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Ultimate Guide to Mobile App Localization, ASO University Chapter 6

7 min read

Mobile App Localization is often a process that scares most app marketers away as it requires quite a bit of effort and time. But, those who are not intimidated so easily are often rewarded with supreme rankings and download numbers in the countries they have localized their apps.

In this article, we will have a look at how to do localization and why is it important for your app marketing strategy and some helpful tips and tricks to get even more value out of your localization efforts.

1. What Is Mobile App Localization?

Mobile App Localization in its wider sense is the process of tweaking your app to fit the language, culture and other factors of a specific country it will be active.

Mobile App Localization for App Store Optimization is the same process done to your apps’ metadata, creatives and ranking factors, such as keywords. In this chapter, we will discover why localization is a must for any app that’s active in more than one country, how to do proper localization and its tried and tested benefits.

If you want to learn more about what is considered in the metadata and more tips about ASO, you can go to our two guides for ASO in the App Store and the Google Play Store.

So, let’s start with learning more about Mobile App Localization.

a. Why Is It Important?

Mobile App Localization is a great way to boost your downloads in other storefronts that you have launched your app. There are several reasons why localization is extremely important.

First of all, did you know that Google and Apple tend to favor apps that are localized when ranking them to provide their users with a better user experience? That, on its own, is a reason enough to do localization for your apps. But, let’s keep looking on other potential advantages of localizing your app.

An image of people from various regions to emphasize the importance of mobile app localization

Even though English is one of the most widely spoken languages, not every person can speak English. You can imagine that having your app localized in a non-English language will have a clear advantage in those countries. People who don’t speak English would prefer apps that they understand. Even people who do speak English will prefer to use an app in their native language. That’s why localizing your app is also vital for your conversion rates and overall user engagement.

Localization will prove to be a huge boon even in English speaking countries. For example, the terms people use in Australia, UK or US might differ drastically. In the US people might prefer to use the word trails whereas in Australia the word used can be tracks. Therefore, localizing your app in those countries can prove quite effective as well.

Localizing your app isn’t only about translating the language of your metadata. It also includes tweaking the creatives to match the culture of the country you are targeting and changing the currency and measurement units as well.

All of these factors will allow you to pull ahead of your competitors in other geographies to grow your app business to become a global one.

b. How is Mobile App Localization Done?

Mobile App Localization usually requires an app to have already been through a process of internationalization. So, what’s the difference between internationalization of an app and localization of an app?

Internationalization of an app means that you don’t develop your app to be locked into a single language. Rather, you develop your app to be able to adapt to different languages. Changing the language of your app is localization. That’s why we advise developers to internationalize their apps during the development phase to make localization simply a painless process.

If you haven’t internationalized it during the development, you still can internationalize it. But it will be a little more difficult.

Assuming that you have an app that is ready to localize, let’s move on to the process itself.

At first sight, you might think that localization is translating every bit of text on your app. But, it’s much more than that. Localization requires you to know the culture, trends, and language of the target country.

Image of a giant dictionary that you won't use during localization.
Obviously, you won’t be using this to do localization.

Getting everything translated won’t do you good. Instead, you should look for phrases and words that are used by the people to express the same meaning. Hiring a native speaker and a proofreader at this rate is something that can save you a great deal of time and will allow your localization efforts to bring the value you expect them to return you.

Optimizing your creatives in accordance with the local cultural trends is also a huge bonus to your localization strategy.

2. Localizing Your App

After having a general look at localization now let’s discover the details and specific suggestions for each individual app store. Both Google Play Store and Apple App Store have their own points that you should pay attention to.

a. Mobile App Localization for the Apple App Store

Localization practices differ a little between the two app stores. The Apple App Store supports up to 28 different localizations, nearly a one-third of Google Play’s 77 localizations. However, the number of localizations can be viewed as 28 different languages.

Knowing for which languages you can rank for in each localization is quite important as you will potentially double or even triple the number of keywords you can rank for.

You can see all the available mobile app localizations in the Apple App Store.

When doing Localization, it’s quite important that you should localize every bit of your product page. Nothing’s worse than a half localized app page. That’s why every bit of content that has a text on it should be translated properly and you should also go over every imagery to make sure they are interesting enough for the locals.

Localization is particularly important for the Apple App Store as it gives you the chance to rank for different localization in a single country. Let’s say you have localized your app for French (FR), you will be indexed for French keywords while also retaining your chance to rank for English (US) keywords as well. This alone is a great opportunity for you and a primary reason to localize your app in the App Store.

b. Mobile App Localization for the Google Play Store

The available localizations are bit more numerous in Google Play as you can choose which language to localize from 77 different localizations.

You can see each mobile app localization available in Google Play and the language codes next to them

There’s quite a number of localizations to choose in the Google Play Store. Localizing for all of those 77 localizations might be a difficult task. So, identifying the best possible markets for your business is crucial in this case.

Another important point about localization for the Google Play Store that might be harmful to your conversion rates is the danger caused by unchecked auto-translations. Even if you don’t localize your listing page, Google provides its users the option to translate your product page to their language. If your page is localized this poses no threat to you.

However, if you haven’t localized your product page this has the potential to be a huge issue for your app. Google is constantly improving on their algorithm. However, auto translations are still not the most reliable thing.

Therefore, even if you are not going to localize your app checking if the auto translations are working properly can only help.

Furthermore, the short description of your app is translated in any case. So, having a look at that is quite important too.

3. Additional Tips For Mobile App Localization

a. Localizing Your Creatives

While localizing your metadata can be viewed as an advanced form of translation, localizing your creatives is something entirely different.

Even in two English speaking countries, Uber has gone for a mobile app localization in their screenshots.

Before localizing your creatives such as your screenshots and preview videos, a detailed audience research will prove to be quite useful. Localizing the visuals to fit the taste of the local people will require you to have a deep understanding of the culture of that country.

You will probably need the assistance of a native speaker who is also well aware of the culture, market trends etc. of the target country. While the process of localizing your creatives seems like tough work, the benefits it brings cannot be easily neglected. Having your creatives localized alongside your metadata will make your app the best possible choice for the local people.

b. Seasonality

One other way to get value out of Localization is to adapt to the seasonal events in your target countries as well. There are so many ways you can use seasonality to boost your traffic, retention rates and conversion rates.

The most obvious examples that come to mind when talking about seasonality is holidays such as Halloween or Christmas. Remember that there are various different cultures and holidays across the globe. Furthermore, seasonality isn’t only about holidays. When talking about seasonality, we also refer to various events such as carnivals, sports tournaments or even festivals.

Even a small addition to the app icon might prove useful.

If your app has a way to benefit from such occasions, following the events in your localized countries can open up great business opportunities for you.

For example, let’s say you have a city navigation app and there’s a huge sports event at one of your localized cities such as the Olympics, World Cups or maybe a Grand Slam. You can tweak your app to help potential visitors to the city by updating your app to help those visitors to reach to the stadiums or feature restaurants, bars that sports lovers usually go, so they can also enjoy the events even after the games are finished while also exploring the city.

c. Using Mobile Action to Improve Your Mobile App Localization

One other way to improve your mobile app localization efforts is to get help from the Localization tool of Mobile Action to speed up the process of localizing your app and have a general understanding on the strategy your competitors are following.

An example of how you can utilize the Localization tool by viewing the changes done in each country.

You can also compare two apps and have a look at how have they done localization and which one has worked better by seeking their localized descriptions, app names, screenshots and comparing their category rankings, average ratings, and rating counts.

You can compare all of the necessary information about the two apps in the countries they are active.

By having quick access to what have they done in each country you can save loads of time and effort. You will have access to all of the features and information you need to do proper localization for your app.

There’s no limitation on how you can benefit from localization. Although it’s a process that requires a lot of effort and time, it can and most certainly will be worth it as you will have the potential chance to become the leader in those markets.

All in all, Localization has so many perks that overshadow the complicated and time-consuming nature of the process. Next up, we will have a look at the importance reviews and ratings have in your ASO strategy.

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