Measuring the impact of your US content can be tough in itself. Knowing how to measure the effectiveness of your international content can be even harder. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to take control of your content and maximize ROI in any market.
But how will you know if your localized content is truly effective? To measure your content’s success – and convince stakeholders it’s worthwhile – you’ll need to arm yourself with data. No doubt you already have stats on a whole range of metrics: from customer acquisition costs and retention rates to lifetime value and return on investment. While valuable, how can you turn this data into insights that inform an effective global marketing strategy? Fewer than 20% of marketers find they are able to do that.
Once you’ve cracked your home market, it can be even more complicated to figure out how to measure your international marketing success. If you’re thinking beyond translation and localizing your marketing strategy, you’re likely talking to different audiences in different locales on different channels. But you still want to compare your performance across markets while using local insights to drive local strategy. And that can seem complicated. But it doesn’t have to be.
It’s possible to establish a sustainable data 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 INTERNATIONAL GOALS?
As you gradually expand into new international markets, your goals for each one will most likely be very different.
For example, say you’ve focused heavily on becoming a leading player in the US market. You’ve carved a niche for yourself, people know who you are, and you’re on top of your game. At this stage, your goal will be to increase conversions and brand loyalty.
Perhaps, through word of mouth and some existing activity online, you’ve built up a small customer base in Germany. So you decide to head there next. Research indicates that offering information about your company and product in-language will be a great starting point in engaging the German market. And if you optimize your translated content for search, you’ll give yourself the best starting point to increase local engagement and build out your digital marketing strategy.
On the other hand, your research may indicate that some markets have great potential – but you’re not-yet known local competition is high, or American brands may be regarded with a little skepticism. For these markets, your first task is likely to build brand awareness and establish yourself as a credible player in the market.
Your goals and the local landscape in each market will determine what success looks like in your international markets. You can plan and prioritize your marketing localization efforts based on your goals. In doing so, you’ll be in a better position to maximize on local opportunities, gather data that is most relevant to driving local market growth, and also prove the case for international expansion by comparing data points across markets.
2. WHAT’S THE LOCAL MARKET CONTEXT?
Every market is unique, and different factors can affect the results you see across countries. For example, you may be measuring your 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 the obvious conclusion based purely on the data, consider the context. In Brazil and other emerging markets, smartphone use is on the rise. New smartphone owners are experimenting with lots of new apps, creating high download rates. As they explore the possibilities, they uninstall and replace their apps with new ones, generating a high churn.
In mature markets, however, smartphone use is more stable. And customers, having already explored the options, are more likely to stick to apps they know and like. This increases the customer acquisition cost, but the rate of engagement and average 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 a 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 and local KPIs, speak to an in-market expert or localization agency that knows your industry. They can tell you how to measure success most effectively in that specific market – and any local market trends you need to be aware of. Most importantly, they can help you interpret your in-market data in context. And they can also identify actionable insights to drive your local growth strategy.
3. WHAT’S YOUR LOCALIZATION STRATEGY?
Anomalies can plague data – especially when you’re dealing with different data sets across multiple markets. And basing your localization strategy on inaccurate data will waste time, money, and resources. Remember that translation is a tactic; it’s not your marketing localization goal.
To get the most out of your marketing localization budget, test local 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 before committing time and expense to expanding your international content.
It’s an approach we’ve taken with a number of B2B and B2C clients across a variety of tactics and markets. This has consistently delivered results and made it easier to prove the case for investing in local content. We saw, for example, a 45% increase in local market engagement in promoting localized organic and paid LinkedIn content for a telecommunications client. For a professional services firm, analyzing search data in market helped drive localized blog strategy and overall SEO performance. This increased site traffic by about 83%. For all of these clients, the case for localization and the resulting localization strategy was driven by local testing, rather than blind translation, of US domestic content.
Of course, measuring, interpreting, and testing data should also be part of a continuous cycle of improvement.
Take Groove, for example. The helpdesk startup had no problem finding new users, but couldn’t hold onto them. Through 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 brought stability to their business once again.
Ultimately the magic metric that will help you measure your brand’s international success is sales. But to maximize your in-market opportunities and help you achieve international growth, be sure you’re analyzing the right data – and interpreting local behaviors correctly.
Set clear international goals, and know how to measure their impact. Work with in-market experts who can provide insight into your data and help you drive your marketing strategy at the local level. Finally, test local findings before making a major commitment to your translation and localization strategy. Once you’ve incorporated these three changes into your global marketing strategy, you can measure and drive success in any market.