January 22nd, 2009 admin
It’s a common question, which we get from many clients:
“I’ve got a successful product that’s selling in English. How can I tell which languages I should translate to?”
It turns out, you can know in advance by doing a simple experiment. You’ll get real-world data, specific to your product, eliminating the guesswork and speculation.
A tiny investment can help you make the right decision and spend your money and time where you can get a return.
Test to see what people are looking for
Since Google is the de-facto standard for web search, this is where the data is found. Luckily for us, Google makes this data available and easy to access. It’s not necessarily done for the greater good of humanity. Google knows that making it easier for advertisers benefits them directly.
0) Setup a Google Adwords account
If you don’t have it, set it up. It’s free and takes a few minutes to set up. Until you start running live ads and getting clicks, you don’t need to pay for anything.
Before we start running ads, we’ll use the free data mining tools from within your account.
To start, go to Google Adwords.
1) Use Google keyword tool to see how many people search for your product in their language
Google Keyword Research Tool
It’s pretty trivial, but often overlooked. It’s much easier to sell something when people look for it. If it’s a great product but people don’t know they need it, you’re in to a lot of work. Once people already know they need something like you’re offering, they start searching for it.
Once logged in to your Adwords account, click on Tools->Keyword Tool.
Enter your keywords in the keyword box and then click ‘Get keyword ideas‘.
If you need help with translating your search terms from English to Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Chinese or Japanese, you’re welcome to use our keyword translation tool. This tool will show you translation, done by our professional human translators for common search terms. You can use it to see how people might look for your product in their language.
2) Review the statistics and check for search volume and advertiser competition
Keyword search results
In this example, we’ve searched for wine, translated to Spanish - vino.
We asked Google to show a broad range of results, so that we can see both our search term and other related terms (this is the default option).
If we look closely at the results, we can see that about 320,000 each search for either vino or vinos (wine or wines). We can also see that advertiser competition is fierce. Where there’s a lot of fish, there are also a lot of fishermen.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t venture into this. We just need to go with eyes open and understand the market beforehand. If your market position is already excellent in English, you could gain market share in the crowded Spanish vino market.
However, if we’re planning on serving a very niche market of ‘Bodega vinos‘, we should be aware of the fact that only 46 people per month are search for it (on Google).
Put up an ad and check how people react to it
Now that we’ve made sure that people are looking for what we’re going to offer and that we can compete with the advertising competition, it’s time to see if people like what we’re offering.
We’ll create a text ad (or a few of them) and a landing page. Then, we’ll let it run for a while and collect information.
3) Summarize your message in a single sentence
If you havn’t done this already, now would be a good time.
When you put up an advertisement, people need to be able to scan it in a fraction of a second and decide if it’s relevant for them. You need to be able to tell your whole store in a simple and short sentence. If you can’t do it, chances are there’s something wrong with your story.
So, today, we’re selling red wines from Mendoza. Why should people buy from us? Because we sell directly from the winery to your home.
Instant Human Text Translation
Here’s our ad text, in English:
Title: “Mendoza red wine”
Body: “From the winery to your home. Check your cost!”
This sums up unique our selling proposition and asks for action (“check your cost”). If you’re in the market for red wines, the title will grab your attention.
Now, we need to translate this to Spanish. This is very delicate text and we want to know we’ve translated it correctly. Machine translation will not do it justice and will likely lead us to wrong conclusions (for which we’ll pay with interest).
We’re going to use the Instant Human Text Translation service from ICanLocalize. What this does is send your text, along with the comments we’ve entered to a professional translator (who’s a native Spanish speaker). The translator would provide the correct translation to put in our Spanish ad.
4) Create a landing page
A landing page is where visitors arrive after clicking your ad. Our landing page will let visitors know they came to the right place, elaborate a bit more about what we’re offering and suggest what to do next (buy our wine, learn more or ask us a question).
We can create a landing page in a variety of ways. If you’re already using a Content Management System, you can just add another page with it. Otherwise, create a static HTML file. It doesn’t really matter how, what’s more important is what you put there.
The title of the landing page can just repeat the ad title. Then, the text should be short and clear. Remember that your visitor has just clicked on an ad and got there. It doesn’t mean visitors are willing to spend minutes figuring out what you’re offering.
Use 2-4 very short sentences, explaining what you’re offering, what makes it unique and why it’s a must-have and anyone who likes wine.
Then, add some action buttons. Ideally, you’ll have a single prominent action button for your preferred action (go shopping).
Once you’re happy with your landing page, get it translated too. For this too, you can use the website translation service from ICanLocalize to translate anything from a single page (this landing page) to your entire website.
5) Get ready to record statistics
Before going live and starting your experiment, make sure you can collect and analyze results. Here the possibilities are wide.
We use Google Analytics for measuring results. Some people don’t like it, as you’re basically sharing your private information with the same company where you’re advertising in. Conspiracy theories suggest that Google uses this information against you. We haven’t seen any evidence for this.
Other web analytics tools run on your web server logs to get the exact same information. Besides Google Analytics, we also use a program called Web Log Storming.
Whatever you decide to use, it’s important to be able to collect data starting with the ad views, through ad clicks and all the way to the actions taken on your landing page.
6) Run your ad to get real life statistics
Ad creation tool in Adwords
Go back to your Google Adwords account and create an ad based on the translated ad text you’ve got. Take your time and be very specific.
The ad setup tool lets you select important parameters such as the search language and location. Choose these wisely.
You’ll get more accurate information by creating several campaigns with tighter targeting. For example, you could create a different campaign for Spanish speakers in the US, Central America and South America. You can even go deeper and create a different campaign per country.
Let you ad run for a while before you jump to conclusions. A week is usually considered the shortest duration for any such experiment. Also, take into account any holidays or vacations that occur while you’re running your experiment and factor their effect.
Caution: make sure you set a reasonable daily limit for your ad. You don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for running this experiment. Also, to start with, turn off the ‘content network’ and stick to Google search. This will reduce the chance of fraudulent clicks affecting your data.
Analyze the results, draw conclusions and follow them
Now that your ad has been running for about a week, you’ve got lots of information that needs to be analyzed. Let’s start with what we’re interested in:
- How many people saw your ad?
- How many clicked on it?
- How long did they stay in your landing page?
- Where did they continue?
You can tell how many people saw your ad and how many of them clicked on it by checking the ad’s statistics in Adwords.
If you set up goals you’ll also be able to see, right here, how many continued to what you’ve defined as ‘goals’ (like your purchase, or payment page).
General reference: a click through rate (CTR – the percentage of people who clicked on your ad, out of those who saw it) of about 1% is OK. If you’re seeing something like 3-5%, you’re in excellent shape. Much below 1%, means you’re going to need a whole lot of visitors in order to get significant traffic. You should consider making changes in your ad text if you’re seeing this kind of CTR.
Next, go to your Web Analytic and check what’s going on there. Check how long people have stayed on your landing page. This is an excellent indication for their level of interest. Visitors who spent 5 seconds and flew away are not likely to become your loyal customers.
Check where they’re coming from, what time of the day they’re visiting (hint: are they at work or home?) and what they’re doing next on your site.
Don’t ignore the results you’ve collected
This may seem a bit trivial, but it isn’t. When you’ve set your mind to it, it’s not always easy to accept contradicting results.
If your experiment produces much different results than you’ve expected to see don’t kill the messenger. Just because you don’t like the results doesn’t mean they’re wrong. If you’re not happy with what you see, try again. Think about your value proposition and how you stated it. Don’t be shy about changing things and trying again.
And, if you did get the reassurance you wanted, make sure it’s valid. Before you venture in, try to get visitors to interact with you and validate your conclusions. Ask people to leave comments or to contact you. Ask them questions and see how they respond.
Final words: Good luck with your enterprise. We know it’s not easy getting into unknown terittories, especially when you don’t speak the language. If you need any help, contact us and we’ll do our best to assist.
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