Early Start in App Localization Results in Better Global Reach
The industry of mobile apps turned 10 in 2018 and Statista forecasts that there will be 258.2 billion app downloads annually worldwide in 2022, a significant growth from the 178.1 billion downloads in 2017. The competition in app stores is fierce and app localization is crucial for your company’s global reach.
Design Your App with Global Reach in Mind
A report on apps usage by TechCrunch reveals that users from India, Brazil, China, South Korea, the U.S., France, the U.K., Japan, and Mexico tend to use at least nine apps per day. Targeting these markets is a way to expand your global reach by establishing your startup on the international market. As most of your target customers do not speak English, it is a wise move to localize your app. Offering a product in the mother tongue of the buyer will offer added value and boost user experience.
Many startups experience budget constraints and therefore preparing your app localization from its very development will actually curb costs. At this stage, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a professional translation agency that can not only have your content translated but also assist you throughout the localization process.
The process of app localization entails a few changes in the code, which represent a significant amount of work for your developers. Text strings need to be extracted from the code so that the text is available for translation and localization. The process takes time but the good news is that once the text strings are isolated, they can be used for any future translation and localization of your app.
A professional tip is to use Localizable.strings in your code, as shown by Marco Santarossa, an iOS Developer at Sky, in this YouTube video.
Another great idea is presented by software engineer Matthieu Rouif, who proposes to introduce two languages from the first development stages, as this is what he did while preparing the localization of the best app for 2014—Replay.
Research the Market
App localization can help your startup increase its global reach by attracting more users and entering new and more profitable markets, but only after proper research of the opportunities. It is not viable to rush into localizing an app into several languages prior to making sure that you will be successful on the given international market.
Do your homework and check if your app will be competitive in China, Japan, or Russia. Check if there are similar local apps and how you can outscore them. Do you have a better interface? Do you offer added value or optimal experience to the user? Is your price/quality ratio better?
Once you answer all these questions, you are ready to include the language in your localization list. As localization is a scalable process, you can start with one or two languages only and, once you manage to establish your app on the market, you can use the profit to invest in further growth.
Does Your App’s OS Matter?
Android and iOS are the two most popular operating systems, so you need to take this into account when developing your app. Thinking strategically, however, it is also necessary to research your potential target markets and check which of the two operating systems is more popular.
App Annie 2016 Retrospective reveals that in 2016 the total number of iOS app downloads exceeded 25 billion, while Android apps were downloaded 90 billion times. This can be indicative when choosing the OS for your new app but shouldn’t be the only factor to consider.
iOS users tend to spend more on apps so, if you are developing a high-end expensive app, it will be better to launch it on Apple Store. If you are targeting the general public with an affordable app, Google Play will be a smarter option.
Ideally, to boost your global reach, you should aim to get your app both in Apple Store and Google Play, which may be a hard endeavor for a startup, but can be part of your to-do list.
How to Make Your App Store Optimization a Success?
Focusing on enhanced user experience is crucial for a company’s global reach. Getting to your users requires an optimal ranking in the app store. Hiring a local app store optimization (ASO) expert to help you with your localization process is one of the smartest investments to make.
Keywords are the means to attract more users and to get better rankings by both Google Play and Apple Store. Include the main keyword in the title of your app and make sure that it is properly localized. Focus on building an intent-based keyword list following the tips provided by MOZ to avoid any confusion. As MOZ experts point out, you push a pram in the UK, not a stroller—a simple mistake in substituting the two words will compromise all your localization efforts.
App localization is not hard if you start with the right vision from the very beginning. It is worth the effort and investment, as it will boost your startup growth and global reach, and it will lead to tangible results and more downloads of your app in each country you have localized for.
You can learn more about localization and startup growth by downloading our whitepaper on “How Translation Technology Can Help You Scale Your Startup Internationally”.