Lesson 8 - Get More Downloads by Localizing

Although this ASO strategy could have a huge positive impact on your downloads, we have not mentioned until now because it is not for everyone.

In this lesson, we will explain what localization is, why you may need it and how to find out if you should implement it. If it is for you, then we will then give you some tips on getting started without a lot of risk.

What Is Localization?

Localization is the process of translating your app so that it can be understood in other countries. Depending on what kind of app you have, this can be as simple as just translating words, or it can be as complex as converting date/time conventions, standard units of measure and cultural preferences.

What Is Internationalization?

Internationalization and localization are often used interchangeably, but the exact definition of internationalization is slightly different. This is how the Apple Developer Website defines it:

“Internationalization is the technique for organizing localized resources so that an app can select the user-preferred set of resources at runtime.”

So localization is the process of translating the individual parts of your app and internationalization is the process of putting those parts together. But for discussion purposes, they are the same thing.

Now that we have the definitions out of the way, let’s take a look at how to localize.

Localize the Right Way

You may think that localizing an app is as simple as putting all your text into Google Translate and calling it a day. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are countless nuances in foreign languages that Google Translate cannot detect. So it is important that you work with a native speaker or professional translation service.

But that will require an investment of time and money. Is it really worth it?

It depends on what kind of app you have.

Should You Localize?

It is actually easier to figure out which apps should not localize, so let’s start there. If your app is specific to a certain geographic location, then you probably don’t need to localize.

For example, let’s say that you manage an app for a local bank with three branches in Houston, Texas. In this case, you obviously don’t need to make your app available on the Chinese App Store.

But if you do have an app with possible worldwide appeal (games are good examples), then localization can make your app available to a much wider audience and greatly increase your downloads.

Translating your app into multiple languages can be a huge undertaking however. Even translating your app for one language can be a big job, especially for smaller publishers.

On top of this, there is no guarantee that all of that effort will be worthwhile. So how can you test the market to find out if localization will work for your app?

The next section will show you how to start small and test a market before allocating the significant resources required complete a localization.

Localization Testing

Luckily, you can test how well your app might do without going through a complete localization.

You can just localize the elements of your app that appear on the app stores. This means translating your app description, keywords and possibly your title and screenshots.

Doing this significantly reduces the amount of work that needs to be done to put your app into a foreign app store. If people start downloading your app, then you know that there is a good chance that your app will be worth localizing completely. If you don’t get any downloads, then you saved yourself the hassle of localizing your entire app.

Downsides to Testing

Although this sounds great, there is a downside to this testing method.

While testing can yield valuable market data, not having a completely localized app can lead to negative reviews. People will download your app, thinking it is in their native language, only to find out that it is in English.

To get around this, you can test a clone of your app. You can also test it for limited period of time to minimize the damage to your ratings in that country.

Tracking and Optimizing Localized Keywords

The same principles that we discussed in Lesson 3 apply to international keywords. You are looking for keywords that are highly relevant to your app and have a Difficulty Score that your app can rank in the top 10 for.

If you have an account with international keyword tracking enabled, you can change your target country in the upper right corner of your Sensor Tower dashboard.

You can now research, track and get data on each localized keyword. The optimization process is the same. Your goal is to rank in the top 10 for all of your localized keywords. Keep testing and optimizing until you get there.

Conclusion

If you have an app that could have international appeal, localizing could have a huge positive impact on your downloads. Although localizing an app can be a big project, testing your app first can be a great way to prove that there is a market before spending the time and money required to make all the changes.

Congratulations!

You now know all the basics of App Store Optimization for the Apple App Store and Google Play. But having this knowledge is just the beginning.

There are three things that you have to do now.

  1. Put this knowledge to use and start tracking your keyword rankings. You can get started with our  free trial.
  2. Consistently work to improve your rankings. Remember that ASO is an ongoing process, not a one-time event.
  3. Continue to educate yourself on advanced ASO techniques and marketing outside the app store. Although this lesson is the last lesson in the ASO Academy Beginner’s Course, this is just the beginning of your education.

Conditions in the app stores constantly change and we want to be sure that you stay on top of the changes.

We will periodically post tips and industry stories on the Sensor Tower Blog that will extend your education and help you get more downloads. We are discovering new techniques and adding new features all the time, so be sure to stay tuned to learn about our latest finds.

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