Why is Mobile App Localization Important?
Mobile app localization is vital if you intend to compete in foreign markets. This is an equally important step for both Android and iOS apps. In the past, international business was primarily the preserve of gigantic corporations like Ford, Coca-Cola, and Walmart. These industrial giants had the luxury of tailoring their products – and their prices – to suit the tastes of different markets. Fast forward to today, and businesses both large and small are competing in an increasingly global marketplace, in every conceivable industry. We’re learning that our values and interests aren’t quite as different as we once might have thought. Most of all, we’re learning via the internet that we all shop in similar ways. When it comes to the technology we use to go online and share information, we’re also growing closer together. Mobile devices have become tremendously important, both in highly-developed industrial nations and in those countries which are still developing. In many parts of the world, mobile phone and internet access are leaving conventional land lines in the dust.
What does this world mean for you and your company’s mobile apps? For one thing, it means that the potential market open to you is virtually endless. Apps are being used in every corner of the Earth. People are relying on mobile devices – and the applications they grant access to – for both work and entertainment. If you’ve put together an app that’s popular in your own country, the odds are excellent that foreign markets will be interested in it too. You just need the right mobile app localization to introduce your software to those new markets.
Mobile App Localization Success Story
If you’re looking for a mobile app localization success story, PokÈmon Go will teach you everything you need to know. Launched in the middle of July 2016, on both Android and iOS, the app racked up over seven million downloads in just its first week of availability. Granted, Nintendo and PokÈmon are both enormous brands, which carry their own thriving customer base with them, so they probably have a bit of an advantage when compared to your company. For all of their size and international marketing acumen, however, the companies behind PokÈmon Go still had to learn a few tricks about mobile app localization when they released the program.
The first countries to get access to PokÈmon Go were the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. Launches for other countries were slated for later – a smart move intended to build up anticipation in the territories that didn’t get access to the game from day one. The unexpected consequence of this was that consumers without official access to the app proved willing to do practically anything to get their hands on it. Illegal downloads and copycat apps ran rampant in the countries where PokÈmon Go wasn’t available.
Clearly, mobile app localization is a process that needs to be given considerable attention when you pursue international markets. Your user experience, languages, images, and roll-out plans all need to be tailored to your target market(s). Good localization work delivers the following benefits:
- Global Reach: Are you stuck in the 20th-century idea that the United States is still market # 1 for software? Get up to date! The majority of the world’s mobile app consumers are located in Asia. If you restrict yourself to a single-language app launch – no matter what your native language is – you’re missing out on huge markets.
- Virtually Unlimited Sales Potential: By this time next year, there will be nearly five billion active mobile subscribers in the world. Think how many sales you can make if your mobile app is localized to reach even a fraction of that total!
- Better ROI: Getting your money’s worth from your mobile apps requires users to download them. Localized apps perform significantly better on this front. According to research conducted by Distomo, localized apps (in this case on the iOS operating system) were downloaded 128 percent more often.
Localizing your next mobile app is about more than just making it available in specific regions, and even simply translating the text in your program is not enough. To fully realize the potential of the global marketplace, you need to account for the subtleties of different cultures. It will take real expertise to evaluate the factors that made your app a hit in its native language and then ensure that the same sort of user experience is available to users in a different country. Once your app has been localized by experts, you can turn it loose and have confidence in the fact that it will be appreciated just as much in other countries as it is in your own.
Why video game localization today is about more than just “speaking the language of gamers”
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