How we tripled our user base by getting localization right
Autocad WS has over 10 million users. For 8.5 million of these, English is not a first language.
Getting localization right that led to a huge growth in our download rate – from about 1500 per day to almost 5000, in less than 6 months. Translating the app is a significant part of localization, but that’s not what drives downloads. It’s not about the text on the button, but about the way users discover the app, decide whether to download it and most of all – how they experience it.
Localization is not translation – It’s about providing the same marketing and product experience to a user from Mexico, Korea, Italy or the US. Translating the app itself is an important step but there are several other steps you should take whether you actually translate the app, or not.
Localize your videos
You’ve created a beautiful video, one of the most important marketing assets there is. The script is great and the visual is unbelievable, now all that’s left is to localize it and reach out to a whole new audience. One of my biggest mistakes (did anyone say learning curve?) was to overlook video localization, as it seemed to be a pretty international asset.
After a short while I realized that for a potential Chinese user, watching a video in English is exactly the same as watching a video in Chinese for me – I would probably close it after hearing the first sentence in Chinese.
When we released major videos we created versions with voice-over in a different languages (for example, Spanish and Chinese). The localized versions had tens of thousands of views. In other cases we added subtitles, and that also worked great. Localized videos are also a powerful tool when used in Google Play (Apple’s App store does not support videos).
We’re speaking Mandarin! Our localized video on YouKu (the Chinese YouTube)
The main advantage of smart localization is obviously reaching out to more users, and getting more downloads, while investing a relatively small effort. But there’s also a romantic side to it. I believe that the dream of every entrepreneur or product developer is to have people from all over the world use their product and to improve the life of everyone – no matter where they live or how much money they earn. Some of the most exciting moments I experienced were interactions with users I never imagined I would be able to reach. Hearing about how my app is used to build a school in Honduras, preserve a historical site in Xian or redesign a village in Russia meant the world to me.