At MobileAction, we understand that localization is crucial for apps to succeed in global markets. That’s why, in our previous blogs, we’ve stressed the importance of translating your app into your target regions’ local languages and dialects to enhance the user experience for new customers.

In order to go further than informing the mobile app community and also provide this community with data about mobile app localization, MobileAction developed the Localization tool. You can discover more about this tool by contacting MobileAction experts or continue reading this comprehensive guide for more detailed information about localization.

So, if you are ready, let’s jump in and explore the world of mobile app localization together!

Internationalization (i18n) vs Localization (l10n)

Since these two terms are often confused, understanding the concept of internationalization is a must before directly starting with localization. Internationalization aims to develop software that is prepared to enter markets worldwide by being flexible enough to conform to different cultures, languages, and laws. Localization is the process of taking a product that has already been internationalized and further customizing its content – including text, images, audio, and color – to make it as appealing and understandable as possible to users in a specific target market or region.

What is App Localization?

App localization is adapting a mobile application and its description in app marketplaces for different geographic target markets. It is indispensable for any developer who aspires to take their app or game global.

Growth and localization are deeply intertwined when it comes to apps. By localizing, developers can significantly expand their reach by making the app available in multiple countries and, crucially, by making it more relatable, engaging, and user-friendly for international audiences. Localization makes the app inherently more desirable and accessible worldwide. For any developer building out a robust mobile user acquisition strategy meant to have broad reach, app localization should be a key priority on their checklist.

Through translation, cultural adaptation, localized marketing, and various technical adjustments that align with regional user preferences, app localization allows developers to connect with many more potential users worldwide successfully. An app designed with global audiences and inclusiveness in mind from the initial stages of development is best positioned for prosperity across different countries and cultures. Localization opens the doors to tapping into the full worldwide demand for an app or game.

In an increasingly interconnected mobile world, localization allows developers to turn their innovations into truly global products. The rewards can be immense – bigger user bases, higher visibility, expanded brand awareness, and greater revenues. Localization is no longer optional but a strategic imperative for mobile growth.

Why does App Localization matter?

Imagine you come across an app in the app store that looks amazing, but all the content is in a language you don’t speak. Even if it has excellent reviews and ratings, you probably won’t download it if you can’t understand it, right?

No matter how good an app seems otherwise, people are unlikely to download and use it if it’s not in their native language. The app’s reach will be severely constrained if developers do not localize their apps for their target audiences. Creating a mobile app in your intended audience’s local language is critical to genuinely connect with them. Doing so shows you care deeply about providing customers with the best experience in the language they are most comfortable and fluent in. Naturally, your broader app marketing and growth strategy will also reap significant benefits from these localization efforts.

By taking the extra time and care to adapt an app specifically for different cultures and languages, developers can go above and beyond to resonate with those users on a deeper level. Localization is about more than just translation – crafting a product that feels natively made for distinct markets. Apps that feel localized from the ground up gain trust and loyalty faster in new regions.

In our increasingly interconnected global mobile landscape, localization is no longer an optional nice-to-have but a strategic necessity for developers who want to maximize their app’s reach and impact worldwide. The rewards can be tremendous – bigger user bases, higher visibility, expanded brand awareness, and greater revenues. The future belongs to apps made with the entire world in mind.

Types of App Localization

There are two main types of localization to consider:

  1. Minimum Viable Localization, also known as MVL, is a lightweight approach to localization that allows mobile app developers to translate key app elements like menus, buttons, and titles to increase the international usability of their app without undertaking a full localization effort. With MVL, developers prioritize localizing elements most important for basic navigation and tasks. Additional strings, text, and UI elements may be left in the default language to cut costs and development time. MVL is ideal for apps launching in their first international markets or developers with localization budgets and time constraints.
  2. On the other hand, Full App Localization involves thoroughly localizing an app’s text strings, interface elements, images, and more so that the app looks and feels completely native to each new market. With full localization, text direction, measurements, number, and date formats are also adapted to each locale’s standards. Full localization ensures users the best app experience in their language and culture. However, this approach requires more extensive linguistic expertise, localization project management, and longer lead times than Minimum Viable Localization. It also incurs higher translation, testing, and maintenance costs over the app’s lifetime.

MVL and Full Localization have pros and cons depending on a company’s budget, timeline, and international goals. MobileAction’s localization experts can help evaluate which approach makes the most sense for any specific app project based on these factors and ensure a high-quality, on-brand localization.

Top Languages for Localization

App Store Google Play Store
Country Downloads Country Download
CN 3,302,786,828 IN 5,471,280,000
US 2,014,014,728 ID 1,226,571,968
BR 538,585,399 BR 1,048,131,775
JP 447,312,520 US 562,454,122
RU 434,447,420 MX 560,926,894
IN 405,000,261 TR 534,342,265
GB 367,102,863 RU 473,313,228
MX 330,585,690 VN 313,359,286
TR 292,082,109 DE 172,560,426
DE 283,824,481 FR 151,697,183

The App Store data shows China, the United States, and Brazil at the top. Japan, Russia, India, Great Britain, Mexico, Türkiye, and Germany follow. To maximize success in these markets, comprehensive localization is crucial. This starts with high-quality translation of all app text into the native languages—Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and German. Also, some dialects should be carefully considered, such as Chinese (both simplified and traditional), English (American and British), and Portuguese (Brazilian). Mistakes or unclear translations would reflect poorly on the app.

Beyond translation, developers need to consider aspects like:

  • Using culturally appropriate icons, colors, and graphics that align with each country’s tastes and sensibilities. For example, certain imagery considered fine in the US may not align with Japanese cultural norms.
  • Tailoring content/features to match local user expectations. For instance, Japanese users may expect more emoji/ sticker integrations compared to Americans. Russians may expect apps to work even without constant internet connectivity.
  • Working with local marketing partners to adapt messaging and advertising appropriately for each country’s unique trends and norms.
  • Adjusting monetization strategies to account for differences in purchasing power and willingness to pay across markets.

Google Play Store data shows India, Indonesia, and Brazil are at the top. These countries are followed by the United States, Mexico, Türkiye, Russia, Vietnam, Germany, and France. For the Play Store, thorough localization is even more critical given that many top countries like India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Türkiye, Russia, Vietnam, Germany, and France are non-English speaking emerging markets. Developers must ensure the app is available in Hindi, Bahasa, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Russian, Vietnamese, German, and French. However, they also must consider:

  • Incorporating local cultural references, traditions, and aesthetics that resonate in markets like India and Indonesia. This requires an understanding of local cultures.
  • Enabling payments via popular local payment methods, currencies, and financial institutions. This could mean integrating mobile wallets in India or Indonesia.
  • Partnering with local brands that users recognize can improve perceptions of the app in markets like Brazil and Mexico.
  • Addressing the connectivity and smartphone challenges that users in developing markets often face. Apps may need to be optimized for lower-end devices and intermittent connections.

In summary, taking the time to thoroughly adapt an app for each major App Store and Google Play Store is key. Localization is not just translation – it requires tailoring the entire experience to resonate with unique local cultures and user expectations. This upfront investment is essential for achieving global app success.

App Store Localization – Localizing Your App for iOS Devices

App Store supports the following languages and locales: Arabic, Catalan, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (Australia), English (Canada), English (U.K.), English (U.S.), Finnish, French, French (Canada), German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Spain), Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese.

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

When doing Localization, you must 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 text on it should be translated properly, and you should also go over every image to make sure it is interesting enough for the locals.

Localization is particularly important for the Apple App Store as it allows you to rank for different localization in a single country.

Let’s say you have localized your app for French. This will make your app indexed for French keywords while also retaining your chance to rank for English keywords as well. This alone is a great opportunity and a primary reason to localize your app in the App Store.

To learn more about optimizing your product page in the App Store:

Google Play Store Localization – Localizing Your App for Android Devices

Since there are numerous available locales, the Google Play Store requires a different sort of localization strategy. But no worries, because Google provides an excellent Localization Checklist that app developers can utilize to ensure their app is prepared for launch in international markets.

Localizing for all of Google’s available regions might be difficult, so it’s crucial to identify the best possible markets for your business.

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

However, if you haven’t localized your product page, this can be a massive issue for your app. Google is constantly improving its algorithm, but autotranslations are still not the most reliable.

Therefore, even if you are not going to localize your app, checking if the autotranslations 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.

Recommended Readings:

Localization-ASO Synergy

App localization and optimization for app store search (ASO) are two interconnected disciplines that generate tremendous success when executed synergistically. Thoughtful localization involves not just translation but cultural adaptation. Developers must craft localized metadata and in-app content that resonates with each target market’s sensibilities. This includes considering regional idioms, humor, aesthetics, and values when presenting the app to foreign users.

Meanwhile, ASO relies on researching high-value keywords and honing promotional text to match search behavior in each language. The right localization approach supplies the textual assets and cultural insight to allow for effective keyword targeting and messaging optimization per market.

When combined strategically, localization and ASO inform and strengthen one another. Localization provides the raw material for keyword research and implementing regional ASO strategies. The cultural awareness and linguistic range inherent in thorough localization allow developers to understand what terms users search for and how search intent differs across markets. With this knowledge, apps can be optimized to rank for valuable, locally relevant keywords.

In turn, ASO guides and enhances localization. Considering target keywords during translation helps preserve SEO value as text is adapted across languages. An ASO lens also reveals gaps in existing translations that can be filled with optimized promotional copy. Evaluating search volume and behavior per locale enables better decision-making during localization, ensuring time and resources are allocated to the right areas.

Apps that nail both localization and region-specific ASO stand apart from competitors. They feel authentic to local users while also surfacing where those users search. Crafting culturally-tuned content and optimizing it to match each market’s keywords combine powerfully. Developers who recognize this synergy early and act on it gain an edge as they expand globally. Overall, strategic localization and ASO efforts positively reinforce each other, multiplying the potential for overseas visibility.

App Localization: The Essential Checklist

Now that you are aware of the importance of app localization and know how to implement it in your app, we can discuss the app localization checklist. Apparently, there are four major app localization questions that you need to answer.

1. Native Market Success

Before investing in app localization, you should do a complete “check-up” of your app. Are its ratings and reviews primarily positive? Is its revenue stream where you want it to be? Are its downloads and category/overall rankings fairly steady? Check your app for weak points before you start localizing.

2. Timing

Based on your native market success, timing is important in a successful app localization. Before deciding to take your ASO strategy to a global level via localization, you should monitor your app’s performance on a micro level.

If your conversion rates are satisfactory and your app is internationalized, you can start mastering your localization with the necessary modifications to satisfy a global demand.

3. International Interest

As mentioned in the previous item, demand is the key determinant of your app localization decisions. Even if you haven’t localized your app in other markets, you may still get international interest. Check your international page-view-to-download conversion rate. Based on your findings, you can decide which markets are worthy of app localization and arrange your efforts accordingly.

4. Your Competitors

Your competitor’s international strategy may give you insight into what you should expect from your own. Where did your competitors choose to localize (if they have), and are they experiencing success in that market? On the flip side, you may want to choose a different market from them, so there’s less competition in your category.

Once you’ve considered these questions, you should have a clear answer about whether your app is ready to begin the localization process. Make sure your app is “mature,” you’ve considered your timing, and you’ve planned out your market strategy before you start localizing.

App Localization Best Practices

Ensuring that your app resonates with users worldwide requires careful localization strategies. There are three main pillars to focus on when localizing your mobile application – keyword localization, creative localization, and considering seasonality. Keyword localization involves optimizing store listing keywords, descriptions, and metadata for each target region. Creative localization is tailoring your app icon, screenshots, and any promotional creatives to appeal to local users in their language and cultural context. Lastly, paying attention to seasonality means accounting for regional holidays and events when running campaigns or push notifications to maximize relevancy. You can expand your app’s reach globally by mastering these three pillars: keyword localization, creative localization, and seasonality.

Keyword Localization

Localizing keywords for app discoverability in new markets is crucial to an overall localization strategy. Getting the keywords right requires diligent upfront research and ongoing testing/optimization. Some key best practices we recommend to our clients include:

Review top keywords already ranking well in your target stores/countries. Tools like our ASO Intelligence product can reveal what terms organic leaders target. From there, analyze translations and cultural equivalents to find opportunities.

Follow local developers and analyze top apps to brainstorm additional localized ideas. Consider category tagging norms, seasonal/current events, localized terminology variations, and regional customer interests/behavior.

Prioritize keyword opportunities by estimating their potential search volumes using third-party data and analytics. Focus first on medium-high volume keywords with less competition, where you stand the best chance of cracking the top rankings.

Translate your primary title/description, making any necessary adjustments to fit character limits or different linguistic norms. Work closely with native language experts to ensure nuances come through properly.

Optimize additional meta tag keywords leveraging the full complement available for each store listing page. Google Play and App Store differ, so tailor your approach accordingly.

As testing begins, analyze crash reports and logs to determine if installs come from the desired keyword traffic sources. Monitor search analytics, too, to gauge discovery rates.

Be prepared to iterate and refine based on performance fluctuations. Factors like seasonality, new app releases, and cultural trends mean periodic reviews are a must to maintain relevance.

Ongoing keyword localization requires dedication, but paying close attention to these localized nuances can help drive vital discovery and uptake in each new market you expand into.

Creative Optimization

Creative localization tailors your app’s visual marketing assets for each target region. This includes icons, screenshots, video previews, and other promotional creatives. Properly localizing these graphics and text is essential to appeal to users in their language and cultural context.

Some best practices involve translating app icon and video preview texts into the local language. Using culturally representative images in screenshots can help increase relevancy for that audience. For example, featuring popular celebrities, landmarks, or culturally symbolic images.

Your app icon design should be global and local at the same time. That’s what marketers call “glocal” in the last decades. It should be fresh, inspiring, but at the same time, all segments of your audience should find something that belongs to them in your icon.

It’s also important to follow platform guidelines regarding text placement, sizing, and cropping for each screenshot and to optimize images for different device densities widespread in each market.

Beyond the literal elements, consider subtleties in colors, styles, and designs with different regional associations. Testing creatives with local audiences can provide valuable feedback.

Promoting your app via local platforms, influencers, or other culturally embedded tactics allows creative localization to shine beyond app store listings.

Ongoing A/B testing lets you refine creatives further. Major cultural events provide opportunities to feature localized promotions. Consistency across all localized creative assets solidifies your app’s regional identity.

Done effectively, creative localization can boost discoverability exponentially by communicating what your app is about through locally appealing visuals paired with the right text.


It’s important to conduct thorough seasonal research for each target market. This includes analyzing historical usage and engagement patterns around key cultural and religious holidays. For example, you may notice spikes in gameplay for certain sports titles during major tournaments popular in that region.

Plan your seasonal strategy well in advance by identifying upcoming celebration dates months ahead. This allows sufficient time to produce localized creative assets, updates, and promotions optimized for that period.

Look for immersive partnership opportunities with locally influential brands, celebrities, or influencers tied to an event. Collaborations can boost authentic cultural alignments when your app is promoted through its major following around that time.

Stay agile by monitoring live event timelines, which sometimes shift. Be prepared to adjust campaign schedules and creative content accordingly to maintain relevancy. The unforeseen success of a player or team also provides chances for additional customization.

Measure the impact of your seasonal efforts through analytics like new user acquisition, re-engagement rates, and content consumption during and after each period. Fine-tune your approach based on what drives the strongest engagement for future celebrations.

Over time, consistently capturing regional, seasonal value throughout the year helps cultivate loyal, immersed user communities in each localization market.

Recommended resources about seasonality for app marketing:

Best Tools for App Localization

1. Localization

Localization by MobileAction provides an overview of which ASO elements of an app (such as title, subtitle, and description) have been localized. It offers insights into how well the app performs in each country in which it’s active. Localizing your app can directly influence user reviews, and this feature provides great insights into effective strategies to do so.

2. Keyword Suggestion

Our Keyword Suggestion feature lets you see what’s working for your competitors and potentially “borrow” some of their traffic. Take a close look at their top-performing keywords—the ones driving them the most search volume. You can uncover which keywords you should target for your listings using the Keyword Intelligence tool.

Taking full advantage of the localized keyword pools available in the MobileAction dashboard for each country market is also important. These keyword sets reflect what real users in those regions are searching for. Experiment with keywords from the pool to find new opportunities beyond your starting keywords. You never know which localized terms might catch on until you try testing them. This localized approach can uncover surprises that help lift your app even higher for each territory.

3. Keyword Gap

The Keyword Gap feature within ASO Intelligence by MobileAction provides several key benefits for localization efforts:

This is how it helps:

Language variations: This allows you to easily spot keywords your competitors are targeting, including alternate search terms, related queries, or common misspellings in other languages.

Regional preferences: The tool illuminates keywords popular in a given country or locality your competitors have optimized for, giving you localization ideas attuned to local user search behaviors.

Cultural cues: By analyzing competitors’ keywords tailored to specific international markets, you can glean insights into terms embedding local cultural context that resonate regionally.

Localization gaps: Keyword Gap makes it simple to pinpoint where your app’s keyword targeting may be lacking for key international stores or languages compared to cultural leaders. This highlights areas for improvement.

Live localization: With real-time keyword data from across geographies, you can implement localization enhancements quickly based on fresh market cues rather than relying on lagging global data.

4. Reviews

The Reviews feature within App Intelligence by MobileAction provides valuable insights by analyzing ratings and reviews left by users across different international app stores. Surfacing top keywords and phrases discussed in reviews region by region reveals locally relevant aspects of that language to consider in your localization strategy. These locally reflective words show you what cultural cues, identities, preferences, and events may resonate most with users within that territory.

Beyond linguistic elements, frequent review discussion points also provide direction on features, terms, categories, or other optimization hints to prioritize or introduce to better meet local user needs and expectations. Furthermore, analyzing regional review comments is a real-time focus group that highlights shifting user behaviors or trends occurring locally to help ensure your app stays well-aligned with the market. Identifying keyword patterns embedded in foreign language reviews can indicate how to customize factors like category tags according to specific regional categories or taxonomy norms preferred in that area.

Leveraging these insights from Review Analysis allows app marketers to gather contextual qualitative customer data to guide localization enhancements attentive to each region authentically. It provides a way to recognize successful nuances where ratings lift after implementation as good localization tips to fold into your ongoing international strategy over time.


In summary, localization is integral for tapping into the worldwide demand for your mobile app. By thoughtfully adapting key elements like keywords, creatives, and seasonal strategies, you can deliver localized experiences that drive meaningful discovery and high engagement abroad.

The teams at MobileAction aim to empower developers to expand globally through localization best practices. Whether helping you craft culturally tuned messaging or optimize your international strategy, we’re here as your localization guide. Now it is your time to start thinking globally with MobileAction’s tools and insights.

Schedule a free demo now and take the first step to achieving worldwide mobile app marketing success!