Measuring your content’s impact at home is tough. Knowing how to measure success overseas can be even harder. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are three steps to help take control of your content in any market.

So you’ve defined your brand voice. You have a solid international SEO strategy. And you’re ready to localize everything from social to print content.

But how will you know if your global marketing is working?

To measure your content’s success – and convince investors it’s worthwhile – you’ll need to arm yourself with data.

Of course, you know that already. You’ve collected stats on a whole range of metrics: from customer acquisition costs and retention rates to lifetime value and return on investment. They sound impressive, but can you turn this data into insights that inform an effective marketing strategy? Maybe not – in fact, less than 20% of US marketers can.

And once you’ve cracked your home market, it can be even more complicated to figure out how to measure success overseas. You’re talking to a different audience for different reasons on different channels. You’ll need to adjust your metrics accordingly – but you still want to compare your performance across markets. It’s enough to make your head spin.

But it doesn’t have to be this hard.

It’s possible to establish a sustainable model that transcends markets and keeps you consistently up to date. All you need is a little foresight, advanced planning and the answers to these three questions.

1. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

As you gradually expand into new markets, your goals for each one will most likely be very different.

Say, for example, you’re the leading player in your home market. You’ve carved a niche for yourself, people know who you are and you’re on top of your game. Congratulations. At this stage, your focus will be on increasing conversions and brand loyalty.

Through word of mouth and some existing contacts, you build up brand recognition in Germany, so you decide to head there next. You’ve done your research, so you’ve got a strategy to further boost market share. Your success in this market thus relies on the effectiveness of that strategy.

Once you’ve conquered Germany, you decide to expand into Russia. No one’s heard of you there, so your first task is to build brand awareness and establish yourself in the market.

Your goals will determine what success looks like in each market. Before analyzing any data, know what you’re trying to achieve. You’ll have a better idea determining and prioritizing what specific metrics are most important and relevant.

2. WHAT’S THE CONTEXT?

Every market is unique. And different factors can affect the results you see across countries.

For example, you may be measuring app install and uninstall numbers to calculate customer acquisition and retention rates. In Brazil, you see twice as many uninstalls as in France.

Before jumping to conclusions, consider the context. In Brazil and other emerging markets, smartphone use is on the rise. These new owners are experimenting with lots of new apps, creating high download rates. As they grow bored with these apps, they uninstall and replace them with new ones, generating a high churn.

In mature markets, smartphone use is more stable, and customers are more likely to stick to apps they know and like. This increases the customer acquisition cost, but engagement and spend will also be higher, increasing the customer lifetime value.

A direct comparison of the metrics won’t bring out these nuances. Although the download rate is lower in France, marginal gains will have higher value than the larger volumes in Brazil. Similarly, reducing the uninstall rates in Brazil, even if they’re still higher than in France, is a sign you’re breaking through.

To make sure you have an accurate picture of the data you’re collecting, speak to an in-market expert or international agency who knows your industry. They can tell you how to measure success most effectively in that specific market – and any trends you need to be aware of. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, too – you can learn from their successes and failures.

3. WHAT SHOULD YOU TEST?

Anomalies can plague data – especially when you’re dealing with different data sets across multiple markets. And basing your strategy on inaccurate data will waste time, money and resources.

To prevent this, test any insights you’ve gained on a small scale first, before fully rolling out a strategy or tactic. This way, you can try new things, fail fast and discover the right approach more quickly.

It’s an approach that convinced our London branch to introduce video to their LinkedIn content strategy. Video is important in the UK market, but they weren’t sure if it would work for them. So they produced a short, simple video whose primary purpose was to test the viability of the medium.

The results were staggering: 16% more impressions than any other post that month. View rates were 29% higher than their average click-through rate. And they saw a significant spike in new followers and visits to their company page immediately afterwards.

Having proven the concept, they could justify incorporating videos into their strategy and investing time and resources on them. And they could be sure this effort would yield rewards.

Of course, measuring, interpreting and testing data is not a one-time thing. It should be part of a continuous cycle of improvement.

Take Groove, for example. The help desk startup had no problem finding new users, but couldn’t hold onto them. Using data, the startup identified this issue, then acted on it. They set up a support function for users spending less than two minutes per session in the tool. This reduced their churn rate by 71% – and put their business back on a sustainable footing.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are no magic metrics that will help you measure your brand’s success overseas. But you can put steps in place to make sure you’re analyzing the right data – and interpreting your findings correctly.

Set clear goals, and know how to measure their impact. Speak to an in-market expert who can provide insight into the stats you’re seeing. And test any findings gradually before making major changes to your strategy. Once you’ve incorporated these three changes into your marketing strategy, you’ll know how to measure success in any market.