App Store Localization for Arabic – Effective ASO Strategies in MENA

When localizing our app to make it popular worldwide, we cannot neglect the Arabic world.

Arabic is the Middle East’s official language – almost! With the exception of a few countries, such as Israel, Iran, and Turkey, Arabic is the primary living language of the modern-day Middle East. Arabic and its different dialects are spoken by around 422 million speakers (native and non-native) in the Arab world as well as in the Arab diaspora making it one of the five most spoken languages in the world.

You can use Arabic for localization your apps in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. 

With high spending power and advanced digital penetration, the Middle East presents huge opportunities. If you want to expand your market in Arab world, follow our best strategies for App Store Optimization and localization in Arabic.

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Top 10 ASO Strategies for Expansion in The Middle East

1.      Use Arabic in Your App Store Listing

Add Arabic in your app store listing is vital to ASO. You can rank for words in the vernacular. And could help you rank in specific countries. Also, localization can boost conversions.

Although English is widely understood by many users in the Middle East, translating your application’s content to Arabic can help build a local feel to the app and strike a resonance with your audience. 

Use Arabic

2.      Blending into The Cultural Landscape

Optimizing the app’s visual content while targeting the Middle East marketplace, you must be mindful of the audience’s cultural beliefs and lifestyle to avoid affronting the end user. 

Religious sensibilities are crucial to take into account when planning your descriptions, screenshots and icons in your app store. In a majority of Muslim regions, religion plays a huge part in daily life. Underestimating the importance of religion can be detrimental to your apps and games – and beyond!

In the Middle East countries, you cannot use bold female model photos, product photos that are Haram in Islam, unethical and immoral photos, political images, etc. You cannot promote forbidden products like alcohol, wine, drugs, pork, cigarettes, and the like.

Middle East Culture

3.      Research Localized Keywords

It is important to conduct in-depth Arabic keyword research and identify the highest-volume key-phrases. If any particular country is a priority for you, examine the features of the use of certain keywords for this specific country and check traffic volume per keywords.

Then, you should put the most important keywords in title, subtitle or short descriptions.

4.      Fill Keywords in Arabic, English – UK, French-FR and Even English – US

For Arabic-speaking countries, it will be possible to use the UK locale, the Arabic locale, and the French locale in several countries, where App Store additionally indexes the French language. Also, some Arabians will use US apple ID to download apps which are not available on their country. In this case, you can also insert some Arabic keywords in your US locale.

As a result, in some regions, you will be able to use from 200 to 400 characters in the keyword field to promote applications on the App Store search results.

5.      Visual Assets: Show Wealth and Luxury

Arabs come from a society where respect and honor are the utmost things. Wealth and luxury are ways to depict status and respect in society. Additionally, most Arab countries are rich and can afford luxury as a basic necessity. 

Developers can ensure a hint of wealth and luxury in their app’s screenshots or icon by one or more of the following ways-

  • Fancy Design – Design your screenshot in rich and expensive looking. For example, add diamonds, castle, gold or use colors that weren’t too bright correlated with a higher perceived price. 
  • Compelling features – You can design your app with some compelling and unique features to meet the needs of the locals.
  • Testimonials – Try to collect testimonials of customers who testify the product as luxurious and classy. The experience of current customers influences new customers the most and they get convinced about the product being classy.
Screenshot Show Wealth and Luxury

6.      Visual Assets: Show Collectivist Culture

Unlike the USA, Middle East countries are collectivist in nature. They show a high degree of commitment to their families, groups and tribes. Hence, while promoting apps and games to the Arab countries, it is important to honor the family traditions, the elders and the collectivist nature of the people there.

For example, collectivist nature can be taken care of by depicting a family using your app orcustomizing an app or game for a family or group usage.

7.      Ramadan Marketing

Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam and it is starting on 12 April in 2021. It is also one of the busiest marketing seasons across the world, especially in the Muslim world – the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Southeast Asia.

Iconic symbols of Ramadan commonly used in app icons and screenshots. These symbols include the crescent moon, lanterns, Arab tea pots, dates and so on.

Ramadan Marketing

8.      Video Is the Way to Go

Millennials all over the Middle East are spending over three hours per day on online video, more than both messaging apps and games. If you want to better capture the attention from them, you’d better add a video in your store listing.

9.      Underestimating Your Competitors

2021 is set to take app localization to the next level. Even the smallest developers will localize their apps to increase downloads and revenues.

In this case, make sure your team knows all about different local app stores and learn as much as possible from your competitors so that you can become better than them.

What apps are popular, why people download them, how many positive reviews there are and what features generated them. Use all these insights to improve your product and marketing strategy, to get more 4 and 5-star reviews and increase your position in the App Store.

10.  Working with A Local Team

No matter how effective your localization team is, you’ll need a “local touch” to obtain useful feedback. Local experts can easily identify any unnatural sounding words you’ve used during translation. They can also provide you with important advice about how to approach your audience. Another great advantage when working with locals comes from the fact that you get an accurate idea about legislation. It’s hard to keep track of all legal modifications, especially in countries where new laws don’t make the international news.

App Store Optimization and Localization for Arabic: Final Thoughts!

Marketing in the Middle East has its gaps which you can benefit from. To launch effective App Store Optimization and localization strategies for the Middle East markets, you need first to have a solid base of information about the market possibilities. And then, follow the top 10 practical tips we prepare for you!

Have something more to add? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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