Localization (L10n) is a critical piece of any App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy, particularly for app developers who aim to break into new international markets. The world is a big place and if you are only targeting one country, you could be missing out on a huge market segment.
In fact, a recent study showed that app developers who localized their app text generated 128% more downloads per country.
Sounds good, right?
But how do you do it effectively? And how do you target specific markets?
First, you need to understand what localization is in relation to ASO. App localization is the process of optimizing your app for different regions or countries through translation, the adaptation of content with cultural differences in mind, and updating metadata for a specific location.
Be warned—this is not the same as a simple translation of your app's content. Localization is about adapting your app for a specific region with consideration for the social and cultural nuances that exist there.
Here are a few tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of the localization of your app!
English is not the same in every English-speaking country
How do you spell localization? Or is it localisation?
Differences in spelling exist in different geographical locations. U.K. spelling is different from U.S. spelling, even though it's still technically English. This is the essence of localization. It's about understanding the differences that exist in different parts of the world and adapting your app to appeal to the people in those regions.
These cultural differences remain true across all languages. For example, Spanish from Spain is vastly different than the Spanish used in Latin America. Furthermore, the Spanish used across LATAM also varies country by country.
One word in Mexico could mean something very different in Bolivia.
Find native speaking team members
No matter how much research you do, it's very difficult to fully understand the subtle cultural differences between countries without a lifetime of experience in that location. The fastest hack to getting your localization correct to a region is to work with native speaking people from that country. They will understand the small differences and be able to help transition your content and app details in the most culturally appropriate way.
Research successful app categories in different regions
Similar to differences in language, how and why people use apps varies across different regions. While your app may fill a certain need in one country, this does not mean that its utility will translate to other countries.
For example, the top app categories in LATAM look very different from the top app categories in China. In Latin America, the top three app categories are Utilities & Productivity, Games, and Personalization. However, in China, the top three app categories are Instant Messaging, Online Payments, and Search Engines.
These differences are representative of the different cultures in these countries and it is critical for app developers to keep this in mind when choosing the markets that they want to target.
Ultimately, localization is about speaking to your target audience
If users can't find your app because the keywords or language that they are using are not represented in your ASO then you will not be able to reach new markets.
Simply put, people can't find and won't use an app that they don't understand. Don’t let those users slip through your fingers.