This week we have an awesome case study from AutoScout24.ch, the most successful car app in Switzerland that serves as a marketplace for buyers and sellers of cars. By taking into account the dialect in its country and adapting its keyword strategy, they got impressive results that increased their visibility and number of installs significantly. Its author is Oliver Hoss, who is Mobile Marketing Manager for Scout24 Switzerland and author of the book “App Store Optimization – A Step-by-Step-Guide to Boosting Your App’s Organic Downloads”.
AutoScout24.ch is a marketplace for buyers and sellers of new and used cars. With more than 570,000 MAUs that create more than 7 million sessions per month, AutoScout24.ch is the most successful car app in Switzerland.
As a multilingual country with three official languages, Switzerland is a challenging market in terms of keywords research (actually Switzerland has four official languages, but Rhaeto-Romanic is not a localization supported by Apple, thus it does not matter for ASO). 63% of the population speaks German as their native language, 23% French and 8% Italian . In addition, many expats from all around the world live in Switzerland, making English a relevant language too.
To be honest, ASO was not a big topic at AutoScout24.ch in the past. After setting the keywords initially, not more adjustments have been made to the various keyword sets. So it was obvious that AutoScout24.ch did not exploit its potential in terms of organic user acquisition. When I joined the company in 2017, one of my first tasks was to change that. Here is what I did.
Methodology: How Localization Helped To Increase Visibility and Installs
First, I analyzed our current German keyword set with the help of TheTool. It turned out that some terms created only very small search volumes, although I considered them highly relevant.
Let us take the word “Gebrauchtwagen” for instance (we Germans love to connect single terms and create very long word-monstrosities). This keyword which translates to “used car” is for sure relevant for a marketplace for buying and selling cars. But among Swiss users who search the App Store it was not popular at all.
I talked to colleagues about this case and learned that even the German-speaking Swiss use a French term to talk about used cars: “Occasion”. As a freshman-expat, that was new information for me. I did some more research and gained very interesting insights: Swiss German differs significantly from Standard German, not only in pronunciation but also in grammar and vocabulary.
I checked the term “Occasion” with TheTool, and indeed it outperformed “Gebrauchtwagen” in terms of search volume by more than 100%. With the insights, I gained and the help of TheTool, I was able to identify more terms that delivered better search volumes than our existing keywords.
After replacing them and reassembling a new German keyword set, we soon saw great results. In the first week after the adjustments, the number of search impressions per week went up by 21%. In the following weeks, it further increased to up to 56% more visibility. Here’s a chart with our app’s visibility evolution after implementing the new strategy:
Encouraged by these results, I added an English product page as a second action. Our data showed that about 10% of the AutoScout24.ch users had their device language set to English. So I assumed that the expat community in Switzerland had a significant interest in our app and an English localization would make our app more accessible to them. TheTool was again a great help in researching English keywords and I found some very promising terms. I also adjusted terms of the French keyword set according to the search volumes they created.
My third measure targeted the Italian localization. For AutoScout24.ch, Italian speakers are by far the smallest user group and most of the Italian keywords were not very helpful in terms of visibility. So I applied a strategy that was introduced by Moritz Daan in 2016 : I eliminated some of the low-volume Italian terms. Then I replaced them with German keywords that I couldn’t use in the German localization due to the keyword field’s character limit. Note that this approach can be considered a gray hat ASO measure. It is not prohibited by Apple, but the staff reviewing your app might delete keywords that do not match the localization.
The results of these additional measures were even better than the outcome of adjusting the German keywords. Within six weeks after uploading the new keyword sets, the number of weekly impressions went up another 74%. All in all, the number of downloads per week increased by up to 38%. Here’s its evolution regarding downloads expressed in percentage:
In a Nutshell – How Localization Increased an App’s Visibility by 74% and Got 38% More Downloads
Here are the key takeaways from this case study:
- Educate yourself about regional languages and dialects of your target geo. You might come across keywords that you haven’t had on your radar before.
- Use a tool to research the search volumes of your keyword candidates. Without the data that TheTool provided, my optimization process would have been a never-ending try-and-error story.
- Use all the localizations that are indexed in your target geo. In most cases, at least two are, sometimes even more.
- Don’t hesitate to use keywords that don’t match the localization in order to increase visibility for a more important language.
 “Der Bund kurz geklärt”, Schweizerische Bundeskanzlei, 41. Edition, February 2019, downloaded from https://www.bk.admin.ch/bk/de/home/dokumentation/der-bund-kurz-erklaert.html in April 2018.
 Moritz Daan, “Increasing the Number of Keywords in App Store Optimization in Localization”, ASO Stack, June 8th, 2016, https://asostack.com/increasing-the-number-of-keywords-in-app-store-optimization-by-localization-daa02ffd8946, accessed April 2018.
Bonus: Get a 10$ Discount on Oliver’s eBook – “App Store Optimization – A Step-by-Step-Guide to Boosting Your App’s Organic Downloads”
Oliver has recently written a complete book on App Store Optimization, and he’d like to share it with our audience and give a 10$ discount for its digital version! Don’t hesitate and get yours.
Download the ASO ebook here and use the code “thetool2019” to get the discount.