ASO Tips – How to Localize for the Holidays

November 23rd, 2017

ASO Tips – How to Localize for the Holidays
David Bell

by David Bell

CEO at Gummicube, Inc.

The holidays are just around the corner and app developers all around the world are updating their app’s metadata to let users know they are ready for the holidays. One thing developers have to consider when preparing their app’s metadata is how different territories celebrate the holidays. App developers that have their app deployed in multiple territories already know the importance of localization. What they might not know is how users in different territories take part in the holiday season. Some territories celebrate their version of Thanksgiving at different times, while some don’t celebrate it at all. IMG_E377F7174CCA-1As we move into December, many developers are looking to target Christmas, a holiday that some territories don’t celebrate or celebrate differently. Developers need to pay attention to the differences among territories. For instance, Japan celebrates Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day, and part of India celebrates Christmas by decorating banana and mango trees. It’s differences like these that developers need to pay attention to when localizing their apps for the holidays. If any developer is worried or unsure about where to start in the localization process, they can follow our tips to aid them this holiday season.

Tips for Localizing During the Holidays

1. Know the Audience For every app, there is a specific audience. The first step of any localization process is to first examine the audience, or more specifically the user trends and behavior. Developers need to note specific differences among territories to know whether they should address recognizable holiday icons by different names. Let’s say developers used the same metadata across the US and UK. While both are English speaking territories, they have different spellings and each celebrates the holidays differently. Developers need to understand differences like whether to use Santa Claus, which is more common to the US, or Father Christmas, which is more common to the UK. Developers also need to know what territories don’t celebrate the holidays to avoid accidentally deploying metadata that is not relevant to a territory. For example, deploying a Diwali-themed icon in China would probably not have the same conversion impact as a deployment in India. Understanding elements that are specific to each territory will help developers know what their users are interested in. This knowledge will also help developers determine which high-volume keywords to target and creatives to adjust during the holiday season.

2. Target Keywords Relevant to Each Territory

Developers can’t magically make their app more discoverable for the holidays. They need to incorporate high-volume, relevant keywords throughout their app’s metadata to become more relevant to user searches. The targeted keywords shouldn’t all be exchanged for ones that relate to the holidays, but developers should make sure they integrate some keywords that are relevant to their app’s core features. Let’s say there’s the same travel app available in the US and AU. While the developer can target similar keywords across both territories, they’ll need to make sure that each set of keywords is relevant to that territory’s audience, vernacular and celebrated holidays. If the developer wanted to target the keyword “holidays and vacations,” App Store Intelligence Software like DATACUBE can help them understand the potential impact of that keyword on a territory-specific basis. From our research, “holidays and vacations” doesn’t have much volume in either territory, but does have moderate-volume in the US as opposed to low-volume in AU. Knowing which keywords have the most potential within a given territory can help developers understand what keywords to target and where. Trying to target the same keywords across all territories leaves missed opportunities on terms that may be relevant in one area, but irrelevant elsewhere.

3. Localize Creatives

Creatives, which are the app icon, screenshots and preview video, need to be localized per territory based off user trends and behavior specific to the territory. Since each territory celebrates the holidays differently and has specific elements that are more recognizable than others, developers need to make sure that they are targeting territories accordingly. Depending on the territory, a different icon, set of screenshots or preview video may engage with that territory’s audience better. If we compare the Walmart icon for the US and China, we can see that each one is different. Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 2.35.45 PMWalmart’s iOS app icon is custom tailored for the busy US holiday shopping season, complete with imagery of a gift box for Black Friday and the holidays. In territories like China, where Christmas and Black Friday are less popular and do not have the same associated high-volume keyword terms, the icon is unchanged. This allows Walmart to capitalize on current seasonal trends in the US, while maintaining their audience in other territories.

4. Make Sure Paid Campaigns are Ready

Developers can turn to paid campaigns such as Apple Search Ads or Google UAC to help give their app a competitive advantage at becoming more visible in the app stores. If developers are using Search Ads, they will need to take extra care with holiday updates. Apple’s algorithm does look at the app’s metadata to determine if it may be relevant for a targeted Search Ads keyword. Without this, simply targeting “holiday game” may not have an impact on how often Search Ads appear.

Be Prepared & Localize Now

Developers need to start getting their app’s metadata together for the holidays. If they have apps in multiple territories, they cannot have the same metadata and instead need to take the time to monitor user trends, behavior and keyword volume tied to the holidays per territory. No one wants to make the mistake of adding holiday elements that are not relevant to specific territories. Developers need to take the time to monitor what engages best with their audience per territory to successfully localize their app for the holidays.

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