Our finding: businesses localize in the dark
The Global App Testing State of Localization Quality Report 2023 has findings about activities, challenges, and loc data – and we want to share them with you.
Earlier this year, we worked with our partner Lokalise to survey 150+ localization and product professionals to investigate how localization is changing, and how businesses ensure their user experience is flawless across every touchpoint when working in global businesses with a global customer base.
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We found something we weren't expecting.
In our opinion, the most surprising finding in our report was how little data businesses sometimes use when they localize. (We're using "data" inclusively to mean both quantitate data and qualitative data here.)
In general, teams were more likely to agree (40%) than disagree (29%) that they do not know what impacts local NPS and revenue.
This was also true for teams which were targeted by revenue and claimed to measure their impact that way.
This surprised us.
If your progression, budget, and the story you convey about your success, all depend on understanding something, why are 40% of teams in the dark about it?
One problem might be that businesses become reactive and wait for the data to come to them. We rely on market metrics (MAUs, revenue, NPS) and qualitative data (complaints, beta feedback) but not proactive investigations into our product experiences around the world.
Below is a case for better localization data, using our findings:
1. Measuring your impact will increase your budget
Some trends were very clear.
If you don't measure your impact in terms of statistics, it's unlikely your budget will increase. Teams which measured their impact by App Downloads were most likely to see a larger budget in 2023 relative to 2022, and teams which said that their success was Not Measured were most likely to see a stagnate or fall (85%).
If you take one thing away from this report, it's that you should be measuring your success. Good local user data is the cornerstone for a successful loc team, and it all starts with solid targeting and good data.
2. Mature teams seem to prioritize data
We asked teams whether they had enough data on local users to make decisions. Of businesses who agreed that they had enough data, 60% were high- or medium-to-high maturity.
The purpose of asking teams about their maturity level was to identify teams which felt they were closer to a localization team which is conceived and run successfully. Given the complex nature of the job and the diverse set of "success" criteria, it seemed better to use this self-assessment than attempting to impose our own model of success.
Mature teams were the most likely to see an increase in budgets – 22% saw a "significant" budget increase and a further 29% saw a "moderate" budget increase. Mature teams were more likely to know what affected local revenue and NPS, and more likely to see an increase in focus.
3. Loc teams agree the data difficulty is about speed of response
Just 31% of businesses identified "isolating drivers of low performance" as a top localization challenge; but "getting timely local market feedback" was selected by 54% of teams as a top internal challenge.
To make decisions about your local product, it sounds like fast data is much more complicated than data. That makes sense – product teams need to release very quickly, and we know lots of localization teams which split their product and marketing loc streams due to the differing needs on speed and quality.
There is another way. International user testing with panels is slow; the rapid UX surveys which Global App Testing can offer as part of our global growth toolbox is fast.
You don't have to localize in the dark.