How App Store Localisation Brings International Marketing Success

James Cooper

In App Marketing. September 21, 2014

Stefan Bielau is the managing partner of Dynamo Partners and spoke at the App Promotion Summit London 2014 on the topic of app store localisation.

The talk covered the following topics:

  • What Elements Of Your App Store Presence Can Be Localised?
  • What Impact Can You Achieve With Localisation?
  • How To Manage And Deliver Localisation Effectively

Now we’re able to share the video and audio recordings of the event and you can find this talk and more in our App Promotion Summit London 2014 Bundle.

App Store Localisation Video:

App Store Localisation Audio:

App Store Localisation Transcript:

Well hello everybody, thanks James, thanks Moritz. It makes it much more easier for me to get started with my presentation today. A few words about myself. I run Dynamo Partners, a consulting firm based in Berlin, Cologne as well as in Warsaw. Together with three other folks we advise usually in four fields. The first one is dedicated to figuring out what kind of content service idea you want to actually mobilize, what’s the technology behind, what are your expectations, your goals? We break that down into a business plan as well as a product concept.

Move into the second part which is taking the lead during development, turning that concept into an actual product.

The third one, user acquisition covering media planning, media buying, localization services, user acquisition in terms of the App Store environment and so on and so forth.

And last, but not least, we can help you out with everything related to analytics, figuring out who’s the user, what does he like, what does he not like? And bring that back to the product.

We work pretty hands on across all major categories, we work with fitness apps, security apps, games and so on and so forth. Today’s talk basically will cover three questions.

The first one, why I should actually care? I mean Moritz just gave some quite nice  impressive numbers at the end why and how localization helps to be more successful in the App Store.

The second part, what are the differences between the major stores when it comes to actually localizing your metadata, what can you imply, what works and what does not work?

And last, but not least, what I’ve learned over the last couple of years working with developers on my own, in terms of localizing the App Store details.

So, what better opportunity to answer the question, “Why should I care about it, what’s the reason why?” than using actual case studies and I’m more than happy to share some of those here today.

This is Real Boxing, a great, great 3-D sports game on Android as well on iOS. Built by some Polish development house called Vivid Games. Currently runs, I think, around 3.5 million downloads so far. Actually turned freemium two weeks ago, and those guys did last year a major effort in order to conquer three major Asian markets. So, we’re talking Korea, China and Japan. And what they’ve done, they took all the assets, keywords, title, description as well as the artwork, like the screen shots and the videos, in the stores plus added of course a language set in the app itself which catered to Korean, Chinese audiences as well as Japan as a market.

And on top of that, during those days when they launched the app and this was October last year, if you see the ranking behavior on the upper chart, they also reached out to Apple, they talked to a log of bloggers, gaming review sites in Japan, Korea and China in order to amplify this effort. And what they achieved was, and this is the number I can share with you, that their sales revenue increased by factor ten over the time of three weeks after they’ve done the update with the localization and the translation work. So, this is one example of where localization and translation actually drives extra sales when it comes to a game.

A non-gaming app, it’s our client for more than two and a half years, it’s Lookout, Inc. Based in San Francisco, mobile security application with round about 50 million users on Android mainly, and we work with them on performance marketing and App Store optimization here in Western Europe. So, we decided also last year, this was August 2013 to add some extra juice to our user acquisition and translate it, mainly the title and description, not the screen shots, into eight other languages and what we’ve seen is the biggest impact we’ve achieved were in these markets mentioned here, Brazil, India and Russia and comparing it to our pre download volume we’ve seen a 15% increase in those non-U.S. markets right away after introducing this major update.

Another client of ours, I cannot mention the name, it’s a French game developer, he’s developing a trivia game. Most recently we’ve worked with him on translation services, starting in May this year. This is a company, we’re talking about a small indie developer. Three people working very, very hard to make a living since the last two and a half, three years and we helped them out actually to translate their French metadata and advise them as well on keywords, and so on and so forth, into English. And what we’ve seen was 100% increase of weekly installs as well as on the revenue side we had this impact too. So if you take that into perspective three people, they had roughly $9,000 to $10,000 of monthly revenue before that, they basically doubled their monthly income just by translating it into English and now they want to accelerate and build on that with other languages as well.

Last case study, back to the big ones. Super Cell started to move into Japan as well with Boom Beach for iPhone and iPad. Interesting take, if you look at the title, they translated the title but kept also the original English name of it, because of the impact probably. Review sites and social buzz about the original name would have had also in the Japanese market. Here you see the ranking immediately jump right when they introduced the update on 24th April this year. The bottom is iPad, the upper chart is iPhone ranking. I looked up the blog post of this so this was great that the guys followed up. And they did a pre-post analysis of the impact on the download as well as on the revenue side. And they have an estimate that translating and localizing the application for Japan improved the download level by 17 and the revenue side for iOS by factor four.

So, those four, say, case studies might be an indication that actually localization helps. We’ve seen something from Sound Cloud before which was quite interesting and the question usually is to what level I can actually localize and optimize my meta data in the stores.

I will share my slides later on on my Tumblr, it’s AppStoreOptimization.tmblr.com so you can look up all the links behind those charts as well.

Just briefly you see the differences in languages supported by those stores, be aware that Amazon has quite a limitation when it comes to certain languages because it only supports eight in total. Video, and we will hear later on some presentations about video too, plays a significant part in those stores, or will at least when Apple supports it too. So, in some of those environments you can localize even down to the level that you support localized video versions of your app trailer or you promotion video.

Anything else? Well, Google has some extra material when it comes to screen shots because they support those seven and ten inch tablet versions of your screen shots. Those are those little differences, usually what I apply is I have a big spreadsheet for each store, where I have a list of meta data required. And then you basically, in order to prepare for launch or a major update you go through kind of a check list and say, “Okay, I’ve got this covered. I can translate, I can localize, yes, no?” This kind of thing is usually really helpful to deal with those problems. If you go the extra mile and publish through mainly alternative app stores for Android then it becomes kind of tricky and more complex, obviously. Interested to talk to Moritz how you handle that.

But there are tools out there, one is Codango, full disclaimer, I’m invested in this company. They help you with basically hosting your set of metadata in one environment on their dashboard. You choose those alternative stores you want to publish, you hit the button and you go live on all of them without going through each and every single store one by one manually. So, that’s a huge timesaver actually by the end of the day. Here as well you can localize, you can promote on a local level if you want to do this, getting an edge over competition. There are plenty of other stores who support localized metadata as well.

And last, but not least, a few things I’ve learned over the years. Obviously, it’s always a challenge, especially when you’re a smaller studio or an indie developer to make a decision, “Okay what languages I should launch with or which ones I should prioritize?” A good learning is you usually start with English to cover a major portion of the users and audiences out there and then take a good measurement where you see the strongest demand and cater to these audiences first. This is really helpful. For example if you see, if you have a lot more downloads coming out of Korea verses Indonesia then obviously that helps to make a decision to go with Korea first and then later on add Indonesia and others.

We’ve heard this before too, professional translation service always pays off. Once in a while I come across descriptions where you obviously see the developer has used Google translator or something like that, that is, you know, probably cheap but not very helpful in order to convert the user in the App Store. Imagine yourself coming to a page where maybe the artwork is really nice and compelling but the description or the title has even grammar or spelling mistakes and errors in it. Probably not so convincing to hit the install and download button at the end of the day.

We’ve most recently added a little extra to it. As soon as we get back the translation work from the agency, we have a set of native speakers. Usually students who live and breath mobile, who download a lot of applications who can relate to this kind of category we are looking into. So they do a little review and polish of some key words here and there or give a recommendation to tweak the professional translation into more of a natural language set. That was really helpful.

Also really important, a lot of your guys probably apply certain App Store Optimization techniques here. If you get the translation work back and you have limitations in the store like a hundred characters in the keyword line of Apple or 4000 characters in Google Play, don’t underestimate how long certain translations can become. If you take the English one as the original which fits into the 4000 but you get back the German or the Russian one which, you know, adds 2000 more characters then you have to start cutting it back. So, this is something that you should acknowledge before you are entering the translation phase for mainly your texts.

Apple requires 13 languages for global feature and we’ve seen that a couple of times when reaching out to Apple and talking to them that there is a certain set, well actually that set, also officially mentioned in their sessions during worldwide developer conference that if you want to have really a global feature that you work with them, hands on towards a launch you should support those languages. Otherwise you might get a local one or certain lower level feature but not the major ones like the App of the Day or editorial pick globally.

And last, but not least, I think, and that’s obvious if you want to really convert to the best result you have to align your App Store page to your user acquisition which should be really, really good localized, in terms of art work, call to action, the message and later on in the product as well you should find yourself as a user really fully covered when it comes to seeing the message, seeing the display banner, seeing the Twitter ad, for whatever reason, in your local language, and through the store get your native language experience and later on you install the app and open it. That’s the full line experience to achieve the best results, so to speak.

So, pretty quick. I will be around, happy to talk to you and also enjoy the other presentations. Thank you very much.