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APP INTELLIGENCE · WES MCCABE · JULY 2016

The Definitive iOS Keyword Localization Guide

Learn how taking advantage of Apple's support for localized keyword sets can help increase your organic app installs in our keyword localization guide.

Keyword Localization Guide Hero

Today we are sharing a localization guide that will enable you to grow your iOS app installs worldwide by helping you better understand how your App Store metadata works on a global level. Read on for the guide, along with more details regarding how keyword localization works and why it can be an effective means of increasing app downloads.

Most app publishers and marketers know there is a 100 character limit on the App Store keywords field, but it's less widely known that Apple indexes more than one set of localized keywords in each App Store territory. Moritz Daan, founder of mobile growth consultancy firm Phiture, first documented this phenomenon while a growth analyst at SoundCloud. At the time, the U.S. App Store indexed keywords from Spanish (Spain) and U.S. (English), but in recent months Apple swapped Spain with Mexico—which makes more geographic sense.

For example, U.S. App Store users with the Spanish language enabled in their device settings can search in Spanish to find an application. However, this is only the case if you have localized your metadata in Spanish (Mexico). If you haven't created a set of Spanish (Mexico) keywords, Spanish users will not be able to find your app when searching in Spanish on the U.S. App Store.

Understanding which localizations are used in each country is paramount in improving your App Store Optimization (ASO) efforts. It essentially provides you with 200 characters to work with instead of the 100 you think you have. In some countries, this localization trait is even magnified.

App Store Keyword Localization Character Count Example

Click here to download the complete guide.

Take Switzerland for example, where you essentially have 500 characters to work with since users there can search in German, French, Italian, English (Australia), and English (U.K.). As you can imagine, keeping track of these keyword-related factors be tiresome. That's why we've created a one-page guide that highlights how this works in the top 15 App Stores by downloads worldwide. But before we get to that, let's first understand all of the possible localizations a developer can create for their apps.

Here are all of the localizations that Apple supports:

  • Chinese (Simplified)

  • Chinese (Traditional)

  • Danish

  • Dutch

  • English (Australia)

  • English (Canada)

  • English (U.K.)

  • English (U.S.)

  • Finnish

  • French

  • French (Canada)

  • German

  • Greek

  • Indonesian

  • Italian

  • Japanese

  • Korean

  • Malay

  • Norwegian

  • Portuguese (Brazil)

  • Portuguese (Portugal)

  • Russian

  • Spanish (Mexico)

  • Spanish (Spain)

  • Swedish

  • Thai

  • Turkish

  • Vietnamese

As you can see, Apple allows you to get fairly granular with your localization efforts. For instance, you can create four distinct versions of English: one each for U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.

Understanding which territories use each of these localizations can help developers maximize their ASO efforts. To help with this, we have mapped which localizations are used in each store around the world. Click the link below to download a PDF that provides keyword localization details for 15 of the top countries by installs on the App Store.

Download Sensor Tower's iOS App Keyword Localization Guide

For Sensor Tower Enterprise customers, you can receive the complete list by contacting your Customer Success Manager (CSM) today. Also, be sure to take a look at our Keyword Localization module in App Intelligence to assist with translating your current keywords to be maximally effective in other localities.

Interested in learning more about Sensor Tower's App Intelligence platform? Request a live demo with our team!


Sensor Tower's platform is an enterprise-level offering. Interested in learning more?


Wes McCabe

Written by: Wes McCabe, Product Marketing Manager

Date: July 2016

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