Going local can be a game-changer for app marketing and generating traction. Facebook is available in 84 different languages and is in the process of being translated into few more. Twitter is available in 32 languages. Gmail can be accessed in 58 different languages and Pinterest is available in 31 languages.
What is common between all these apps? They customized, diversified and localized.
App Localization, an integral part of app marketing, means to translate all the language elements of your app into another local language to target a specific country. While translation is one important aspect, keep in mind localizing your content or the business logic to adapt to that specific country’s laws and guidelines. For example, if you’re building a personal finance app, the laws will differ in every country.
The answer to this question is another question. Why limit your app promotion to just one market?
A sample study conducted by Appia found that 86% of the localized app marketing campaigns outperform the English language mobile app marketing campaigns in both click-through rates and conversions. Opening your app to specific foreign market can boost downloads by significantly 128% and revenue by 26% for each country added via app localization.
According to a report titled Can’t Read, Won’t Buy, 75% of customers prefer to purchase products in their own language.
Smartphone penetration is increasing in many markets apart from the US. Experts suggest apps would take over the desktop Internet market in China, India, Japan, Russia, Spain and Brazil over the next few years and this can be your opportunity to build sustainable traction.
App localization as a growth hack
App localization can be a growth hack for your newly launched app.
Take an example of Iliya Yordanov, founder of personal-finance app MoneyWiz. When he launched his app on the app store, getting through to the US media was tedious and most of them were unresponsive, owing to the number of emails they receive to review apps.
So Iliya went on to hack press coverage by localizing his app for a few select foreign markets with good app penetration – Russia, Spain, Germany, Italy and France – and contacting the media in those countries. The response and coverage from the media in these countries got them the No. 1 finance app ranking on the App Store. This helped them get noticed in the U.S., and they started going up the ranks in the U.S. app store, which got Apple’s attention to feature them.
And it then finally captured the fancy of the American media.
How to figure out target countries and regions?
Countries which have a high percentage of smartphone ownership and app usage or the ones that are growing at a rapid pace, should be high on radar.
Another factor which will help you narrow down the search is the category of your app for app promotion. For example, if your app falls in News Category, look for countries which have high consumption of news through mobile devices.
Completely Localize or Partially Localize?
The degree to which you must localize your app store profile or the app itself will depend on the localization resources at your disposal. But at a minimum, you should translate your app’s keywords and app description.
Harlem Shake Yourself app increased its downloads by 767% simply by localizing the app’s keywords.
The developer of funny dance video maker app, David Janner ran an experiment with app translation. He found that 76% of the total app traffic came from English-speaking countries prior to app localization. After localizing his keywords, the English language users accounted for only 10% of his downloads, while the total volume leapt from 3,000 per month to over 23,000 per month.
Challenges of Localization
Localization is one of the top reasons for apps getting rejected from App Store.
If you decide to localize your full app as part of your mobile app marketing strategy, you need to consider customizing the design based on the text input. Keep in mind that text often becomes longer or shorter when translated from English. For example, German, French, Spanish, Italian languages expands by about 20%. Korean, Swedish, Dannish may contract up to 20%. And then not to forget, languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, or Persian, where right-to-left (RTL) scripts are used. So, leave room for design.
Few symbols, icons, colours, or texts which works in one country, might not work in another country or region – consider localizing your app icon if it includes any of these elements.
For example, Coca-Cola included their company name in their overall localization strategy for China, because the direct translation for Coca-Cola in Chinese is ‘Bite the wax tadpole.’ So, they changed the iconic product name for Chinese market. The rebranded name translates into ‘Delicious, able to enjoy.’
Going further, you need to look for localizing the currency for in app purchases, important dates for push notifications, units of measure for conversions, and geographic factors for location accuracy.
Early on in your app marketing lifecycle, test your market to understand the need of localization for your app as the degree of localization will depend on the kind of app you’re building.