Martina Russo, CEO & founder

21 April 2023

Your app in the App Store and on Google Play? That’s a no-brainer. Over 6.3 billion smartphone users worldwide spend four to five hours on apps daily. Turnover for in-app purchases is pegged at $935 billion for 2023. Whether you’re an action sports and outdoor adventure brand or something else entirely – you want in on this game.

However, an app alone won’t do the trick if your sights are set on international success. You also need to optimize and localize to beat out the competition and score genuine local engagement.

ASO localization and app store optimization are your ticket to connecting with action sports and outdoor adventure fans around the world. They help you provide users with the best possible brand experience. And that means more positive reviews, shares, downloads, and ROI.

Keep reading to find out how to get started.

What is App Store Optimization?

Let’s keep it short and sweet. App store optimization (a.k.a. ASO) is all about boosting your app store visibility. You want to drive traffic to your app, maximize downloads and generate rave reviews.

We recommend starting with a targeted ASO strategy. But how? By asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my target audience, and what is their intent? (i.e., Who do I want to download my app, and why would they?)
  • How can I piggyback on what the competition is doing right, and how do I one-up them to get ahead?
  • How does my website encourage users to click through to download my app? Likewise, how can my app draw users to my website?

What is App Localization? 

App localization is basically stepping up your ASO game for sustainable global reach. It involves tailoring your app’s brand content to your international customers. But that’s just translation, right? Nope. Translation is only a fraction of what localizing your app involves.

Fine-tuning your app to cultural expectations, local slang and buzzwords, CTAs and ranking keywords are a handful of to-dos to add to your list. But there’s more. Generating traffic in a new country and bagging those coveted positive reviews means a thoughtful update of your visuals, too.

Promo videos, trailers and screenshots – they all have to strike the right chord with your audience. Want your kayaking app to come out on top in Peru, Colombia or Brazil? Show them shots of the Amazon that will hit close to home. And remember… you need Brazilian Portuguese and the Spanish spoken in Peru and Colombia.

 

ASO + Localization: why localization is key for your App Store Optimization

Okay, so you get it. App store optimization: good. Localization: good. So what happens when you combine the two?

App store localization + ASO into overdrive = win-win. Instead of ranking in the search results of just one country, your brand and app start ranking glocally. The metadata, keywords, images and user experience for your outdoor and action sports brand app become infinitely more accessible in your new markets.

Now, customers can find you in a flash because your app is search engine and app store optimized. Once they’re in your app, they won’t get tripped up by odd cliches, stilted translations or images that clash with their cultural values. And all of that translates to better reach and ROI.

Does your brand target trad climbers? ASO localization keeps terms like cams, chocks and wedges straight (and searchable) for future app users in their own language.

Competition is fierce in the apps market. And ASO + localization is the only way to climb to the top of local rankings in global markets.

ASO Localization go together like skis and skins

In order to make tracks in fresh powder, you have to get up the mountain. Skins get you traction to make the ascent. Skis let you glide back down to base in style. Without one or the other… you’re just hiking in the snow.

The same applies to carving out your place in the mobile app market locally. ASO and localization are both great on their own, but ASO localization is the best of both worlds. A few of the perks include:

  • Local textual and visual appeal to one-up the competition in new markets.
  • A better all-around user experience.
  • More local reviews, boosting visibility and buy-in.
  • No embarrassing linguistic screw-ups that turn outdoor sports fans away.

3 steps to ASO Localization success

Okay, it’s way more than that, but we’ve broken it down into three because:

  • It’s easy to remember.
  • It’s clear.
  • It’s informative without being overwhelming.

Don’t be fooled by three simple steps. The Action Sports Translator’s in-house ASO localization process is complex. And to get the job done, we use precision tools. Apptweak, ASODesk, G2Deals and App Radar all offer services for keyword tracking, analytics and localization. Their price range, user-friendliness, exclusive deals and support all vary.

Keyword Research

Anyone with an online presence knows that keywords are crucial. You want to rank at the top of Google’s search results. Page 1 is a must. You’ve heard of search engine optimization and done keyword research for your website (and maybe even some SEO translation).

But a keyword that gets loads of hits in Australia might have you scraping the bottom of the barrel in the States. To rank in a new market, you need keyword research that covers as many locations as you’ve got potential customers.

Good keyword research is comprehensive. And user intent should be paramount. You may want to target different keywords: words that thousands of people search for as well as keywords that get hardly any hits. Keep in mind that app users are not 100% predictable. Cast a net that’s wide enough to catch the outliers, too.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You also need to think strategically. You probably (okay, definitely) aren’t the first brand to venture into keyword localization. Checking out the competition’s strategy, i.e., which local keywords they use and whether they’re leading to downloads and conversions, will take you far.

Tip #1: Save yourself some time. Add the competition’s ranking search phrases and keywords to your metadata. App store optimization localization doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel.

Tip #2: Relevant keywords only stay relevant for so long. App store optimization and localization is an ongoing process. Count on new keyword research quarterly to maintain your lead.

 

 

Translation

Even thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies like to be comfortable sometimes. Like when they’re interacting with an extreme outdoor sports brand’s app. Even if they can speak a major world language (e.g., French, English, Spanish, or Mandarin), they likely still prefer apps to be available in their local one. The point? Translating your app’s optimized content lowers the acceptance threshold. And that means more downloads and potential positive reviews.

You’ve done some epic local keyword research, so don’t start cutting corners now. It’s always best to hire a native translator to translate your content. Want to go the extra mile? Choose an agency or freelancer with an affinity for your brand and sport, too. On top of being ASO-friendly, your app’s translations should be snackable. Users hate nothing more than mind-numbing, stilted content peppered with ridiculous mistakes and misused slang. They’re looking for a relatable and digestible story.

So, what gets translated? Pretty much everything. Here are some of the basics:

  • Titles and subtitles
  • Tags
  • Descriptions
  • Reviews
  • Update info
  • Additional information

In both training and app UX, consistency is key. Early on, we mentioned how your website is like a big neon sign enticing people to download your app in the Apple App and Google Play Stores. Users should be able to jump the gap from your brand’s website to the app store without batting an eye.

Need proof? Check out our work for Komoot. Cycling, gravel riding, hiking and more – the app is optimized and localized for action sports fans in multiple regions.

 

 

Localization 

This is your black diamond, a.k.a. where every aspect of your app should perfectly pivot at the right time, in the right place and at the right pitch. Make sure the whole ride is localized from the interface to the app content.

It’s about cashing in on the local lingo, inserting pics that convey the perfect vibe and hit them in the feels, reels that entice them to download your app because… why wouldn’t they? Those breathtaking views of the craggy Dolomites or brilliant powder on Szczyrk Mountain? They’ll speak volumes to winter sports enthusiasts in their local (visual) language.

And don’t forget icons, buttons, diacritics, character limits, string IDs and even your logo. They’ve all got to be geared to the country in question to ensure that your app converts.

 By now, you’re probably hoping for a few concrete examples. We get it. Cultural differences don’t always come across.

  • Check censorship rules. Different countries have different ideas about what is and isn’t modest, rude, polite or even allowable.
  • The devil is in the details. Do you have a geolocation app? Make sure the cars are on the left side of the road (hello, Japan, England, Kenya) or the right (Germany, the U.S., China). And they tend to straddle both lanes in Italy, but your audience might not appreciate seeing that visualized…
  • When using certain symbols, check whether they’re culturally loaded. Take the thumbs-up, for example. It might be a sign of encouragement in your country, but it’s an offensive gesture in Greece, Iran and Iraq.

Last but not least, there’s UX localization. Localizing user experience makes using your app feel as intuitive as possible. Instead of the clunky feel of an obviously auto-translated app, localized UX leaves users feeling like your app was designed with them in mind.

Make that happen, and you can say hello to tons of new shares, downloads and positive local reviews from skiers in Chamonix, surfers in Mundaka and boulderers in Fontainebleau. Get ready to have outdoor sports fans cheering you on.

ASO localization: Apple App Store vs. Google Play Store

Obviously, the diversity involved in ASO localization applies to your prospects’ mobile devices, too. Aside from those quirky Linux phone outliers, most of your app audience will be Android or iPhone users.

And… you may have noticed that the two aren’t exactly compatible. But before you start worrying about how horribly convoluted ASO localizing your app for both stores will be, we have a few pointers.

We want your climb to the top of the glocal market to be as smooth as possible.

 

iOS app localization

What’s the key takeaway for localizing your iOS app? You’ve heard of cross-country skiing, right? Well, Apple uses cross-country indexing. That means when you localize your app for one country, say Portugal, the keywords you use in the Portuguese App Store can count towards keywords used in another country store. Maybe Spain.

Other tips to remember? Apple is a stickler for unauthorized use of celebrity names, trademarks and other copyright-protected terms. They’ll also push your app down the ladder for using keywords unrelated to your brand.

Steve Jobs was known for being pretty nitpicky about his design choices. That preference applies to Apple App localization, too.

The Apple App store currently supports 175 countries and 40 languages.

Google Play app localization

The Google Play Store currently offers localization for 77 separate locations.

To successfully rank in the Google Play Store, your app title and description need to be on point. Also, while we aren’t big fans of keyword stuffing, using priority keywords at least five times in your short or long description will help people find your app faster.

Like the Apple App Store, Google Play has at least one pitfall to watch out for.

Say your budget is limited, and you’re only planning on localizing for a certain number of countries. Totally understandable. But there’s a snag. The Google Play Store is set up to automatically translate any untranslated content. Consequently, the locations you don’t target could wind up with some very awkward translations.

You might not be able to avoid all the wonky. But you can watch out for the languages you want to localize by having them localized and optimized simultaneously. That way your action sports brand app shows up the way you want it to.

Need help from ASO localization experts?

By now, you’ve got at least a basic understanding of how ASO localization works and its importance. But that doesn’t mean you’re ready to wade into those waters unassisted.

Lucky for you, The Action Sports Translator team has in-house experts ready to localize and optimize your app in various languages. Our ASO localization experts and native translators zigzag through the whole process with finesse.

And since we share your passion for adventure sports and sustainable outdoor brands, you know we’ll pull out all the stops to make your app’s ASO localization a success with both the algorithm and the athletes. We can’t wait to get future users as excited about your brand as we are.

 

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Martina is the CEO and founder at The Action Sports Translator. After starting her career in marketing translation in 2010, she has been recognized as a Localization industry influencer multiple years in a row and has been working with some of the world's most exciting brands to bring multilingual marketing campaigns to life.

Co-founder and localization manager at Protect Our Winters Italy, she founded The Action Sports Translator to provide outdoor brands with a sports translation service that truly gets them. When she isn’t working, you can usually find her climbing a mountain or snowboarding down the other side.

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