Entering new markets from an ASO standpoint

App Store Optimization (ASO)

October 13, 2022

Entering new markets is about much more than just localization. When developers want to make their app or game available in new locales, the main focus is usually on translating the assets or planning a UA strategy to acquire users in these new places. But you can’t leave ASO out of the loop. 

Where should you go?

Knowing you want to branch out to other locales is just the starting point, how do you figure out in which country you should implement your product? There are several ways to go from there. If potential users have reached out to you already, asking about your app’s availability in their country, it could be relevant. 

So ask your community, knowing that potential users are waiting on availability in certain areas is a clear advantage, it means that people will be receptive to a launch. If your app answers a certain need, check out industry benchmarks and research in the area to see how well your product would fit the locals. 

For mobile games (and apps as well), you might want to consider where your competitors are settled. You could choose to settle in locales where there’s less competition which would give you a clear advantage in those regions. Local markets may be harder to break but if you’re one of the first there you may enjoy a bit of monopoly before other players join you. 

On the other hand, you could look at what your competition is doing and follow their lead.

You’ll know for certain there’s an audience waiting for you there and it’ll help you know which languages you need to target in priority. It’s up to you to see if you’d rather invest in mature markets or emerging markets with potential first.

It’s important to not view foreign markets as a whole, each market is different and has its own specificities outside of languages. It may be about adapting your visual assets but also sometimes it may involve joining an alternative app store to get your app in front of the right audience. In some countries like China, if you want to reach Android users, you cannot rely on the Play Store and will absolutely need to invest in an alternative app store. 

To know more about the relevance of alternative app stores, check out our blog post on the subject right here

It’s about more than translation

More than the choice of app stores, you’ll need to make sure that the cultural context of your app or game will be well received. You may need to adapt colors or visual assets, or even the way you frame information.

For example, Zofia Wietecka, Senior ASO Manager for Flo Health talked about it in episode 9 of the App Marketing Snack. Flo Health is an app dedicated to women’s health, it started as a period and fertility tracker and evolved to a more general health approach. This is a topic that is not approached the same way depending on the country you’re in, some have a more relaxed approach to things like periods for example whereas some countries may be more skittish towards that subject. 

Getting to know the culture in which you’re gonna implement your product is inevitable, if you want your app to succeed, you need to know how to promote it without alienating your audience. That includes familiarizing yourself with the culture you’re targeting to avoid taboo subjects and bad omens. 

It’s not only about the iconography and color schemes you’re trying to include, but sometimes even the overall design will need to be different. When localizing for the Japanese market, Simon Thillay, Head of ASO for AppTweak told us that it was one of the most challenging ASO experiences he faced because he needed to “not just translating the screenshots but really adapting them to the design codes and practices of the Japanese market. And learning so much with design codes that are very different from Western markets, much more cluttered screenshots for instance with three, four, five different layers on one screenshot, and having to learn all, to kind of get rid of our preconception of what is good design”.

This is pretty sound advice, for your localization to be efficient, you need to implement culturalization, and to do so, you will have to get rid of your preconceptions about what is or isn’t a good visual asset. You may be used to designing screenshots a certain way, but another country will do it differently and a European-style screenshot will not work with a Japanese audience. 

Last but not least, localize

This is the obvious step in entering a foreign market, when you’re planning to launch your app in another country, you already know you’re going to have to localize all your ASO content and this includes keywords, metadata, titles, subtitles, and most importantly: your visual assets. 

You cannot avoid a thorough localization, it’s an essential tool to build trust with your audience and use familiar cultural cues to reel them in. Not only that, but a proper localization will boost your prospect since over 70% of users are more likely to spend time and money on products available in their native language.

When starting on the localization of an app store listing page, people tend to focus on textual assets. After all, localizing metadata, titles, and keywords is the easiest part: you only need to hire a translator. Avoid relying on tools such as Google Translate, your translation will suffer and it will alienate your audience because being faced with descriptions filled with grammatical errors will make users think your app is of poor quality.

A good localization (including both textual and visual assets) can boost your conversion rate up to 26% according to StoreMaven, that’s quite a bonus!

Once your listing page is properly localized, don’t forget to keep it up to date. It means localizing every update you make but also paying attention to local seasonality. Every country has its own cultural moments, playing on seasonal assets for oversea locales could really boost your overall conversion. 

What’s the key to a good global ASO strategy? Let us know your thoughts!

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