Proving the Value of Localisation. Interview with Ryan Webb.
Written byRyan WebbConversion & Analytics
Earlier in October close to 350 delegates descended on Bath’s Apex Hotel for a day of future-facing digital advertising content from the likes of Google, Facebook, Hitwise and Team SearchStar. It was a huge success, and you can read the summary here >>>
Part of that day was given over to our very own Ryan Webb who, alongside Adapt Worldwide’s Rawad Jammoul, took us on a fantastic tour around the world of localisation and transcreation.
Since then, Ryan’s started carving out a bit of a localisation measurement niche for himself, and he’s due to appear alongside Google and Amazon (!) at LocWorld 41 in November. With that in mind, and by way of conference follow-up, we sat down with Ryan to talk about localisation, it’s importance, his approach and how businesses can measure and prove the value of localisation.
1. In not too many words, please tell us what you do…
I’m Conversion and Analytics Director at SearchStar. My team ensures that clients’ website traffic is tracked and measured effectively. Then, using that data, we uncover insights to spot opportunities for increasing the likelihood that the traffic will carry out the desired action.
We work closely with the digital advertising team at SearchStar to make sure advertising traffic performs optimally. More recently, we also work with translation and localisation teams across Welocalize to do the same for international content.
2. Why, for you, is localisation such a key consideration for businesses?
Historically, UK-based advertisers have tended to either stick exclusively to the UK market, or if expanding beyond the UK, make very weak efforts to communicate in the native language of that market (think Google translate).
With a growing number of advertisers expanding internationally, it’s now becoming clear to us that there needs to be much more focus on delivering a more effective solution in those other markets. Localisation (or, more specifically, digital transcreation) is that solution.
3. What approach do you take when localising digital content?
We had a whole presentation on this at our conference this year! Essentially, with the support of our localisation expert friends within the Welocalize family, we go through a rigorous process that’s far more than just translation.
We take into account the audience, the market, the cultural variations, the choice of ad platform and more. Essentially, you carefully merge (i) the key things you know about your existing activity and (ii) the new things you need to feed into the planning process that are distinct to the market you are entering.
4. Can you give us a few tips on how to ensure you run effective measurement, testing and optimisation?
For measurement, the key is to agree the primary KPIs with stakeholders. Tracking metrics is usually pretty easy, but the problem with that is that far too much gets tracked and reported on, giving you an ocean of data to drown in.
Therefore, I’d recommend a KPI Workshop where you lock all stakeholders in a room and don’t let them out until they agree on those primary KPIs.
For testing, it’s essential to develop a robust test hypothesis before you start. As with tracking, testing is actually pretty easy; there are so many tools available now to get a/b testing up and running (Optimizely, VWO, Google Optimize etc).
Where we see this go wrong is that people start testing random things (think button colours!), whereas we spend significant time researching current website behaviour (both quantitative and qualitative research) to gain real insight into what is happening and why. From there, we can develop recommendations for tests that are far more likely to have a significant impact.
With optimisation the key is to keep it going. Don’t try some testing and then stop. Don’t just translate a page of content and then leave it. Measure and monitor the performance of your digital content, identify pages (or parts of pages) that could be improved and then develop testing hypotheses of how they could be improved.
5. How do you prove the value of localised digital content?
Be clear on what success looks like. If you keep your primary KPIs to the fore, then you’ll stay focused on delivering to that.
For example, we’ve got a few clients who when producing localized digital content get a little stuck on delivery metrics (e.g. speed of translation turnaround and linguistic quality etc.) as well as vanity impact metrics (e.g. engagement and time on site etc).
These metrics clearly help produce high quality content and also give context, but we want to measure success against whether the content delivers revenue for the business. Hence we focus on performance metrics such as conversion rate, revenue, page value etc...
Once you’re clear on the above, the rest falls into place. Your measurement, testing and optimisation activity will be set up to deliver to the right metrics. As such, your localised content will be deemed a success only when it is delivering tangible value to the business.