App Localization: Why Your Mobile Marketing Strategy Needs Global ASO

April 7th, 2017

App Localization: Why Your Mobile Marketing Strategy Needs Global ASO
Anh Nguyen

by Anh Nguyen

COO & Co-Founder at Gummicube, Inc

The mobile app market is growing at an exponential rate, and as it stands, more than half the world now uses smartphones, which equates to roughly 4.92 billion global mobile users. Across the globe, mobile app developers are adopting an ASO strategy to change their app’s metadata to increase discoverability in the new market. While creating an app’s visibility in the market is essential, developers looking to expand their app’s appeal on a global scale need to correctly localize their app to increase conversion. According to data we have verified, developers who took the steps to localize their iOS app saw download rates in the same country increase by 130 percent on average. In turn, increasing their revenue by 25 percent. Localization is necessary to appeal to users on a global scale and incentivize users to convert. If users see an app that is in their native language, they are more likely to spend money on the app and download.

What App Localization Is:

Many developers think that app localization is simply translating the app into another country’s language. While that is a part of the localization process, however, localization is adapting an app to meet the language and making it locally relevant to the cultural requirements of a specific market. Developers need to know what countries to promote their app in. Everyone wants to cover the top grossing mobile markets, which means needing to localize the app’s metadata in the top languages. The list of the top ten languages to localize in includes:

  • The US
  • China
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • The UK
  • South Korea
  • France
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • Australia
  • Mexico
  • Taiwan

Localizing an app in these languages means bringing mass appeal to an app in a greater market than before. Take for instance the popular app Pokémon GO that became an international hit. When news broke about the app, fans across the world waited in anticipation, especially the Japanese, who presumed the app would launch in their language first due to Japanese store indexing in both Japanese and English terms. Instead of taking advantage of Japan’s indexation, the app launched in the US, Australia and New Zealand first. Niantic’s clever plan built up the hype and suspense for a mobile Pokémon app worldwide but overall upset Japanese users, one of their target audiences. Niantic’s error in localization is an example of why developers looking to localize need a strong strategy, despite having an app that was an international hit.

Your ASO Strategy Needs to be Global:

It is imperative to incorporate an ASO strategy in the localization process to generate discoverability and drive conversion in countries with a high volume of mobile app users. To successfully localize, developers need to pay attention to their target audience, user behavior and trends before they start choosing keywords to emphasize the app’s core features for that region. App localization is necessary to create visibility in other markets, but developers cannot localize an app without an ASO strategy to improve the app’s metadata.

Why Global ASO is Necessary:

User trends are different across different markets and regions, even among English speaking territories like the US and Canada. Specific trends and user behavior need to be monitored constantly to understand the international territory. Apps that feature English as the primary language cannot just start translating their pre-existing keywords into the language of choice. While keywords for an app in the US can be the same in Brazil, ASO best practices suggest that it is better to use words that are culturally relevant to improve the app’s metadata and further expand the app’s international market. Keep in mind that keywords cannot be combined across different speaking countries, but will be combined in same speaking countries.

How to Implement a Localization Strategy:

Keywords are important to the localization process because they help the app’s metadata become more discoverable in user searches. Based off user trends and behavior, the keywords are used in the app’s title, description to create visibility and screenshots to convert users. The metadata cannot just be translated into the intended language but needs to connect to current user trends to appeal. Adapting an ASO strategy will help developers understand their target audience better and understand which keywords work better in each mobile app market. The app’s creatives, screenshots, need to also be localized to target users in the new country. Screenshots need to reflect the elements from the country being localized to successfully convert users. There are some elements developers need to consider when localizing their screenshots to successfully localize. Developers need to:

  • Think about color schemes, trending features and what users want to see.
  • Screenshots being localized for Asian territories should not have Americans primarily featured.
  • Apps that feature social media, especially when localizing for China should adjust their screenshots to present the local social media that is actively used to target users accordingly.

Key Takeaways: To stay competitive in a continually growing market, developers need to make sure they are localizing right the first time by incorporating a global ASO strategy to penetrate high traffic mobile markets. Adapting an ASO strategy is the only way to gain visibility in a new territory and improve the app’s metadata (title, description and screenshots) to correspond with the intended country’s culture. The app needs to be repositioned with ASO to correctly appeal to the new target audience and have a solid foundation when venturing into a new territory to become a global hit.

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