App localization: how to enter the international market?
App localization is a crucial thing for any ASO professional. It may be absolutely necessary to make your app suitable for other countries and work on data, graphics, and keywords in a completely different way, taking into account the culture and mentality of potential users. Read this article to find out where to start and how to compete outside your area.
Why localize an app
Maybe you don’t get it right now why spend your time and money on localization. With this in mind, we’re offering a short checklist for you. If your answer to at least one item is ‘yes’, then it’s about time to think of a plan; otherwise, you may lose thousands, or maybe even millions of new users.
Here’s the checklist
- you’ve noticed that your competitors are becoming more proactive in this direction;
- you understand that you have a small user base and low ARPU (Average Revenue Per User);
- you’re dreaming of getting featured on the App Store’s home page;
- you’re planning to develop a deeper and more detailed marketing strategy;
- you’d like to increase your profits.
After the first yes, your doubts should’ve disappeared by now since someone has already been faster than you and is already winning over the smartphones of Spain, Poland or the Netherlands. An English-only interface won’t work if you decide to engage in a serious promotion worldwide.
Globalizing an app includes a set of actions to make all content international and relevant for other countries. The users should have a clue why they install your product, and you should speak their language in terms of both linguistics and culture. Add relevance and modern context here as well.
Once you’ve made up your mind with locations, check the percentage of iOS and Android users to distribute your budget properly. Now, let’s analyze the flow step by step, from text and graphic ASO to details that cannot be ignored.
Text ASO in localization
Step 1. Collect the semantics
The first thing to do is to translate the most popular queries using Google or DeepL and check the keyword popularity in the selected location. Then use the Keyword Explorer section to check what auto-prompts the translated keywords have, and add them to your list. Please note that you need to focus on values with SV (Search Volume) of 20 and above, because of the traffic. You can, of course, use lower SV values if there are no alternatives.
Step 2. Analyze the competitor keywords
At the semantics step, it is also important to analyze which keywords your competitors use. Just add the keywords to the Keywords Analysis tab, then go to Propose Keywords. Below are the keywords of competitors that may enhance your keyword base.
Step 3. Select the synonyms
Next, look for synonyms to your queries using synonymizers or Google and DeepL that could provide some more translations. Then look at the auto-prompts with those words and add queries of SV 20 and above to your list. Keep in mind that meanings of words may change if other words are added to the context and double-check the translations of collocations to make sure those are the queries you need.
Step 4. The next step is to come up with a concise app title while keeping the keywords
Ask a professional translator or a native speaker for tips on how to use a collocation right. Once you’re ready with the steps, you can start using the principles of basic text optimization.
Graphic ASO in localization
The major principle is to immerse into the selected culture to get an understanding of how to reach the right audience.
You may study the meaning of colors, symbols, gestures, and animals. National color studies are quite special to researchers in the field of branding and the psychology of color. The International Color Guide by design professor Suria Vanka has become the most popular among those who study customer behavior. The guide keeps helping marketing professionals choose colors right. Another color guide, the International Color Symbolism Chart, is quite convenient to compare how primary colors are perceived in different regions of the globe. Keep in mind that, when combined, colors may change their meaning and message. Before developing an app page design for another location, you may study this topic in detail.
A tiny addition: if you use photos of people in screenshots, take into account their race, skin color, and gender. If your app is multinational, it may be worth considering how to please the majority.
The next aspect is the national holidays. They can be an excellent chance for situational marketing and a great way of increasing the number of installs. Get ready for St. Patrick’s Day and design your app page in the holiday theme. Add thematic keywords to your metadata to cover queries that will be popular at the time – and increase your installs.
The Easy Run case shows how detailed the work on graphic ASO can be. Below you can see the US version while the second image is the version for Mexico.
Unlike the minimalistic design focused on weight loss that looks good in the US App Store, the graphic elements are adapted very differently for the Mexican audience. The difference is enormous as you can feel the dynamics in the screenshots. The design is bright-colored with an emphasis on a balance between exercise and nutrition. And, most importantly, just look at the girl. This is a Hispanic girl, that is, a ‘familiar’ person to Mexicans. The outcome: after the localization, conversion to installs from the app page increased by 39.42%.
This case shows that you should work on ASO for other countries in a comprehensive manner, and you absolutely should pay attention to the needs of users, their interests, lifestyle, mentality, and even climate features first.
For graphic ASO analysis, you may want to use the Comparative Analysis section in Checkaso. The service makes it possible to study what your competitors change in their graphic ASO at different periods and for different locations. This way, you’ll get a clearer understanding of what else can be improved and you may find new insights for efficient graphic ASO localization.
Checklist with important details
Before you’re ready with your app localization, make sure you haven’t missed any important details.
- All keywords are used in the correct form and your native speaker hasn’t distorted them. It’s very important to monitor this since a new keyword is a completely different keyword with different popularity and different queries.
- The collocations look good or almost good. Why “almost”? It’s important to have a good conversion to installs, but it is worth considering if changing a keyword with good traffic for a less popular keyword with a good conversion is a necessity. Still, 100 installs with a 10% conversion are better than 10 installs with a 100% conversion.
- Make sure you’ve taken into account the cultural features and your collocations are not ambiguous.
There are exceptions everywhere. If your app has little content and it is understandable at an almost intuitive level, then you don’t need to localize it. An app with photo presets and photo filters is a good example. Still, you may want to check if there’s traffic for local keywords. For example, фото may be more popular in Russia than photo, and vice versa in another country. Test your hypotheses and do your best to use any extra opportunity to increase traffic. Localization is a long and complex process, but the results may please you greatly.