How to make your app localization successful in the UK

Discover best practices and app localization strategies to reach more users in the United Kingdom

With relatively high smartphone penetration and household incomes, the UK is a key market for many game and app developers. In fact, it's consistently one of the top countries by consumer spend on gaming – and almost half of all men and women play games on their mobiles. An extra bonus from translating your app or game into English is that you're then ready to roll it out across all the world's other English-speaking markets.

1 Popular game and app categories

Games – top genres

Strategy games are extremely popular in the UK and consistently achieve top chart positions. Casual games such as 'Match 3' are also in high demand, and the popularity of role-play and puzzle games has created some interesting hybrids.

Apps – top genres

Communication apps are popular in the UK – but it's social apps that people spend maximum amount of time on. Photography, shopping, and dating apps also see plenty of action.

2 Pricing

Currency

The UK's official currency is the Pound Sterling (GBP). It's also known as British Pound, Sterling, Pound, or quid (informal). One British pound (£) is equivalent to 100 pence (p)

Some currency do's and don'ts

Dos Don'ts
£5
£10.99 £10,99 (don't use commas)
5p (pence) p5

Always use the '£' symbol throughout your game, app, or in-app store. Many developers mistakenly display prices in Euros (€) or Dollars ($).

Example: In-app purchases are listed using $, implying USD

Source: Angry Birds Evolution by Rovio Entertainment Corporation
Source: Angry Birds Evolution by Rovio Entertainment Corporation

Example: In-app purchases are listed using the correct local pricing

Source: Angry Birds Evolution by Rovio Entertainment Corporation
Source: Angry Birds Evolution by Rovio Entertainment Corporation

3 Transliteration

Be aware of the subtle differences in US vs UK spelling, punctuation, pricing, date formats, measurements, terminology, etc. When working on apps or games for use in both markets, give users the option of British English or American English.1 This is particularly important for word based puzzle games, such as 'crosswords' or 'word searches' to use the appropriate dictionary.

Context British English American English
British English words ending in 'our' usually end in 'or' in American English Colour
Flavour
Humour
Color
Flavor
Humor
Verbs in British English that end in 'yse' are always spelled 'yze' in American English Analyse
Breathalyse
Paralyse
Analyze
Breathalyze
Paralyze
In British spelling, 'L' is doubled in verbs ending in a vowel plus 'L'. In American English, the 'L' is not doubled Travelling
Travelled
Traveller
Traveling
Traveled
Traveler
Verbs in British English that can be spelled with either 'ize' or 'ise' at the end are always spelled with 'ize' at the end in American English Apologize or Apologise
Organize or Organise
Recognize or Recognise
Apologize
Organize
Recognize
British English words that are spelled with the double vowels ae or oe tend to be spelled with an e in American English, although there are exceptions to the rule. For example, archaeology is spelt the same way as British English, but archeology would be acceptable in America but incorrect in the UK Leukaemia
Manoeuvre
Oestrogen
Leukemia
Maneuver
Estrogen
Some nouns that end with 'ence' in British English are spelled 'ense in American English Defence
Licence
Offence
Defense
License
Offense
Some nouns that end with 'ogue' in British English end with either 'og' or 'ogue in American English Analogue
Catalogue
Dialogue
Analog or Analogue
Catalog or Catalogue
Dialog or Dialogue

4 Culturalization

Although British English and US English are almost identical, there are notable differences when it comes to culture. For example, the UK doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving – so replicating your big seasonal campaign there would probably miss the mark.

Music, TV and sporting trends are also quite different. Comedy is a good example – where the UK version of 'The Office' was re-created with a very different tone to suit US audiences.

And in sport, 'football' in the UK is known as as 'soccer' in the US, while 'American football' is another game entirely. Below is a good example of how to adapt your title to the UK and global markets:

Source: Top Eleven 2020 by Nordeus
Source: Top Eleven 2020 by Nordeus

Another misconception about the UK is that it's only one country, or part of mainland Europe. In reality, the UK comprises four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland1

Flag

Image alt text

This is especially important to note when developing apps or games related to sport. Some sports, such as Formula 1, sit under the British flag, whereas in other sports, like Association Football, they sit under one of the four constituent countries.

One last thing: the British Isles includes other islands such as the Isle of Man and Ireland – which is also known as the Republic of Ireland, and is a separate country.2

5 Mobile app user acquisition strategy

With one of the largest digital ads and eCommerce markets in Western Europe, there's no shortage of ways to reach and engage new UK users online. For example, the country is among the top 5 users of social media in Europe – making viral marketing through social platforms an especially effective route. The UK also has one of the highest YouTube consumption rates in the world.