Top Tips for your App Store Optimization Localization Campaigns

September, 5 2017

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Did you know that the top 5 countries averaging the most time spent on Android apps are all located outside of North America and Europe? Or that for the last couple of years, emerging app markets such as Brazil, Russia, India or Mexico have shown higher growth rates than developed ones?

Publishers who truly want to capitalise on the growing global app economy need to think about a rational localisation strategy.

And by strategy, we do not mean taking titles, descriptions and keywords from your default market and machine-translating them. This can bring some quick wins, especially in less competitive markets, but it’s not sustainable.

Here are our top tips for a truly effective ASO localisation campaign.

Hire native speakers with good language skills

Why? Two main reasons.

1) They will write correctly.

The only assets in which you are potentially allowed to make errors are keywords on iOS (they are not visible to users). All other ASO content (such as the title, screenshots and descriptions) is visible to your audience in the app stores and therefore has an impact on conversion. You simply cannot afford to have low-quality translations if you want your app to be seen as a high-quality product.

app store algorithm

2) They will target relevant keywords.

Native speakers will avoid common pitfalls such as ignoring words that seem irrelevant to non-native speakers or choosing terms which don’t have a lot to do with the app but for some reason come up in the keyword research phase.

When optimising for France, would you associate the word “Hubert” with the Uber app? A native speaker will know that “Hubert” is actually a popular misspelling of the ride-sharing app’s name (the pronunciation of both words is the same). Or would you guess that the extremely high search volume of the keyword “Dania Polska”, machine-translated as “Polish dishes”, actually comes from football fans looking for information on the Denmark – Poland match? (“Dania” means both “dishes” and “Denmark” in Polish).

Relevancy is also important from a conversion point of view. Screenshot callouts in Mexico should not contain words specific to the Spanish market because they will not sound natural to Mexicans. Only native speakers are able to capture these differences.

Hire native speakers who are marketers and understand ASO

Good copywriting skills in your native language are not enough. Working with people who understand the principles of search in the app stores is crucial for getting the most out of your localised ASO campaign. A marketer with experience in ASO will know:
How to estimate traffic on keywords.

A Korean marketer will know that data from Naver and Daum search engines is more telling for South Korea than metrics from Google’s Keyword Planner. Also, native speakers who understand ASO will filter out terms that are specific to web search and base their choices on their knowledge of how users actually look for apps.

For example, the Search Popularity metric in Apple’s Search Ads console (based on real search data) is a good indication of what types of searches are the most popular in the app stores.

app store optimization localization

app store algorithm

Images from Appsflyer

Knowledge about real volume on searches in markets where Search Ads are available should be taken into account when choosing keywords in local markets.

They will know the importance of the difficulty metric. 

An ASO campaign will only be effective if you choose keywords that you are able to rank for in the top 20 (or even the top 10). The difficulty metric - provided by tools like Keyword Comparison by Priori Data - lets you estimate these values and choose the most promising keywords. Your current rankings should also be taken into account (especially on Android), as well as your overall app’s performance (downloads, ratings, conversions, etc.)

WARNING: Don't forget any of these app store algorithm considerations

  • Which elements have more weight (title, subtitle, short and long description)
  • How the publisher name and in-app purchase titles are indexed (stay tuned for iOS 11 for huge changes in the way in-app purchases are displayed)
  • How Apple forms combinations of keywords and why this is important (opportunity to cover more keywords by choosing more combination-friendly words)
  • How Apple indexes the plural version of a word if the singular one was added to the meta data, and vice-versa (this does not work in most markets outside of the English ones)
  • What languages you will rank for automatically, on top of the local keywords added in a new localisation
  • How Apple and Google index words that are written without spaces in languages such as Japanese, German or Dutch
  • What are the various input types and different keyboards used in markets such as Japan and Russia.

Approach each market individually…

…but don’t hesitate to test successful tactics in other markets. An iOS Search Ads campaign (for now, only available in English speaking countries) may also help with establishing which keywords bring the highest conversion rates for your app or game and may be useful when entering new locales.

Consider using a localised ASO services company to cut costs

Hiring freelancers for each market, building out your own ASO process and learning about each market’s distinctive features can be very time-consuming. If you choose to outsource your ASO, make sure you only consider companies with sufficient experience in multilingual ASO and access to experienced native speakers, to avoid some of the most common ASO and localisation mistakes.

Read more >> The Priori Data ASO Book


To sum up, if you want to reach a global audience and extend your app’s presence worldwide, make sure you follow these steps:

  1. Choose markets you want to localise in, based on knowledge about phone and app usage, competitors or monetisation patterns in a particular country
  2. Localise in-app content – you do not want to be selling an app in a local language if its content is not translated
  3. Localise the app store listing, i.e. written content and other marketing materials (screenshots, video, feature graphic). Don’t forget to have the translations reviewed!
  4. Test, analyse and optimise!

By Agata Jajszczyk, ASO Manager @ Adapt Worldwide 

The Ultimate Guide to 360° App Store Marketing

This article is part of a bigger project by Priori Data and Peggy Salz — a mobile authority, industry educator and lead author of The Everything Guide To Mobile Apps and Apponomics: The Insider’s Guide To A Billion Dollar Business— are working on: an e-book titled THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO 360° APP STORE MARKETING.

The aim is to bring together a select group of recognized ASO experts and ninjas including Moritz Daan (Phiture, ex-Soundcloud), Thomas Petit (8Fit) and Charo Paredez Ortiz (DOCOMO Digital), to name a few. It’s a free resource focused on giving app developers everywhere on the planet what they need to grow their business on a budget.

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