Mobile app localization is no longer a nice touch for your foreign users. It’s essential if you want to encourage downloads, reviews and sales. With almost 3 million apps available on Google Play and just slightly fewer on iOS, the numbers don’t lie. The world is going app crazy, and if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, it’s about time you did.
Unless you’re going to produce an app just for the sake of it, in which case you might as well not bother.
If you’re aiming to boost your sales from San Francisco to Singapore, mobile app localization is vital. After all, with millions of apps available for download in their native language, why would a customer bother looking at your English-only app?
In fact, if you haven’t localized your app with keywords for enhanced ASO, they won’t even see your app at all! After all, a French person won’t be searching for “weight loss” or “finances manager.” You’ll need to find out the search terms your customers in every market will be using, or you’ll fly below the radar.
But if you’re on a budget or a time crunch, or you’re simply not sure where to start first, what should you run with? iOS or Android? What’s the best platform for mobile app localization? Let’s take a closer look.
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It’s official. We’ve moved beyond the “tipping point” of internet usage. Users now spend more time browsing online from their mobile phones than they do from their desktops. 51 percent of all internet usage now occurs from our handhelds.
Now add to that the fact that, of that browsing time, some 90 percent is spent within apps, and the tendency is pretty clear. Make your website mobile friendly, and make sure your app is pretty killer too.
But how do you create a mobile app that will appeal to customers around the world? Through meticulous mobile app localization, of course!
If you’re already pretty happy with your mobile app in your home market, you’ll know about optimization techniques. Your icon will be specially studied and your user experience optimal. And if you haven’t got an app yet, take note.
Everything you do with your mobile app needs to be tried, tested and perfect. You need to pick the right color scheme, message, payment platform, popup forms, images, descriptions and functionality. Or you’ll soon be deleted and your potential customers won’t spare a backward glance.
90% of apps are deleted within a month of download, in fact. And only a small fraction of users will ever try an app again after a bad experience (just 16 percent). Your content will need to be relevant, optimized and appealing.
The same is true for your foreign audience.
That means you’ll need to research carefully, study your market hard and work with a team of mobile app localization experts. These are the people who can help you hit it out of the park first time. You’ll need to localize every detail, down to currency, numbers, weights, dates and images.
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Mobile App Localization - iOS or Android?
News flash. In an ideal world, not only will you localize your mobile app for both platforms, but you’ll be able to share data between Android and iOS to keep your costs down.
But, we don’t live in an ideal world and you may have to choose. Which one is it going to be? There may be more apps available on Google Play and more Android devices globally; but if you want to get the mobile app localization process right, the smart money may be on iOS app localization.
Advantages of iOS localization
There are a bunch of advantages to selecting iOS for your mobile app localization. Of course, there are plenty of reasons to consider Android as well. But this week, we’re going to focus on the advantages of choosing iOS. Here goes:
iOS Users Spend More Money
Before going ahead with your mobile app localization project, you’ll need to first assess where the majority of your customers are and the devices they’re using. Some countries have a preference for Android devices while others swing towards iOS.
If you’re still pretty divided over what the majority of your potential users are using, this little piece of information may help to sway you.
iOS users spend more money than Android users.
Not only once the app is downloaded. They’re also more likely to purchase an app as well.
So, if your app is paid-for or requires a regular monthly fee, studies indicate that you’re better off targeting iOS users. Even though there are more Android users in total, they tend to opt for free apps. Apple users, on the other hand, are more predisposed to spend money on your products and services.
iOS Apps Make More Money
According to App Annie, iOS apps make more money than Android apps. This isn’t just speculation, but backed up by numerous reports and data.
Android apps are more likely to be supported by advertising, while iOS users are more predisposed to pay for your content.
So, if you want to make back your mobile app localization ROI quickly, start off with iOS localization first.
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iOS Localization is Easier
The latest update from Apple, iOS 10, was pretty much designed with mobile app localization in mind. And if it wasn’t, it may as well have been! How so? Here are a few reasons:
1. Multilingual Keyboard
Apple’s new multilingual keyboard is a dream come true for users who have to switch languages, and for developers as well. Without having to fiddle around with the globe icon, now you can type straight into the keyboard from the languages selected in settings. You even get the auto-correct language to help you out.
2. The Right Language for the Right User
Mobile app localization isn’t easy. With so many languages out there and variations of each language, you need to localize by country or region rather than language. Otherwise you’ll be pushing swimwear in the middle of a snowdrift or selling hot soup when it’s 100 degrees outside.
Here is where this iOS latest update really comes into its own, to give you a helping hand. You no longer need to worry about localizing into thousands of different language versions. The best appropriate content is automatically served up to the user according to region.
This means that if you’re running low on your budget and don’t have time to localize into, say, Scottish English, Apple will give users the next best option. They’ll give them British English, rather than American, based on region. This is a great corner cutter and cost saver if you don’t have the time or money for mobile app localization in every dialect.
This may be an awfully long word, but UIKeyboardTypeASCIICapableNumberPad (localized number pad) is an essential step forward for mobile app localization. You already know by now that localization goes way beyond language, and iOS now gives you a helping hand with the number formats.
Users get localized number pads which takes care of phone numbers, credit card details and so on. Simply get your mobile app localization development team to use UIKeyboardTypeASCIICapableNumberPad as the keyboard type. The rest will take care of itself.
4. Updates to XCode 8
Everyone makes mistakes, right? The problem is that making mistakes in your mobile app localization can cause dire consequences. Lucky for your development team, the last round of updates to XCode 8 are here to catch them when they fall.
With the latest static analyzer settings, you can now work with greater confidence and speed, and get notified if you’ve accidentally missed out any important information.
You can choose to turn on “Missing Localization Context Comment” or “Missing Localizability” and be warned when you leave something important out. It’s like having a proofreader or lead developer hovering over your shoulder.
Wrapping it Up
This article has run through some of the benefits of mobile app localization for iOS. But, whether it’s right for you or not is something you can decide after looking at the numbers and defining your business model.
iOS apps tend to have a faster speed to market than Android and are typically easier for developers to localize.
When you sell a premium or paid-for product, you’re more likely to find your target buyer here. But there are many benefits to Android localization as well, and next week, we’ll be discussing these. So stay tuned for more info coming your way and in the meantime, good luck with your mobile app localization project!