Marketing Localization are being swept by an endless tsunami of content shared across more channels than ever: website copy, product listings, e-books, paid promotions, white papers, videos, and more. The pressure to deliver on-brand content at speed and scale has never been higher.
On top of meeting this increased demand, international brands face the additional challenges of translating those assets into multiple languages and adapting them for multiple targeted audiences – all without sacrificing turnaround times or the quality needed to engage and convert customers.
With this in mind, Unbabel surveyed over 1,600 global marketers across eight countries to understand how they overcome the challenges of localizing content across cultures and scaling their business success internationally. Marketing Localization
Key topics and trends we explored are:
- How do global brands keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for multilingual content across more and more channels?
- Can they get their content out to international markets fast enough?
- Are they achieving the right quality to convert users?
- Are their processes and technologies set up to scale into additional languages and new markets?
- Is their investment in localization paying off, and how does that impact their broader business goals?
Our survey uncovered six pivotal trends about the future of content localization:
- Marketers are investing in translation and localization
- Marketers are embracing machine translation, and it’s delivering the quality they need
- Translation quality is the number one challenge for marketers
- Highly manual localization processes are affecting quality for marketers
- Localization is driving revenue growth and other business goals
- Companies in the early stages of Language Operations are seeing higher-quality results.
1. Marketers are investing in translation and localization
It’s a good time to be a global marketer: Unbabel discovered that 84% of respondents say that localizing content has had a moderately positive or extremely positive impact on revenue growth.
It should come as no surprise that they’re investing more in language to meet business goals: 89% said they plan to translate into additional languages within the next year, 13% of which plan to translate into nine or more.
And they’re not just reporting it – global marketers are putting their money where their mouth is: 75% of participants say their translation spend has been trending upwards or is roughly stable. Many are investing their efforts in top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) content such as paid ads (46%), email (41%), blogs, eBooks, and white papers (42%).
In particular, a strong trend toward localizing SEO is also emerging: 41% say they’re localizing SEO for all their markets, while another 40% are localizing SEO for some markets they serve. Why? Well, there’s little point in creating engaging content if customers can’t find it. Marketing Localization
One survey participant offered this advice: “Don’t approach localization as a one-off. Have a strategy for which markets require localization and which elements are to be localized. And then budget and plan thereby.”
translation and localization
In addition, we learned that many are also adapting their imagery (48%), specific brand terminology (47%), and brand tone of voice (36%) for other markets.
With the findings demonstrating a clear correlation between localization and ROI, it’s not surprising that global marketers are planning to translate into more languages and are launching a wider variety of content across more channels and markets. Marketing Localization
But what approaches are they using to overcome these challenges and accelerate their international growth as they scale?
2. Global marketers are embracing machine translation, and it’s delivering the quality they need
Machine translation (MT) has traditionally delivered cost and time savings. Yet, in the past, those two benefits often came at the expense of quality.
As we know. Quality is key for marketing content, which needs to convert customers while meeting style guide lines. Our survey findings support a major shift toward marketers embracing. MT as part of their localization strategy and that it’s delivering the quality they need.
This shift is likely driven by two things:
- Huge improvements in the quality of MT output now make it viable for more creative marketing content
- The need to find approaches that work as brands look to scale into new markets and languages
Thirty-nine percent of marketers said they are using machine translation as part of their localization strategy. And 83% of those who use machine translation are confident in the quality of their translations.
The machine translation global market increased by 124% over the past five years – from a $450 million market in 2017 to a $1.1 billion market in 2022, with steady year-over-year growth. This rise in quality, as well as MT’s ability to deliver content at speed and scale, explains its growing momentum among marketers.
delivering the quality they need
And it’s not just large enterprises that are investing in MT technology. We found the percentage of companies using MT is distributed evenly across all organization sizes.
- 301-500 employees (38%)
- 501-1,000 employees (37%)
- 1,001-5,000 (41%)
- 5,000+ (40%)
Certain industries are leaning into MT tools more than others. For example, our survey revealed that the manufacturing industry is a top adopter, with 49% harnessing its power for highly technical content. Following closely on manufacturing’s heels, 47% of respondents from the software/technology/electronics and retail industries employ MT’s scalability to keep up with their high growth and consumer demands. Marketing Localization
A survey participant offered this advice. The best thing you can do is make sure you have the right processes and tools for the job.”
Localization challenges, opportunities, and low-hanging fruit
The pressure is on, and global brands must deliver first-class multilingual experiences to compete in international markets. It often falls on marketers to lead the advance, adapting their brand for new audiences or valued customers.
And the challenges can quickly multiply for marketers as their business expands into new markets, leading to one pressing question: How do they deliver multilingual content at the right quality to convert customers across all their channels?
The good news, there is a solution, and the global marketers we surveyed. Are paving the way with their learnings and successes.