App Store localization on iTunes Connect is a great way to make your product known to more users through discoverability and also offer a more seamless user experience for other languages your user may speak. It is also a crucial component of ASO or app store optimization as you go international. App Store localization is available for a 39 languages, which is a 11 language increase from early 2018. The Google Play Store offers 84 languages.
Why localize your App Store listing? For a new app, this can be a great way to test the water on organic user acquisition, but for more established apps localizing your listings almost becomes a necessity. (When you do decide to localize make sure to avoid localization blunders.)
Why you should not localize your App Store listing? There actually are a few imaginable situations where you may not benefit much from localizing your Store listing. One would be if you are only ever going to offer your app in one market. Another would be that if you don’t currently or never plan to actually offer the language in your app. In this case, having a localized listing but not offering the language in your app could lead to disappointment and confusion from the user who organically finds your app listing in their language, but upon downloading it receives a different language.
Which factors matter for the App Store search algorithms? No one except Apple truly knows what weight each listing component has, but there are a few which are commonly known. In terms of searchability, or SEO, the most important factors for your App Store listing are your title, subtitle, and keywords. On the aesthetic side, many other factors can contribute to your listing’s success such as screenshots, videos (preview), icon, and of course your product description.
This infographic by SensorTower does a great job of illustrating the most impactful aspects of app store optimization.
Adding App Store localizations is fairly easy assuming you have all of the translated text and creative assets readily available. If you haven’t gotten through this step, I’d recommend working with an LSP (language service provider), SLV (Single language vendor), or internal resources. My localization blog here, can give you some thoughts on that. When you consider which languages to add to your app store listing, you may want to review your current user base to see if there are any languages or countries that stand out. Additionally, you may want to focus on countries or languages where you data shows potential for growth.
Localizations available in the App Store
The table shows all of the languages currently enabled by Apple for your App. The locale codes listed are the ones commonly associated with each language. Locale codes can be very detailed and there are several thousand of them. A detailed explanation of locales goes beyond the scope of this article, but if you are unfamiliar with them you may find the ISO 639-1 and ISO 3166 pages useful.
*One important clarification: just because Apple only has a set number of languages in their store listings, your App can actually offer different languages. The only caveat with that is that you will not be able attract iOS users in those languages organically with a store listing.
**The locale that Android devices usually reports for Hebrew is he. On the other hand, iOS uses iw.
Screenshots and Videos
Screenshots are necessary to add an App Store listing. Different products choose to focus on different characteristics of their app. It mainly depends which value propositions you are trying to portray. It also depends on the type of category your App is listing it. Since we are talking about localization, remember that the value proposition of your product might not be the same in different regions around the world. Here’s a link to the Apple Store Connect help article which contains the specs by screen size for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV & Watch.
Videos in your App listing, referred to as App preview by Apple, help to make your listing pop, but are not a required field. Remember that if you will be localizing your App listing, it’s best to also consider localizing a video if you have one in your App’s native language. Here’s a link for the App preview specs.
Bonus: Character Limitations
One important consideration when you are adding listings and localizations to your App Store is character limitations. Text expansion or reduction is one of the most common localization issues and challenges. It is highly relevant for UX/UI designers but also comes into play when there are limitations on the number of characters you can use.
Here’s a small cheat sheet with character limitations in the App Store:
|Category||iTunes character limit||Searchable?|
If you plan to use source content in one language make sure you account for differences in text length in the target. For example, let’s say that your listing is in English (US), but you plan to add Spanish (Spain). In this circumstance text expansion will be a likely scenario meaning that the Spanish version of the text will typically be 20-60% longer in character length than a source English copy.
Have you done any App Store localization before? Are you planning to soon? Start a discussion with us below.
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