how-to-localize-mobile-app

Did you know that localizing your app can increase your downloads by tenfold?

Are you looking for an affordable strategy that you can use to localize your app and increase downloads?

In this article, you will discover the the power of localization including the tools and tricks that you can use to increase your downloads.

Please note: this is a chapter directly from my eBook – Double Your Downloads.

Why You Should Localize

There are 28 regions in the App Store and each county has its own App Store. It’s important to remember that users in various countries will read and search the App Store in their native language.

It would be naive to think that the world only searches for apps in English.

Unless your app is designed for a specific region, take the time to localize your app in every language. You never know who will find your app useful.

gonzalo-quote

My good friend Gonzalo Juarez is the co-founder at eTips, the number one publisher of mobile travel apps. As a company they are well into the millions in revenues generated from the App Store.

Gonzalo has shamefully admitted that they do NO PAID MARKETING whatsoever.

So how do they generate millions of dollars with no marketing? Well he focuses on App Store Optimization (ASO) and in particular localization.

Localizing his apps have led to over 200% increase in downloads for eTips and downloads in countries where they didn’t have exposure in before.

I will breakdown his strategy along with provide the tools and tricks that he recommends.

Step 1: Keywords

The first step is to localize your keywords. If you are on a budget, you can use tools such as Sensor Tower or Google Translate to get a direct translation of your keywords.

Keyword translation using Sensor Tower

Keyword translation using Sensor Tower.

While these free tools are not the most accurate at times, they are perfect for keywords since you are translating single words and not phrases.

Using these tools, you should localize your keywords for all 28 regions. Note that all the regions limit you to 100 characters.

If you prefer a paid solution, I recommend using Gengo.

Step 2: App Name

If you have some money to spend, the next step is to localize your app name. Along with your icon, this will be one of the first things that your potential users will see.

localize-app-name

Step 2: Localize your app name.

Be sure to use human translation services instead of automated tools. You don’t want to mislead users.

Unlike keywords which are hidden from users, the app name is front and center. Therefore, if you want to be extremely careful about the accuracy of your translation.

Misleading users in the app name can lead to 1-2 star ratings in the App Store.

Using services such as Gengo, oDesk or OneHourTranslation.com will help you have a more accurate translation. Be sure to hire a proof reader after the initial translation to ensure the most accurate translation.

Step 3: Screenshots

Localizing your screenshots can have a huge impact on your downloads since 70% of the people downloading apps based their decision on screenshots.

The downside is if your app’s content is not localized, then you may get a few angry customers who feel you mislead them. If that’s the case, then it’s important to only localize the text outside the app and not the text within the app.

localize-screenshot

Marketing text is localized while the content within the app is English.

Gonzalo suggests that you still localize the screenshots even if you get a few angry customers. “I prefer more downloads, you will be able to get more stats on who is downloading your app and may even discover a market that was off your radar. Once you have the data then you can then localize your app content.”

Step 4: Description

Localizing your description has the same downside of localizing your screenshots. You may upset a few customers who thought the inside of your app was localized as well.

However, the upside is worth the downside.

localize-description

Focus on the first 2 lines or paragraph of the app’s description.

Be sure to focus on the first 2 lines or paragraph as most people do not read the whole description. Utilize this space to highlight the main benefits of the app or any social proof worth mentioning.

Conclusion

“Your customers are all over the world, but not everyone speaks your language.”
Gonzalo Juarez, co-founder at eTips

The first step to increasing downloads is to localize your keywords using free tools such as Sensor Tower or Google Translate.

If you have a budget, you should use translation services such as oDesk or OneHourTranslation.com when localizing your app name, screenshots, and description. Make sure you also hire a proof reader to double check the translation.

I’ve personally used Gengo which was recommended by a past guest who increased downloads by 10x through localization.

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Steve Young

Founder at AppMasters
I started building apps in 2011 and my first app hit #8 under educational games. I started making a few hundred dollars a month, but had no idea what I was doing. Then in 2013 I decided to start a podcast so I could pick the brains of app creators that I admired including the co-founder of Shazam, Tapbots, Crossy Road, etc and that changed everything.

Now I run an app marketing agency where we’ve helped 8 clients get featured by Apple, 5X downloads with ASO, and get coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.