloads: expanding into other languages and countries increases your app’s visibility and exposure
  • Improve conversion rate: delivering your app’s unique value proposition in a country’s native language is more authentic and engaging, thus more effective
  • Lower competition ranking on local keywords: not all competitors are localizing for different markets, so you’re staying ahead of the competition
  • Improve overall rankings: one of the metrics that helps you to rank higher in app stores are monthly active users, so getting more downloads from app stores in different countries results in an increase in overall rankings.

When is the Right Time to Localize a Mobile App?

As soon as you can!

But keep in mind that different apps have a very intuitive interface, like hyper casual games, so users around the world can fairly easily understand how to play the game. This may require less prep time to make a game attractive to a global audience.

For more intellectual apps—like a mediations app—users need to interact deeply with the interface. For these apps, it’s important to properly adapt the interface into the language you want to localize.

Taking the time to make sure this is done correctly is key.  If the user has a bad experience or doesn’t even understand how the app works in the first place will result in lost users that can’t be regained.

Which Countries Should You Localize in First?

When you’re ready to expand into different markets, there are two main strategies for how to choose which countries to localize in first:

  1. Prioritize based on revenue

This one is based on ROI in different markets, meaning that you first localize for the countries that are bringing in more revenue, which will further enhance the revenue they’re bringing to your app

  1. Evaluate app market size

Look at the app market size. For example, China, Russia and Brazil have large volumes in their app stores and are often good places to start.

How Do You Localize an App’s Metadata?

Remember that a simple translation is not enough. Here are some of favorite app localization tips when it comes to metadata:

  • Do keyword research – make sure to properly research in the target language
  • Consult the app’s reviews – reading user-posted comments gives you an insider view of how users talk about the app and any keywords that they’re naturally using when referencing the app
  • Reference Wikipedia – this is useful tool for identifying trending terms or branded terms; localization for Google Play isn’t always accurate so you can look at that specific brand in Wiki and see what localizations they have for it
  • Analyze competitor names – competitive brand might not be trademarked or may be misspelled, especially in languages that have a different alphabet
  • Keep in mind local jargon and slang – doing so can give you new keywords that you would not get by a relying solely on a straight translation

Get the Help of App Localization Software

When doing localization prep and research, we find app localization tools like Mobile Action to be extremely helpful.

Mobile Action’s features help you to understand competitor behaviors and look into more than 70 countries. By comparing your app to a competitor and look at what countries they’re targeting, you can see how you compare against their rating and popularity in those countries.

You can also look deeper into the localization by country and see what competitors used for the metadata. Competitors will give you a sense of what’s working and how to properly deliver a value proposition message. It’s okay to get ideas from competitors—there’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time!

What are the Benefits of Cross-localization?

For iOS, you can double the amount of keywords indexed by iTunes in the App Store by using other localizations. It’s a trick that really boosts your organic ranking. In fact, we’ve written a whole post about this App Store growth hack if you want the details!

A Simple Methodology for Localization

When entering into a new market, it helps to first research your new local competitors. This will help you position yourself and understand what works for them.

There must also be a balance between conversion rate and traffic, so that you can achieve not just more visibility but also more conversions. This is a process you must test. Analyze and repeat again for at least 3-4 iterations.

Final Thoughts on App Localization

There’s no question that app localization comes with many benefits. All of the best-known app brands are global, which is what has made them so successful.

But it’s vital that all of the proper legwork is done before launching into more markets. If you fail to localize the right way, the attempt could actually backfire and make you lose credibility and user confidence.

As we’ve mentioned, app localization is a process that requires time, effort and skill. To guarantee that you take the right strategic approach, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help you make your global efforts a success!