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5 Steps to Boost App Downloads with Localization!

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5 Steps to Boost App Downloads with Localization!

As the mobile app market keeps growing and new markets gain traction, localization becomes a very important step to take in order to increase an app/game’s success worldwide. Localization enables an app/game to reach a larger number of people and boost app downloads.


What is localization?

App localization is the process of making your app available in several languages but it is not just a simple translation, it is a work on the content itself. This implies learning about the market’s established cultural norms, societal attitudes and its unique view on the content of the app/game. It is adapting your app/game to a specific country, culture, and people. It basically goes from optimizing the metadata, tweaking the creatives (culturalization), to translating the in-game text.

Why is localization important?

As major countries in the mobile app market such as Japan or Brazil are not proficient in English, localization is vital to break into those markets. In fact, 8 of the 10 top markets by iOS downloads and 9 of the 10 top markets by Google Play downloads are non-native English markets and even though some big countries such as France and Germany are highly proficient in English, most users (60.6%) still prefer the content in their native language.

So, even with globalization spreading faster than ever, cultural and linguistic barriers are still with us today. In fact, as world languages are rising English is declining, making localization even more important than it ever was before.

If you consider expanding your app/game in other countries, you’ll need to optimize and localize it. The point here is to meet the local language and various cultural requirements in order to maximize your app’s performance and boost downloads.

Here is our 5-Step strategy to localize your app/game:

1. Conduct in-depth Research and Analysis

The first step in building an effective app localization requires doing an in-depth analysis of the trends and cultural differences in the country you are targeting. This ensures that the creatives and text convey the intended message. Localizing your app/game well will make it resonate with the target users and generate more downloads and positive reviews but a poorly localized one can have the opposite effect, which makes the research part extremely important.

The research helps you then create the right app’s visuals that are culturalized to the specific country you are targeting as codes, color nuances, type of fonts, and symbols vary from one country to another. The right visuals will make your app/game feel as though it was originally developed for the target market and thus make it more visible on the app stores.

As for keywords, it is very important to choose the most appropriate ones to the market you are targeting because a keyword can be very popular in one country but not so much in another. Also, in many languages the same word can be expressed in different ways (formal vs informal) and even using completely different spelling. For example, in Japanese “puzzle” can be “パズル” (formal) or “ぱずる” (informal). Knowing which version of the word to use and where is then extremely important.

Take also a moment to spy on your competitors’ creative and keyword strategy in your target country by using the Timeline feature on Apptweak.

2. Create a Semantic Dictionary

Once you’ve made your research, it’s time to create your semantic dictionary: a big bulk list of keywords (about 100-200 per app/country/language).

This list should include all the most relevant terms to your app, directly or indirectly linked to your app’s universe and purpose. Basically, any potential search queries that would lead to an app like yours.

You could start by building a Semantic Dictionary in your mother tongue and translate it to the target language. But you will find more relevant and high volume keywords if you build a keyword list in the local language from scratch. You can easily do that with AppTweak’s Keyword Tool. Picking tools like Ranked Keywords, for example, show you all the keywords competitor apps are ranking on in the local market, the App Metadata picking tool allows you to easily add any keyword local competitors have included in their metadata. Then, you can use the translate to english feature on Apptweak to make your analysis easier.

Once you have your initial list, try coming up with all combinations possible, including broad keywords and long tail keywords (niche keywords). One way to do that on AppTweak is to select a set of high volume keywords you consider relevant to your app/game and use the Keyword Shuffler to find long tail combinations of those keywords.

3. Use AppTweak performance indicators to make your final selection

Once you’ve built your Semantic Dictionary, it is time to start looking at the actual data using AppTweak’s Keyword Intelligence Tool. This step is highly important as it will help you clean up your semantic dictionary and make your final keywords selection.

The first step when selecting keywords for your metadata is relevancy. You should only target keywords that are related to the functionality of your app or/and the gameplay of your game. This way, your app/game will rank higher for relevant keywords instead of generic keywords as both stores want to show apps/games that match the user’s search intent. One way to make sure that a keyword is relevant to your app/game is to use the live search feature on Apptweak to check what apps are currently appearing top in its search results.

Once you have removed all the irrelevant keywords, you can use Apptweak’s Keyword Metrics to help you decide which keywords are worth targeting for your app/game:

  • Volume (Search Popularity) indicates how often a keyword is searched in the app stores. The volume varies between 5 and 100 and the closer it is to 100, the more popular the keyword is in terms of searches.
  • Chance and Difficulty indicate how hard it would be for your app/game to rank on a specific keyword. The higher the chance and the lower the difficulty, the more likely is your app/game to rank on that keyword.
  • KEI (Keyword Efficiency Index) generated by Apptweak indicates the visibility potential of a keyword for your app. It takes into account the Volume and Chance Score of a keyword so the higher is the KEI, the more potential that keyword has to increase your app’s visibility.

Once your final list of relevant keywords to target for your metadata is selected, check for long-tail combinations of those keywords and start coming up with suggestions for your app/game’s metadata (title, subtitle, short description, Keyword Field, etc).

4. Hire a native speaker

Once you have selected the target keywords you would like to include in your metadata, the ideal strategy is to hire a native speaker, preferably originating from the country you target because direct translation is not enough. Ask them to review your metadata suggestions and to give you a few additional variations for each suggestion based on the keywords you have selected. In fact, the structure of the sentence is very important as some structures make more sense and have better volumes than others in that language, which makes hiring a native speaker even more so important in finding the right way to convey your message.

But note that in order to get the most out of the translator, providing him/her with your selection of keywords and metadata suggestions is not enough. It is important to also provide the translator with all the necessary information about your app/game. The more information you provide and the greater understanding the translator has of your app/game; the better will be the quality of the localized metadata and the more it will resonate with your target users. So do not hesitate sharing as much information as possible before and even during the localization process.

5. Monitor, Iterate, Update and Repeat

When you’ve launched your new app update with your localized keywords, wait about 4 to 6 weeks and track the results.

Here again, AppTweak provides all the tools and data to facilitate your job! Discover our Keywords Monitoring features here.

We advise you to iterate this process regularly if you want to maximize your results. Both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store are fast-evolving ecosystems, in which trends and rankings constantly change.

It is thus crucial to update your app regularly in order to stay up-to-date with the latest algorithm changes to outrank your competitors effectively.

If you want to go one step further to see how your app/game is performing across different markets in terms of downloads and category rankings, check out our App Intelligence Add On and quickly identify your growth markets. Now, you can even select a set of your 15 most relevant keywords and see how you are performing on them across different countries and languages.


Localizing not only your app but also metadata is crucial when launching your app in new markets. AppTweak provides you with all the tools you need to help you with competitor research, keyword research and monitoring!

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