App Store Optimization & Localization for Korea – 10 Winning ASO Tips

Do you have or are your planning to launch an app in South Korea? If you already have an app or a game, did you make sure it’s optimized for users in Korea?

According to We Are Social’s annual digital report in January 2021, South Korea has a total population of 51.29 million, with a 97% internet penetration rate or approximately 49.75 million internet users. The country’s official language is Korean.

Korea App Market

As a mature mobile market, there’s no shortage of opportunities for app and game developers. However, there is a lot of competition, so you’ll need to find ways to cut through the noise and ensure your app or game gets noticed in Korea.

In this pots I will tell you all about how to do app store optimization and localization for Korea in 2021, guide you through the app store optimization tips and help you achieve the goal of user growth.

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10 Ultimate App Store Optimization Tips for Localized Apps in Korea

1.      Translating Your App into Korean Is a Must

Translating your app into Korean is a must, especially with local developers dominating the market. Although most Koreans – particularly those from younger age groups – can read, write, and speak in English, 96% of Chrome browser users use Korean as their browser language. Also, you should fully localize your apps to compete with local developers, who dominate the market.

Different styles of speech are used depending on social position and age, as well as the topic of conversation. During translation, it is essential to bear in mind that Korean has numerous synonyms for any given word.

And to be clear, though localization starts with good translation, translation is not the same as localization.

2. Use the Translated Name in Title

There is usually one English name that is preserved for all languages. Sometimes the name may be translated or transliterated. For example:

Tinder – 틴더 (pronounced “Tindeo” in Korean). 

Bigo Live – 비고 라이브

Spoon – 스푼

Use the Translated Name in Title

3. Mix Korean and English Keywords in The Keyword String for App Store

 Mix Korean and English keywords in the keyword string for Apple can be worthwhile.

Some English keywords have high search volume in Korea. In this case, you can target them in the title, subtitle and keywords for App Store.

4.      Use “LiveOps” in Google Play

Korean gamers expect frequent updates – known as LiveOps – to keep their games fresh and engaging. The content of LiveOps might include running in-game events, adding different content such as a new character or episode, and offering promotions. Whatever you decide, it’s important to run your LiveOps on a regular basis, and promote them through existing social channel.

5.      Screenshots Style: Simple & Clean

When checking the screenshots of some popular apps from Korean publishers, we found that their screenshots are simple, minimalist & clean. Instead of making the design even busier and confusing with a lot of colors, they use one-color palette which can help make a layout look cleaner and more organized.

In fact, the color white that is associated with purity, innocence and temperance is used by many apps (local) in Korea for the background of their screenshots.

Here are some examples.

케이뱅크 (K bank)

케이뱅크 (K bank)

네이버 – NAVER

네이버 – NAVER

SNOW 스노우

SNOW 스노우

According to AppTweak, “Koreans have a preference for complex and anime creatives rather than the minimalist and realistic design found in the West”. I cannot agree with this.

6.       Localize Characters in Screenshots

When localizing your app screenshots to Korea, it is better to use Korean models. It makes the app more appealing to users as it makes it feel like the app was made for Korea.

Here’s an example of SNOW app.

Localize Characters in Screenshots

7.      Cooperate with Influencers or Celebrities and Show Them in Screenshot if Possible

International brands work harder in comparison to Korean brands as they need to persuade Korean users to choose their app or game over local ones. One of the best and most efficient ways to woo potential users is through social media influencers or celebrities.

South Koreans value the image represented by a brand, especially one that is endorsed by a trusted influencer that they follow.

8.      Icon

For apps, the color of blue, red, yellow and green are most used. For shopping apps, red, purple, and black have become representative of Korean luxury and high-quality. Many businesses use these colors in their marketing materials, logos, brochures, business cards, etc. as they are supposed to boost sales and profits.

Korea App Icon

For games, like many other countries, we put character in the icon.

Korea Game Icon

9.      Don’t Forget About App Rating and Reviews

Getting good reviews and rating from reputable sources are imperative, include them into your App description.

10.  Boost Your App and Game on Galaxy Store & ONE Store

Galaxy Store and ONE Store are native app store for Koreans. Galaxy Store is created by the largest mobile manufacturer – Samsung and ONE Store is a mobile app market that allows users to download apps that are limited in Korea only.

Galaxy Store

Summary

The Korean app and game market is growing both in downloads and revenue. In order to gain access and take a slice of the Korean app market pie, localization is necessary.

We have listed 10 practical tips for you to localize and optimize your app in Korea. However, local languages and cultural differences always present huge challenges. We recommend working with a native speaker or a specialist in app localization and culturalization.

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