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Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Software Localization (L10n) and Personalization — a marketing point of view

Why is localization important for a software product? How to create a marketing strategy considering context and personalization? Check out these key takeaways and action points to take your marketing strategy to the next level!

As a tech marketer and strategist, the product audience is always in the back of my mind — hence, every single time a new feature, service or idea pops-up, I analyze it from both the business and the user point of view. And this means, thinking about most types of users, be it from somewhere in the US, Asia, or Europe.

Now, let’s start with the basics and we will go deeper into the topic!

What is localization? What is the difference between localization and internationalization?

Localization, be it for marketing campaigns, content or software, is the process of translating your business/app/digital product into multiple languages. Sounds pretty simple, right?
The trick is to internationalize everything first, in order to ensure your product’s ability to adapt to different languages (and their special characters), regions, and cultures.

Got confused?
Shortly, a single language can be used in multiple parts of the world — such as English, French or Portuguese, and your product should adapt to the regional and cultural conventions of the customer’s geolocation. Having it internationalized, the entire content, flow, and feel will seem as if it is a native app, no matter who is using it.

Going on, here’s were personalization should also step-in: what is personalization? and why should it be used in tech marketing?

The exact definition is known as the process of tailoring the product or the service for specific people, or segments of the audience.

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Image by Matthias Wewering from Pixabay

The importance of personalization and internationalization for a software product’s marketing strategy

People aren’t static — au contraire: they use multiple channels, devices and their interests’ change over time. And most marketers and business owners completely ignore this! They just treat everyone the same, no matter if we think about UX/UI, user flow, copywriting, or promo campaigns.

Personalization is not a new topic, as in the offline medium is used for a very long time (think about tailors! or any retailer — they launch product based on culture, country, language, holidays, etc); while in the online medium, this is still ignored, even though most of us buy and use things when they are customized for our needs or recommended to us — Spotify is the first example crossing through my mind now: they customize playlists for you based on what you’ve listened before.

At the end of the day, personalization is data — and you know I am a sucker for data! So, there is plenty of room to personalize your mail title, content, chats, or websites!

Key actions to boost your product through localization, internationalization or personalization

— another -lization and you’ll be even more confused. right? Sorry! I will keep it simple and straightforward, no worries.

Here’s how you can start your personalization in marketing

  1. Translate and localize your app content — don’t forget that only up to 30% of people speak English. Make sure you aim for more!
  2. Ensure a proper concatenation of your text in the app strings by using variables, plurals and placeholders. An example of such text could be “your cart has %d product(s)” or “you achieved the %d level of the game". And imagine the concatenation in the multiple languages context now.
  3. Use tokens to personalize emails, landing pages, website pages, or chatbots messages based on your cookies and CRM. Once the right tokens are identified, send out localized emails based on your audience’s geolocation, timezone, language, jokes and holidays or local celebrations.
  4. Focus on categories like location (location, zip code), contact (name, email), company (industry), or any other data you have in your site’s or app’s forms. Use that data to personalize your chatbot messages, your pricing, your promo offers, or campaigns!
  5. Display the pricing currency, measures, decimal separators, address or dates in your audience’s format preference.
  6. Provide multilingual customer support based on your top users’ language
  7. Use visuals or audio files people are used to in their region: you may want to use visuals, colors and provide push notification sounds or in-app sounds based on the users’ culture
  8. Make sure your brand name, images, emojis, icons or symbols don’t have peculiar connotations in your users’ country — unless, you run a fun campaign about it, as Wix did! But you can think also Laputa: Castle in the Sky — when everyone cheered Studio Ghibli for it, but Spanish and Italian speakers were a bit concerned regarding its translation.

At the end of the day, you can just think about everything in the offline experience that made you feel good by offering you a custom experience that felt natural, and try to digitize it! If you think about Coca Cola, they localized their marketing campaign by changing the names on the bottles from Jennifer in the US to Magda in Poland and Corina in Romania. Same works in the e-mails! or the site chat :)

Just keep in mind to always consider culturally sensitive aspects that go beyond translation!
// no laputa for Latin-languages speakers!

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How to internationalize and localize an Android App

Android ran on 88% of devices across the world (according to Statista) in 2018 and secured its position as the leading mobile OS in 2019 as well with a 74.13 percent share, and to reach the users, your app should be able to handle all types of text (Latin, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian characters), audio files, numbers, currency, and graphics in ways appropriate to the locales where your app is used.

No matter if you launched an app by yourself, or you worked with an agency to do so, you should already have some knowledge of Java programming and be familiar with Android resource loading, the declaration of user interface elements in XML, and development considerations such as activity lifecycle.

But you can check the entire Android documentation regarding their general principles of internationalization and localization. >>

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How to internationalize and localize an iOS App

Google Android and Apple iOS jointly possess almost 99 percent of the global market share (Statista), so it is only fair and natural for Apple to provide support and documentation to help app creators localize and internationalize their business.

Going through the documentation archive from Apple, I identified the specification to review language and region settings, code and UI (user interface) internationalization, data formatting based on user locale, right-to-left languages, string formats, and much more!

The App Store is available in over 150 different countries, and the first step to reaching this global market is to make your app easy to understand and to use for everyone!

When the app is launched, check theApp Store Connect to specify whether your app is available in all countries and territories, or just specific areas. Once you set this, you can easily customize your app for each target market and help them use your product in their native language and formats!

Read the entire Internationalization and Localization Guide here or watch the Apple video tutorials!

👏I hope this helps you! Claps and share would help a bunch if you liked the insights 👏

Working with tech products that always have a cause and solve a problem | Data-Driven Marketer • Strategist • Product & Startup Enthusiast • Occasional Speaker

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