Multilingual app store optimization: helping your app reach its destination, no matter where your users are

International success is within your grasp – all you need is the downloads. But how will future customers find you in their favorite app store? We’ll show you how to make sure your app is on the map – no matter where it goes.

There are more than four million apps in the world today, and another 100,000 launch every month. It’s not just getting people to use your app that can be tricky – even finding it in an app store is now a challenge. To make sure your target audience finds you, you’ll need to tailor your app store content to each new market. This is where multilingual app store optimization (ASO) comes in.

What is multilingual ASO?

App store optimization puts your app’s public image to the test. You’ll need to take the necessary steps to ensure users can easily find you, no matter whether it’s in the Apple App Store, Google Play, the Microsoft Store or the Tencent My App Store in China – every market has its own favorites now.

Regional search habits are therefore of top importance. Once you’ve taken account of these, it’s time to make adjustments to your content for every new language and each specific market. This will result in two things:

1. Better rankings in relevant categories and specific search terms.

2. More downloads and a higher conversion rate for your new markets.

Which areas does this affect?

The following elements have the biggest influence on search ranking and conversions in all app stores, no matter where users are based:

  • App name (iOS) or app title (Android)
  • Keywords
  • Ratings and reviews
  • App description
  • Screenshots and videos
  • App icon

If you want to ensure that all of the above are competitive, localization will be your ace in the hole. App stores already provide the necessary settings: Apple’s App Store offers 39 different languages and Google Play has 82. Languages are also regionally differentiated. English is split up between the US, Canada, the UK and Australia, while Spanish is divided between Spain, Latin America and US. All you have to do is select the most relevant ones and get started.

What first?

Always begin with the product page!

The app description is the first thing a user sees in an app store. If potential users don’t understand what the app is for, their interest will vanish. Localization should therefore start here – even before you adjust the app’s content! When adapting the text, remember to ask yourself the most basic questions. You already know the what (your app); you just have to answer the who, where, why and how. Check how these differ between markets to make sure your text ticks all the right boxes.

Re-research keywords

A different target audience or market means different search terms. And a simple translation isn’t enough to achieve ASO’s full potential. For example, a user from the United States will look for an app to help in planning their vacation in London, while a British user will do the same for their holiday in Los Angeles. This means it’s best to reanalyze keywords for each new market. Perhaps this is a good place to loop in your language services provider. Once you know which keywords the locals will be searching for, what you do with them depends on the store. The App Store has you enter them individually, while Google Play requires them to be incorporated into the description. Check performance regularly and update keywords when necessary.

Rethink your app’s name

Ask yourself: does the original name or title of your app work in every language? Reevaluating it for ASO is also necessary: including the main keyword in the app title increases app ranking by 10%. However, Apple only allows 30 characters in an app’s name and subtitle, while Google gives you 50 for the app title and short description. Make them count.

Adapt your appeals

Appeals to the user can be different in different markets too. There are often linguistic differences you need to take into account: while English has no distinction between polite and informal pronouns, other languages do – and referring to a French speaker with the informal tu in your app might sink it. You also have to take into account customers’ different expectations of how an appeal will be made. Some stereotypes have a grain of truth: German-speakers like information that provides concrete added value, while US-based users respond better to emotional appeals.

These factors are particularly relevant when you ask users for a rating. Markets have their own touchpoint trends, so clarify in advance whether it’s better to ask users in the app, during customer service or somewhere else entirely. Adapting your appeals appropriately increases your chance of positive reviews.

Localize creatives

What are creatives? In short, all of the visual parts of an app’s page: the icon, screenshots, images and videos. Adapt these to users’ cultural references to make them feel at home in the app. Research local landscapes, typical activities, regional trends and customer habits. Find out which holidays are celebrated and whether particular colors have strong associations. All of this creates authenticity for the customer.

Where translation works best… and where new copy could be necessary

At this point, you might be asking yourself, “Why not just create my content from scratch, all over again?”

As a rule of thumb, if you’ve already optimized for the app stores in your original language, you can take this content as a basis and have it transcreated for the new market. If you’re just starting out with promoting your app, or your target market is quite different from the first one, then it’ll pay to invest in new copy.

See an opportunity to optimize your app’s potential? We’re the optimal choice.

Cover image: Screenshot developer.apple.com



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