app promotion

How to activate a local language iOS keyword strategy?

iPhone emerging markets - APAC, MENA, LATAM - are hotspots of app growth. How to leverage a local language iOS keyword strategy for success? Read on!

Native English speakers only make up 16% of the global internet users. The rest of them speak a multitude of other languages like Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, Hindi, Indonesian, and Vietnamese to list a few. Among the non-English internet users, at least 87% stated they would not transact on English-only platforms. App marketers are rapidly imbibing the need for a localization strategy in their app growth roadmap. A local language iOS keywords strategy is one of the routes marketers are looking at to convert high-quality iOS users. In this article, we will drill down into the many aspects of native language keyword strategy that iOS app marketers must keep in mind before trudging down the path of native language App Store advertising.

When app marketers go down the road of local language iOS marketing strategies, the first question that comes to mind is: “Is translating my App Store content all that is needed to optimize for local search queries?” Well partially yes, but there’s more to it.

What is the local language iOS keyword strategy all about?

In a nutshell, it’s all about targeting the right native keywords. To pursue a strong local language iOS keyword strategy, first, ensure the communication, both text and creatives, is hitting the right spots. Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Are you following cultural nuances in how words are used? There are multiple subtleties around similar vocabulary that heavily influence the emotional appeal of the regional content. For example, ‘勉強’ refers to ‘study’ in Japanese but has a completely different meaning in Chinese - ‘unconvincing’
  • Is your brand colors, imagery, and communication style in line with the local preferences? For example, a semi-casual, fun vibe might work for the US markets, but Europe prefers more of a formal brand style. 
  • Is your brand aware of the correct representation of local cultures? This is especially crucial if your brand is trying to establish a deep connection with the local audience. The communication must establish the brand is aware of the market’s unique needs and how the brand’s offering fits into the user’s cultural identity. For example, brands implementing the red envelope messaging in Southeast Asia for festivals like the Lunar New Year.  
  • Are you looking at optimizing your marketing initiatives with Apple Search Ads Keywords to handle multiple local campaigns? There needs to be more than just translating or adapting the overall communication to craft a successful Apple Search Ads keywords strategy for a local audience. Brands must also optimize for local language search intent and full-funnel analytics to get a complete understanding of the right cultural sentiments to target. If you are looking to target markets like the Middle East, this is key to grabbing the right eyeballs since most prefer to type and search in Arabic. 

Activating a local language iOS keyword strategy

89% of marketers are looking to go for local language marketing initiatives for the upcoming peak business periods. Apple is growing its mobile footprint beyond the United States and is looking at emerging markets like India, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore as the regions to focus on. The users in these markets show a distinctive preference to engage with content in their native tongue. This requires app marketers to look beyond just translating their content. 

Understand how search queries work in regional markets. It is important to optimize local keyword-led marketing initiatives for a full-funnel impact. Ensure your selection of local keywords reflects the essence of your app’s functionalities - focus on your app’s core USP, the problem statement it is solving, and the key differentiators from competitors. Newton partners use the platform’s generative AI-led keyword recommendations feature to extract a list of local language keywords suitable for their app in a specific region and language. This doubtlessly saves effort, and time, while minimizing the chances of erroneous suggestions.

Organic vs. paid - find the sweet spot

For starters, make sure your app’s code and user interface are structured for localization. The App Store helps developers localize their apps with in-house tools like XCode, Foundation APIs, Auto Layout, and Unicode support. There’s detailed literature on this on the Apple website if you would like to take a look. 

When localizing, remember to translate your App Store metadata in App Store Connect - app previews, app descriptions, local language iOS keywords, and even a few screenshots. You can also look at translating your app’s name, especially if it’s a noun or verb like The Productivity Booster. Keep an eye on your organic analytics to identify some of the native keywords that are working for you. 

Paid ads will help you tap into more local language keywords, especially for category, competitor, and discovery campaigns. With both the paid and organic analytics in place, it will get easier to find out the right set of Apple Search Ads keywords the app must target to successfully implement a local language iOS keyword strategy.

Setting up local language App Store keyword campaigns for paid ads

When brands set up their content structures, they invariably go for multiple formats - landing pages, videos, social posts, emailers, paid ads, product descriptions, and more. A key question to ask yourself when setting up a local language App Store keyword strategy is - how much of your existing content should you translate and how fast can you launch the campaign? Thanks to Apple Search Ads’ system of campaigns and ad groups, the answer is easier to find.  

Step 1: Structure campaigns to get an idea of the core brand assets needed for your local iOS growth

Apple Search Ads usually offers four types of campaign structures - brand campaign, category campaign, competitor campaign, and discovery campaign. So you might want to look at identifying Apple Search Ads keywords across these categories of master content - one for your brand proposition, one for your category leadership, one focusing on how you are different from local competitors, and last but not least, one master content piece for users who are yet to discover you. 

Step 2: Focus ad group themes to create varied representations of your regional audience

Once you have set up all four campaign categories, it is time to drill deeper into the specific ad copies and creatives. If you are setting up local campaigns for multiple geographies, the ad groups can be built on the basis of language as well as region. Utilize ad groups to create content that shows sub-segments of your regional audience group. Be mindful of cultural nuances in your creatives - this would include color, tone of copy, and how your ad characters interact with each other in the creative. Consider going with custom product pages for more personalization. For example, if you want to show a father-son bonding - it is expressed differently in the US as opposed to the Middle East or India where family structures are more conservative. 

Step 3: Populate your ad group with the right balance of non-English keywords

Generative AI makes it easy to find local language keywords for a specific region. However, advertisers should be careful of considering the cultural nuances of the search queries they choose to target as their Apple Search Ads keywords. For example, you are a pet supplies app targeting both Portuguese and Spanish speakers and you want to target the keyword ‘dog toys’ - here you have to be careful in using the right vocabulary for the right regional ad group. While ‘perro’ means dog in Spanish, the same word means rusty in Portuguese. 

Apart from cultural sensitivity, another important point to remember here is to maintain parity among long-tail, high-traffic, popular, and low-competition keywords.

Optimizing App Store keyword performance for local changes

The basics of Apple Search Ads keywords bidding more or less stay similar for local language keyword optimization too. The best practices of tracking full-funnel analytics, monitoring campaign performance, and A/B testing different groups of keywords will also apply to this. You can read about this in detail in our article on What is keyword bidding and how to win the auction.

Brand Story: How did native keywords help this fast fashion app with App Store success?

Max Fashion is a fast-fashion brand operating in the Gulf countries. They are on the lookout to increase their user base of millennials and GenZ. They decided to take a local approach to reach out and engage their audience in their native tongue - Arabic. The app used Newton’s Gen AI Multilingual Keyword Recommendations tool to identify high-intent Arabic search queries in the fashion, shopping, and lifestyle categories. Integrating App Store advertising data and MMP data in one dashboard, the team was able to identify Arabic keywords that drove maximum full-funnel conversions - installs to in-app purchases. This tracking helped the Newton team optimize the keyword bidding strategy to drive higher conversions while maintaining the limit on overall iOS ad spends.

Local_Language_iOS_keyword_strategy_ArabicWithin a quarter, the campaign witnessed a 4X surge in conversions, a 2.5X increase in ROAS, and 11% higher conversion rates with local keywords. Read the full story here.

Common challenges and best practices to implement a local language iOS keyword strategy

The challenges

Best practices to follow

Marketing teams are not equipped with multiple language proficiency

AI-led tools can help app marketers bridge the language gap when crafting ad copies for local language App Store user acquisition activities 

Missing out on the right cultural representation of the brand in a specific region

Extensive customer surveys and feedback can help identify the region-specific needs the audience expects your brand to resolve

Understanding the balance between English and non-English keywords

Observe the preferred language of communication in your region. Also, keep a note of dialectical and spelling differences unique to the English speakers of your target region  

Losing out on the complete impact of a local language keyword

Integrate Apple Search Ads campaigns with MMPs, to get a complete picture of full-funnel keyword conversions - impressions, installs, signups, and purchases

Slow launches of local campaigns, multiple region-based campaigns to track

Team up with an Apple Search Ads partner who can help you with large scale global growth. With platforms, like Newton, once you have found your native language keywords, it takes only a few clicks to launch your local campaigns with Apple Search Ads keywords. 

If you are looking to scale your app growth across deeply diversified audiences in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and are unsure about where to get started, Team Newton will be happy to help with a custom local language iOS keyword strategy for regional App Store success. 

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