What is app store localization?
In ASO, one of the core components for going global is app store localization. App store localization is like app store optimization but in different languages and countries. The main two app stores are the Google Play Store and the iTunes Connect (aka the App Store). Though there are many other stores, each having the ability to localize to varying degrees such as the Amazon, Baidu, Samsung Galaxy, Oppo, Tencent, and Yandex to name a few. Essentially, iOS apps face limited distribution channels via iTunes, but Android apps can be uploaded to virtually any store.
In this article, we won’t focus specifically on one app store, but rather what are some common areas to localize and what you should be prepared to optimize for. Click here this link if you are looking for other localization specific resources.
Which languages are available?
Before getting started on any international ASO efforts, I’d recommend considering who your target market is and which store can they best be reached through.
For example, both the Play and App stores permit a developer to use different languages. Currently Apple has 39 possible languages, while the Play Store has 84. Other stores offer different possible combinations and dialects, which is important to take into consideration.
To get this process started ask yourself questions like: where is our user base?
Your app name or title
The name of your app is something you should really consider. How recognizable is your brand name? Should your app’s name stand alone or does it need explanation to accompany it? For example, let’s image we have an app for choosing the best conditions for potting a plant and we will call it GreenGrowth. If someone is looking for a solution to planting will they easily find this app? Or do you think they’d be better off with “GreenGrowth – help your plant grow in the optimal conditions”?
Obviously this is a really simple example – but it helps to illustrate the point. Consider how your title will sell your app. Now, take this into other languages – does GreenGrowth stimulate the same imagery that it does in English? Arguably no. That doesn’t mean the app cannot be localized, but it does mean you’ll need to be creative with how you present your app to other markets.
Your Subtitle or Short Description
After the title in most app stores, comes a subtitle or short description section where you can convey the idea of the concept of your app in a summarized phrase. This is a great space to sell your potential new user on why you are the best.
Our example of GreenGrowth needs to express how it can provide benefit. How about something like, “Your one stop resource for planting tips and tricks”. Maybe not perfect yet, but this gets the idea across.
This is also an extremely helpful section when it comes to translations. Since you might not win with your title, an opportunity to summarize gives a user the opportunity to better conceptualize your app’s benefit to them in their preferred language.
As you work through your title and app summary, it is time for the next phase of app store localization – describing your app in detail. This is the longest section where you can essentially write a full overview of what your app is, what it can do, describe features, and ultimately tell your viewers what makes you unique.
Truthfully, most people don’t read long texts any more. I’d be surprised if anyone is actually reading this sentence to be honest (if you do, let me know ?). However, this can be a great section to focus on the details. Write a lot, but don’t write too much. Try not to be repetitive, this might actually not work in your favor.
People love pictures. Images have taken the internet by storm and almost wiped out longer articles completely. People prefer to see how something works rather than read about it. Videos can also help here, which we will talk about next. Basically, think of screenshots as your book cover. Much like a book, CD, or magazine cover can increase your interest in what’s inside, your app store screenshots can intrigue a viewer into downloading your app.
Design your screenshots to appeal to a variety of users who may be interested in your product. When thinking about the localization of design, consider how some languages may look in that design. For example, Spanish tends to be longer than English. Ensure that you leave enough space for that. There are many other nuances here, possibly too many to describe in this article but think holistically about your presentation.
Like screenshots, with videos you can demonstrate the core functionality of your app or the value proposition in a matter of seconds. To a potential new user, this brings your app to life before they actually download the app. Think of this as a quick product trial.
For GreenGrowth, we might want to show case a how a user can search for tips to plant succulents. Therefore, we could illustrate the search functionality, succulent options, then choosing a succulent and getting the tips. In that, we successfully communicate what the app does and how it can benefit someone looking for planting tips.
In the same way as we have for screenshots, when thinking about localizations, we want to accommodate for other languages in this video.
Tags, Keywords, and phrases
The uses of keywords and tags varies by platform, but can be a useful way to increase the traffic to your app’s listing. Choosing your tags is a combination of research and testing. Tools like Google’s keyword planner can be helpful. There are many other tools specific to the app stores, but these tools are generally quite expensive.
Getting Started with app store localization
Now that you know what to optimize for, where do you go from here? If you are looking specifically for some insight into the main two stores, I can recommend my articles on the Google Play Store and iTunes Connect localizations. Both of those articles are able to go into more specific details about how to focus for each store.
If you are looking to work with someone directly, get in touch. I work with major brands on ASO and app store localization and can provide support and guidance to your team. I enjoy working with ambitious companies looking to take their products to new markets. Get in touch now!
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Stay tuned for more posts in the future on the Localization Blog.