Great! Tens of thousands of Americans have downloaded your app and are even happy with it. You continue to buy media that targets relevant users and have even optimized your keywords for maximum visibility in the app stores. But you want to do something more, something bigger. Localization is a great marketing strategy that can bring strong results without spending too much time and money to execute.
The world is a big place
There are nearly 2 Billion mobile phones in the world. 2 Billion! App marketers usually focus only on the United States, but that is a huge mistake. Check out (below) the surprising rankings from App Annie highlighting the Apple App Store & Google Play Store. As you can see, within the Apple App Store China users downloaded more apps than users in the United States did and on the Google Play Store, Japan users generated more revenue than United States users.
Localizing your app store pages not only drives additional revenue since you are reaching new audiences, but your app will become more reputable in the United States as reviews and download totals are combined throughout the world. As you can see in the screenshots taken from the Google Play Store below, the app has the same amount of reviews in China and in the United States.
Times are Changing
Brands and startups are recognizing the importance of the global market so much so that they are launching in foreign markets instead of focusing on the United States first. Tonara, a maker of apps that help students learn to play music, recently raised 5 Million dollars from Baidu Investments in order to help break into the huge Chinese market. There are tons of other startup stories like this and look for this trend to continue.
Cultures are Different
So now that we understand that America is not the only place startup marketers should be targeting let us elaborate why it is important to do separate keyword exercises for each country you want to localize your app for.
First off, words in different parts of the world do not necessarily mean the same thing. The Chevy Nova is the perfect example to illustrate this point. After the Chevy Nova launched in Latin America, not many people bought it. Soon the American marketers discovered that in Spanish ‘Nova’ translates to ‘It doesn’t go’.
In addition, cultures think differently. So different in fact Roamer, an app that helps users avoid roaming charges on their international calls, had to perform two separate keyword research exercises for the United States and the United Kingdom. You can see the fruits of its effort in its different title and descriptions. In the United States Roamer’s app title is “Cheap calls & roaming SIM app”. On the other hand, in the UK the app title is “Cheap Roaming Calls & SIM Swap”.
Many app store pages also have different screenshots. Google Photos, an app page we assume is fully optimized for the Google Play Store, displays a different screenshot on the Russian Google Play Store when highlighting its ‘assistant feature’. We can assume Google Photos A/B tested a few screenshots and learned that Russians for some reason related to the rock building picture more than the hiking pictures.
The Importance of Translation
Once you understand that cultures think differently it is time to start translating your app pages.
Translating your app pages boosts your app’s visibility in the app store. Believe it or not, not everyone in the world can read English. In addition, many people that can read English as a second language feel much more comfortable reading their native language. In fact, according to Gala “56.2 percent of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.”
An often over looked reason languages should be translated is a keyword character issue. Let us compare Roamers title in English and Traditional Chinese. In English, on the Google Play Store, Roamers name is “Cheap calls & roaming SIM app”. In Traditional Chinese its title is 國際長途voip電話，使用當地SIM卡，呼叫接聽减免漫遊費which translates to “International long distance voip calls, using local SIM card , call pickup relief roaming charges.” Both titles are 29 characters, but the Traditional Chinese title obviously conveys a much longer message. This character saving hack is not limited to Traditional Chinese.
The Importance of Transcreation
“Wonderful, all I need to do is plug in my title and app description into Google Translate and I am done,” said way too many people. If only localization was that easy. Instead, have real people who understand ASO translate the descriptions. In addition, ask these professional translators to give you input on your screenshots. These people should have experience in transcreation, the process of recreating precise brand content for multilingual consumption.
Every brand and startup that is serious about marketing their app will localize their app pages for many countries. It enables to keep up with the competition and in many cases beat them. Make sure when you begin to localize your app pages to hire the right people that have experience translating app store pages and optimizing for foreign countries.
If your app localization strategy is executed correctly your apps will get more downloads and more ratings. More downloads usually leads to more revenue which makes everyone besides your competitors happier.