You spent months building an awesome app. You’ve worked hard on your App Store Optimization and your app is selling well in English-speaking countries. However, on the other hand, you’re struggling to drive downloads and your traffic is terrible in non- English-speaking countries. Why the difference? It’s because you haven’t localized your app for non-English-speaking users.
But, what exactly is app localization? In simple terms, app localization is the process of making your app available in several languages. The App Store allows distributing your apps to over 150 countries and that too in 28 languages. It therefore represents a huge opportunity for app developers to find promising niches and in turn obtain great traffic in different types of market.
With smartphone penetration around the globe like never before, and with globalization spreading faster than ever with major advances in telecommunications infrastructures, mobile applications are getting increasingly popular in all parts of the world. This, however, does not mean that cultural and linguistic barriers are giving away: each country or region has its own way of apprehending things.
This is the main reason why, if you consider expanding your app business in other countries, you’ll need to optimize and localize your apps. The point here is to meet the local language and various cultural requirements in order to maximize your app’s performance. It therefore goes beyond simple translation: app localization is actually much more. It’s adapting your app to a specific culture, country and population. It demands lots of work and can be time-consuming.
That being said, it is important to make some researches and tests before you decide to localize your app thoroughly. The point is to know if it’s really worth doing and if you could potentially increase your downloads and revenue.
Getting Started with App Localization
After several market researches and after you’ve identified the most promising markets to target, it is highly recommended to start by localizing your app’s App Store Optimization (ASO) rather than jumping into localizing your app directly.
This will certainly require hiring freelancers to translate all metadata and marketing copy of your app. But it needs to be done in the best way possible. A good way to start is to focus on optimizing your keywords. Obviously, as you might already figure, it’s not about taking your existing keywords list and translating it with Google (or any other automatic translation tool). That would be too easy. Unfortunately, it is also not about asking a native speaker to come up with the best optimized word for your app given your initial list, although it already seems to be a better idea.
The best solution is to actually proceed step by step to come up with the most optimized keywords possible. To do so, you can actually use the two techniques I’ve just outlined as bad examples. But, you will not stop there. Once you have a small pool of potential keywords, you’ll need to find out if they are actually popular in the country you’re aiming and if there is not too much competition for these keywords.
Given the fact that there are only 28 languages available for 155 countries currently, iOS localization is language-based. This means that if you choose to expand your app to France and therefore in French, for example, all App Stores using French will use that version. This can be quite tricky since trends and habits, especially in keywords, vary from one country to another.
After you’ve come up with your keywords list, it’s time to localize your app name. Use 2 or 3 of your strongest keywords and include them in your app title.
Once you have your keywords list and title, you can focus on localizing and optimizing converting factors such as your app description and screenshots. For your app description, the best way is to hire a native speaker to translate your original description.
For your screenshots, it’s very important to make sure that each translated word makes sense. As you may already know, app screenshots play a huge role in the downloading process of an app because users love visual. If you use text in your screenshots (one or two selling sentences are highly recommended), it’s important to be careful here: you don’t want your new screenshots to be overloaded (some languages have longer words) and bad looking. Adapt your design according to your new phrases.
Concerning your app preview, Apple does not support localization yet. It is therefore recommended to avoid using too much text in your video. Make it as universal as possible.
Don’t forget to localize your “What’s New” section as well.
Last Step: Should You Translate Your App?
After implementing all these changes, it’s now time to test your app and see if it’s worth continuing your localization process.
Once you publish your new version, wait at least a couple of weeks. If you notice an increase in downloads, like a significant peak, and/or an increase of your LTV, it probably means that you’re on the right path and that your target is worth it.
From then, you can start working on localizing your app. Again, hire a native speaker and translate each element of your app. Just like for screenshots, make sure that the characters fit well in your buttons and/or various graphics.
On the opposite, if there is no particular increase in downloads or traffic, it may be the sign that the country or language that you’ve targeted is not right for your business. Consider changing. It can also be the sign that your localization has not been done properly enough.
It is however almost 100% sure that you will increase your downloads if you localize your app and at least your ASO correctly.
At AppTweak, we provide a strong keywords tool with native and optimized keywords: no automatic-translation used here. Currently, we deal with 60 countries and 6 languages: English, French, Dutch, German, Spanish and Portuguese. Everything has been done to facilitate your ASO job. So, what are you waiting for? Localize your app now.