How Digital Globalization is Changing Content Localization

Localization of digital content and global search activities are key discussion topics for global marketing and content professionals involved in driving digital campaigns to multiple language markets. The ability to map localization opportunity, translate digital content in alignment with local search behaviors and track ROI of localization initiatives all boil down to one key variable, data.

Most digital marketing campaigns, wherever the target market, generate huge amounts of data. To drive successful global content marketing strategies, a data-focused localization approach is crucial.

Soaring flows of data and information now generate more economic value than the global goods trade.  Mckinsey & Company, February 2016

The global online marketplace continues to be a hyper-competitive space. Not only is accurately localized content crucial, so is the ability to map opportunity and track ROI against localization campaigns and initiatives. Conversations at Content Marketing World 2016 highlighted some of the challenges faced by global marketers on how to use data analytics to make strategic localization decisions to target local markets.

Why do organizations fail with digital marketing campaigns?

  • They don’t map opportunity properly and set global objectives.
  • They don’t localize content for correct target markets.
  • They skimp on translation costs, which results in localized content that doesn’t read naturally in the target language and can potentially be offensive to the intended target.
  • They don’t track progress and ROI results.

There are a number of areas global content marketers can focus on to improve campaign performance to ensure success. Online user behaviour is different in every market, even in different regions of the same market.

Online Search and Discoverability

It is crucial to understand the cultural and linguistic nuances of search terms in different languages and markets before localizing your content. Many companies blindly translate content without appreciating the need for proper search volume analysis in the country. Search is a great way to understand where you should be prioritizing your focus as a business. If you can see where there’s demand for your goods (both generic and brand search terms), you can adjust your focus and localization activities accordingly.

By identifying how local people search for products, services and content can help target marketing activities. Online search activities vary with each local market. You need to use native words and phrases for each country that are inherent to each local market and culture and understand which search engines are popular for each market. Search engines differ from region to region and many companies make the mistake of assuming global search engine trends without conducting the necessary research and understanding of each search platform.

Leverage Online Social Media

In today’s online world, social is where your customers are and where your brand needs to be. Social networks, and the digital marketing opportunities on these platforms, are still increasing dramatically.

Finding the right opportunity for your brand on social depends on the following areas:

  • Channel penetration. Which channels are the most popular in each market? Google search is the most popular search engine in the world; however, it is blocked in China. Baidu is the top search engine in China, with 71% market share. To effectively penetrate an emerging market, you need to know what search engines are used in different geographies and the languages they support.
  • Types of advertising opportunities. There are many types of advertising on Facebook, which is popular in the western world. There are also different opportunities on WeChat, which dominates the Chinese market with nearly half a billion users. Understanding how to take advantage of these marketing opportunities in different markets, in a way that is as relevant as possible to your customers, means working with global specialists who can deliver global social strategies at scale and against ROI. This will help you drive search campaigns that are natural to each market and reflect cultural nuances.
  • Measure success. When it comes to digital marketing collateral or any content that contains branded content, it is crucial that the message resonates in the target language in that same way that it does in the source language. It also needs to be accessible in each target market. To achieve this, specialist expert knowledge and technical tools are required to drive campaigns and measure success and ROI.

At Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize multilingual digital marketing agency, we take an analytical approach to localization, fusing first-rate linguistic talent with specialist digital capabilities to create data focused localization strategies.

The relationship between Welocalize facilitates vital communication, bridging the gap between localization and marketing teams. We use creative techniques to develop culturally adapted content and provide data analysis to ensure the right content hits the right target audience.  To learn more about Adapt Worldwide and the SEO, PPC and other online multilingual digital marketing services, email me at


Based in London, Alicia Miller is a Business Development Executive at Adapt Worldwide.