How to Get More App Conversions With Mobile App Localization

by Game Marketing Genie, on 05-Jul-2022 11:49:55

Have you ever played a video game that allowed you to select the language you wanted to play in? If the answer is yes, and it probably is, then you've experienced game localization. Game localization is one of the most efficient mobile app trends in 2022, helping gaming companies generate higher revenue.

A study by CSA Research shows that 70% of top markets for iOS downloads are non-native English speakers. And 90% of the leading markets for Google Play also belong to non-native English markets. Therefore, localizing your app is one of the mobile game trends to hop on right away! 

Continue reading this blog as we share what app localization is and how you can leverage it to boost your mobile game marketing.

What is mobile app localization?

In simple terms, app localization is modifying your app and listing to suit varied worldwide target markets. It includes using strategies to make your app more usable and amenable to users belonging to specific countries or regions. Doing this heightens convenience, boosts engagement, and offers an enhanced user experience.

The steps to app localization involve translating and adapting each aspect of your app to a particular local language and culture. This means translating the app content, including cultural references, incorporating relevant imagery, and internationalizing the app.

Note that app localization and internationalization are different. App internationalization is a part of localization and deals with developing an app with the idea that it'll be localized in the future. This encompasses customizing the code to be ready to be modified and released in diverse languages. App internationalization is an essential prerequisite for app localization as it saves the time and effort to re-develop an entire app for a specific target market.

App localization is an intelligent mobile game marketing strategy. Here's why:

  • 50% of the apps in the top 10 for downloads and revenue on the App Store get traffic from non-English-speaking countries (source: App Annie).
  • Apps that fail to localize can miss out on up to 15% of traffic (source: Dot Com Infoway) and lose 13% of customers (source: 90 Seconds).
  • Localized apps experience approximately 128% growth in download volumes (source: Distimo).

Why does app localization help your mobile game grow?

localized game

Figure 1: A localized game. Source: The Korea Bizwire

A report by Common Sense Advisory shows that app localization is more important than the app's price for 56.2% of the users. Why? Because localization helps users better understand and use the app without linguistic and cultural barriers. Simply put, language and culture ‌impact customers' user perceptions and habits. Therefore, modifying your app to suit a wider audience is imperative for successful global expansion. 

Gaming brands should realize that not every user is comfortable with all-English content, though English is recognized as a universal language. Localizing your app impresses your audience and highlights the fact that you understand your audience's pain points and needs. Therefore, the audience connects better with a brand that communicates to them in their native language. Localization, thus, builds trust and rapport, leading to higher customer satisfaction. This‌ improves your game's performance in the market.

Additionally, games receive higher download volume and popularity when localized because they cater to more people in different countries. You attract a larger audience when you create a game in multiple languages. As a result, you experience a boost in conversions. 

A localized mobile app grows more because it incorporates cultural, linguistic, and stylistic differences. It isn't only created in a language that varied target audiences speak, but it even includes a customized style of art and culturally appropriate storyline. Therefore, it better appeals to the target audience, who download the app regardless of how expensive it may be.

Six incredible benefits of mobile app localization

1. A higher audience reach

There are approximately 748 million people worldwide who speak English as a second language. But just because they speak English doesn’t mean that they want all their content to be in it. Therefore, when you localize your app, you are reaching a much larger audience than what you're reaching with a non-localized app. So, it is safe to say that the more the languages in your game, the higher the download volume.

2. Early access to new or emerging markets

Converting a new market you've never targeted before is challenging. However, conversions become seamless if you communicate with them in their language. This is because you go the extra mile to enhance their user experience, unlike a thousand other brands. This appeals to them and builds their trust in you. 

3. Shareability 

Customers usually share enjoyable apps with their family and friends. However, they are unlikely to share an app they barely understand. In contrast, they are highly likely to share a culturally relevant app with their acquaintances. And more shares increase brand awareness.

4. Improved user experience

Games are more appealing and relatable in the user's native language. App localization personalizes an app's storyline, references, languages, and imagery. It helps users interact better with your game and use it more efficiently. This enhances the customers' user experience by reducing linguistic and cultural barriers.

5. Global growth

Localizing your app for multiple target markets helps you gain global exposure. It increases your gaming company's brand awareness and gives you a positive international reputation. This has long-term benefits and makes your future game launches potentially successful.

6. Global community building

Another significant benefit of mobile app localization is that it helps build a community having members from all corners of the world. This allows your players to transcend all geographical boundaries and interact with new like-minded individuals. And a solid global community retains players' interest in your game for a longer duration.

paper people

3-step process to seamlessly localize your mobile app

Step 1: Research

This step is of utmost importance. Before localizing your app, learn which regions to target. Don't get tempted to localize to every country for extended reach. Not only will this be laborious, but it will be a waste of time, money, and effort, as you won't get a positive response from every target market.

To target the right country, you must :

  1. Examine where your ideal customers reside.
  2. Contemplate the download volume when targeting a specific country.
  3. Prioritize countries where there is a lack of your gaming app.
  4. Consider the countries where you can offer a superior app as compared to what your competitors are currently offering.

Low-competition areas are also considerable prospects. Nonetheless, the key to successful app localization is to inspect if there is a demand and interest for your app in that area. To that end, research the rituals, religions, culture, and population of the area you're targeting.

Apart from audience research, invest in competitor research. Assess which countries your rivals are localizing their apps for. Evaluate if you'd be able to offer a more competent, relevant, and reliable app than they're offering.

Additionally, don't overlook customer feedback. Customers often demand an app's localization for a better experience. Analyze the general reviews you're getting regarding the overall user experience of your app. But also look for special requests for the game's translation in a particular language.

Step 2: Start with your language first

The best way to start is to localize for your target market. Remember, all languages come with complexities and nuances. And if you embark on translating your game into multiple languages in one go, you'd end up frustrated. Don't forget that localization is tedious, and you need to know how advanced localization tools function. Besides, you'd have to conduct quality assurance and verify the app for accuracy and correctness multiple times. Therefore, the correct localization strategy is to take one language/region at a time.

Assess your language first — research the different dialects it has. Even the minor changes and use of relevant slang and references make a tremendous difference — your audience notices every tiny change. 

Don't be afraid to start if you see vast potential in localizing your app for a bigger target market. If there is already a rising demand for translating your game into a particular language, don't waste time making minor changes in the current language of your game. Choosing the biggest or second-biggest language is also a smart move.

The idea is to do what the audience demands. Don't forget to work as per the data you collected in the first step.

Step 3: Consider what you need to change

App localization is a time-consuming process since there are many steps involved. The top 8 elements to change in a game to offer a "localized" experience include:


Half the battle is won once you've changed the app's language. Translating the textual content of your game is one of the most popular mobile app trends in localization. But you must be flexible with your design when changing the language since different languages can take up additional space in your UI. Besides, languages like Arabic and Hebrew start from right to left. Therefore, don't be fixated on making your game appear a certain way. Manipulate the design to accommodate the language you're targeting. Lastly, to ensure consistency in terminology, keep a glossary or translator handy.


Every good game has a story to keep the audience hooked. And all stories have characters. So, adopt local names for the characters to make your game relatable and impress the players.


money heist banner

Figure 2: Popular web series "Money Heist" changes its posters based on the language. Source: Movie Crow

Popular books and movies have different cover art in other languages. Likewise, you can modify the art, photographs, and illustrations in your mobile game app per the target audience's culture. Separate the text from the images to localize the pictures easily. Also, try not to embed text into images‌.


harry potter books

Figure 3: The first Harry Potter book uses different titles (and art) for US and UK markets. Source: Bookstr

The title is one of the most critical elements of your game. Refrain from literally translating the original title to your target language. Instead, look for appealing and appropriate alternatives that are understandable and relevant.


You won't be discoverable if you don't locally optimize your app! Therefore, if you're aiming for global success, localize the keywords. Remember, people from different countries have different search behaviors. They often use colloquial language when typing terms in their app store's search bar. Therefore, keyword localization is one of the most important mobile app trends you can't miss out on!

Cultural understandings

To ace localization, a simple approach won't work. You'd have to dig deeper. Thus, localizing specific references that may be irrelevant to a geographically different audience is essential. For instance, localizing a food or a maxim in your game will work wonders!

App store listings

Remember, players usually read what your game is about before downloading it. Therefore, localizing your app's metadata, long description, and screenshots is also imperative. Doing this will help you convince your target audience better to download your game.

Currency localization

If your app is paid, you must be highly cautious about what you're charging. Non-localized currency is often a turnoff for many potential customers since converting can be expensive. So, adopt the local currency for all international purchases.

Case study:  Localization of the all-time favorite Pac Man

Pac-Man is a globally famous game originally developed in Japan. It is one of the first games to be localized for native English speakers. The game grew massively popular in the West, so much so that many players don't know its Japanese origins. 

The developers aced this game's localization, ensuring every element applied to the US market. One challenge was translating the title itself. The game's name in Japanese was Pakkuman. The literal translation of the title was Puck-Man. However, Pac-Man was adopted as the final title in English to avoid mispronunciations and ensure appropriateness — since its title was written on arcade machines and could easily be altered!

Secondly, even the game's enemy ghosts were localized and given catchy nicknames that the US players resonated with. In the Japanese version, their nicknames were Akabei, Pinky, Aosuke, and Guzuta. But after localization, they were called Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. The name “Blinky” is appropriate for the first ghost as his body blinks whenever he's vulnerable to Pac-Man. Interestingly, the name “Guzuta” also fits the fourth ghost's character. Its literal translation is "one who lags behind," and he is known for losing all chances to attack Pac-Man.

Pac-Man art on wall

Get on top of your mobile game marketing

Make your mobile game's marketing matter with our insider tips in Mobile Game Marketing: Your Complete Guide to Success.

Find your ideal target audience to localize your next mobile game!

Undoubtedly, app localization is an incredibly effective technique to expand your outreach and get downloads. However, the key to getting a higher return on your efforts and money is to localize the game for the right audience. And sadly, finding the right target market is challenging, especially if you've just dipped your toes in mobile app localization.

But there's an efficient workaround — Game Marketing Genie. We're a game marketing agency, and our services include creating tailored mobile game marketing and PC game marketing strategies for developers. We can help you understand who'd be an ideal prospect for localizing your game.

If you're ready to embrace localization, start audience research with us — get in touch today.

Topics:Mobile Game MarketingApp Store OptimizationVideo Game Marketing StrategyVideo Game MarketingDigital Marketing StrategyApp Marketing StrategyConversation Rate Optimization

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