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How Global Brands Can Improve ROI from Ad Localization?

I bet that you appreciate an email starting with your first name more than an email beginning with a generic “Hi there.” And an email informing that you forgot to buy the products added into your cart might impress you.

Brands impress customers with tailored messages. They show consideration for the customers’ needs. Of course, a tailored email isn’t enough, but it reveals that personalization converts and improves the ROI. Global brands don’t have any solution but to offer tailored messages. But delivering tailored ads and messages to each customer is impossible. As a result, global brands use localization to better communicate with consumers.

Ad localization is vital for global brands to get a bigger market share. What is cool and fancy in the US might be offensive in Japan, or vice-versa. The customers’ expectations are different too. Even though you sell globally, you have to advertise locally if you want to improve your ROI. Many global brands have done it, so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

Ad Localization

The concept behind ad localization is simple: an ad should resonate with the viewer for maximum effectiveness. An ad or any other promotional material should be adapted to the client’s culture and taste. It’s not an exaggeration to state that ad localization means respect for customers.

Global means the English language, but over 75% of Earth population don’t speak English. 87% of consumers who have a very minimal English grasp don’t buy from sites with English content. Over 70% of Japanese consumers prefer to buy from sites using Japanese language. These stats convinced you that localization isn’t a fade, is it?

Conversely, lousy localization damages your brand and decreases the revenue. A mistake of your marketing team might hurt the feelings of people. Many of them will show their anger on social media channels. Clearly, you don’t want that kind of advertising.

How to Improve ROI from Ad Localization?

Ad localization noticeably improves the ROI of companies so you may wonder how to create the proper ads for your company. Obviously, each brand has its own particularities, but there are a couple of general tips to craft a successful ad.

  1. Cultural Differences

There aren’t good or bad cultures, these are just different cultures, and no matter how impactful a global brand is, people don’t change their lifestyle, principles, or vision. So, don’t try to change the opinion of your consumers; it’s better to craft a message that is in line with their culture and expectations.

No brand wants to offend the potential customers, but there are many examples of huge brands that failed to deliver a positive message through ads. Starbucks learned the hard way that hurting consumers is simple. In 2002, Starbucks released “Collapse into cool” campaign that was a real disaster. The two cups resemble the World Trade Center towers, the dragonfly looks similar to a plane, and the name really reminds of the terror attack from 9/11. Not quite inspired, isn’t it? Take into account that Starbuck is an American brand.



It proves that sometimes marketers aren’t aware of their own culture and people expectations. Undeniably, if you expect a high ROI from an ad campaign, you can’t ignore cultural differences. Geert Hofstede, a Dutch psychologist, created a system of six criteria of grouping the cultures. The factors are:

  • Power Distance: It refers to how the culture handles the inequality in terms of social position, money, influence, or power.
  • Individualism & Collectivism: It refers to the degree of connection between people. For example, an ad focused on an individual is better perceived in the USA than in China. Americans appreciate individualism while Chinese are more focused on the idea of collectivity.
  • Masculinity-Femininity: Masculine-oriented cultures are success-oriented and emphasize competition while feminine cultures stress teamwork and balance.
  • Uncertainty Avoidance: It refers to how cultures accept risks and new situations.
  • Long-term vs. short-term orientation: An ad destined for the latter category should highlight the immediate results. “Get now”, “Act now” might be useful for these ads. Long-term orientation cultures appreciate patience and people focus on long-term profits.
  • Indulgence restraint. Indulgent cultures are more tolerant and sometimes accept breaking rules. Restraint societies are pessimistic, formal, and less tolerant.

            The ROI of your ad depends on how you appreciate the culture of consumers. These criteria help you to target customers better so you must do substantial research to know the subtleties of their culture.

  1. Quality Translation

Automation is the future, but currently, professional translation services are incomparably much better than the results of the best translation software. A global brand can’t allow the luxury of making translation mistakes. Any mistake ruins the chances of a high ROI. People instantly associate poor translation with poor services, and they won’t buy from you.

Professional translators know that you need to rank high for specific keywords and will take them into account. They have the skills to tweak your content to fit to local search patterns. Translation software lags behind at this chapter.

Content formatting is a neglected aspect, but it has an intriguing role. Some cultures like a large block of texts while others dislike. For instance, American consumers go for short and concise texts while Germans appreciate paragraph format. Use bullet-form format for an ad displayed in Japan because they like it. An international translation agency will add that needed human touch to the translation, including the proper format of your promotional materials.

  1. Design Expectations

The design expectations are strongly linked to the cultural background. You have to take into consideration the visual preferences of the consumers to craft a compelling add.

Each culture has particular design expectations that need to be respected. Scandinavians, Germans, and Swiss react better to minimal design. A clean and simple ad resonates with them.

French and Spanish prefer large images, vibrant colors, and eye-catching typography. Indians appreciate collectivism, so don’t use too much white space as you do for Americans.

“Learn the rules like a pro so that you can break them like an artist,” said Pablo Picasso, and he is right. All these design patterns aren’t rules carved in stone so you can break them. If you don’t risk, you won’t win!

Localization is in the mind of many marketers because it brings more revenue and high ROI. An accurate localization implies a plethora of factors, but cultural differences, quality translations, and design expectations are pivotal.

What do you think about ad localization? Please leave a comment and let me know your opinion. We are glad to engage with you!

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