Why You Must Localize Your International Advertising

Kira Portnaya's picture

Why You Must Localize Your International Advertising

Article posted by Kira Portnaya Fri, 04/03/2015 - 18:59

Professors Susan P. Douglas and C. Samuel Craig of New York University define international advertising as a “communication process that takes place in multiple cultures that differ in terms of values, communication styles, and consumption patterns.”

Online advertising allows us to target many geographical markets simultaneously, delivering a consistent message via the global medium- the Internet.  The same message, however, may be perceived differently in various parts of the world, which would affect the advertisement’s response rates and the conceived ROI of the campaign.

With online ad localization, there is a way to deliver a consistent message about your product, service or brand to a diverse, international audience.  This method implies segmenting your audience by geographical targets and customizing the ad for each of those markets.

Factors That Influence Advertorial Message Reception

There are a number of factors to consider in ad localization.  Simple word-for-word translation of the message is not enough.  A smart multinational marketer will take into account how the given message comes across to his global constituents, keeping in mind the constituents’ values, communication styles and cultural and religious sensitivities- in addition to the local language spoken in a given territory.  Current geo-political and geo-economic environments can also influence the reception of the message in addition to the afore-mentioned factors.   

Consider a scenario where a lifestyle brand advertiser releases an online banner ad with a photo of the same rugged SUV in America and in Italy.  The ad might perform great in America, where large vehicles like SUVs are embraced by families in suburban towns, outdoorsmen driving through rough terrain and urban businessmen wanting to make a statement to their peers.  However, an ad with an image of the same vehicle would perform a lot worse in a country whose constituents generally prefer more compact vehicles and cannot identify with the image in the ad- even if the written message is relevant and relatable. 

The ad elements that need to be taken into account for a fully localized campaign extend beyond how your message is presented: language, context and images- but also where and how content is consumed.   The placement of your ads is equally as important as your message, if you want it to be received at all.  Running your ads on the Google network might work for much of the world, given, of course, that appropriate geo-targeting options are selected, but some territories dedicate a much larger market share to other providers.  In Russia, for example, Yandex holds over 60% of the market share.  In China, Baidu and Soso are the popular networks of choice, with Google holding only 3% share.  As well, understanding desktop versus mobile access to the internet and other local users’ browsing habits helps to ensure that your localized ads are actually reaching your international audience.

Localization Solution Providers: A Smart Move For a Global Advertiser

Hiring an agency, a translator or a localization manager native to and familiar with specificities of each region targeted is a smart move that will help your marketing messages to be received as they were intended. 

OHT Media, by One Hour Translation, specializes in international, digital advertising localization.  Based on your original (source) campaign and the geographical regions you are targeting, OHT Media creates localized variants of your ads and landing pages and can also manage and optimize your international advertising on websites that are relevant to your target market, helping you reach more audiences around the world.

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