Translating your brand message in a way that resonates with foreign audiences remains the central challenge of international marketing. But if the right message is paired with the wrong medium, your strategy could be spoiled from the start.
To help international marketers avoid that unfortunate scenario, Smartling has teamed up with the experts at eMarketer to take a closer look at how audiences around the world consume their media. Here’s a sample of some of our more surprising findings.
Less Than Half The World Is Online
A day without the Internet sounds like a nightmare to most modern marketers. But for nearly 55% of the world’s population, accessing the Internet even once a month is still out of reach.
This revelation provides two clear takeaways for marketers. First, don’t assume that an elaborate, multi-channel digital marketing campaign will convince and convert every audience. Research which channels currently resonate and focus your attention there.
Second, take heart in the fact that there is a massive pool of potential customers still awaiting initial contact. Infrastructure improvements will soon send a swell of new digital consumers flooding into the online economy. And when they do, brands smart enough to claim early stakes on fertile foreign soil could see a significant increase in their harvest.
The Next Half May Be Mobile-First
Smartphones are just one of many internet accessories available to consumers in established digital markets like North America and Western Europe. But in regions where Internet penetration is still approaching critical mass, more consumers may bypass desktop platforms and begin their online lives mobile-first.
In the Middle East and North Africa, for example, 93% of Internet users access the web via mobile. And it seems smaller screens do nothing to discourage sustained engagement. Consumers in every country across the region spend more time online each week than with any other media channel.
Simple website translation can be a quick way to gain ground in these circumstances, as establishing yourself among the first foreign brands to cater to local culture often forges powerful bonds. But your long-term international marketing strategy must also account for the fact that not all mobile engagement is browser-based.
Mobile messaging tools like WhatsApp, Line and Facebook Messenger are currently bringing billions of global consumers into the app economy — 2.19 billion by 2019, to be exact. As this appetite for modular mobile experiences increases, app localization could be a vital way to sustain engagement.
Traditional Media Still Has A Hold
No one would contest that the digital transformation of global media is well underway, but does that mean traditional media is dying? Not quite yet.
Politics likely explain why print, TV and radio still account for 58% of media engagement in China. Personal attachment could be what keeps 90% of Canadians coming back to the TV each day. And privacy concerns are probably what makes the French slow to embrace smart home devices.
Whatever the reasons, though, they aren’t nearly as important as the reminder they provide.
International marketing has no shortcuts and offers no universal truths. Each new audience carries its own peculiarities that brands must decode. If you’re bold enough to acknowledge, analyze and appreciate these differences at a meaningful level, the destination is always well worth the journey.
Make Your Move
Download eMarketer Roundup: Media Usage Around the World today for a deeper dive into the global media trends that could connect you to your next market!