Three localisation principles every video marketer should know

The future of content marketing has been swaying increasingly towards video.

Statistics cited by MWP, a video marketing company, state that 55% of internet users watch at least one online video every day, with video also accounting for more than half of all mobile internet traffic. Perhaps the most striking statistic is that by 2018, it is estimated that 79% of all consumer internet traffic will be through video.

The reasoning behind these trends is fairly straightforward: greater mobile devices usage, faster internet speeds, innovative video sharing and playback features on Facebook and Twitter, and the popularity of video streaming websites such as YouTube and, in China, Youku.

The move towards video-based content marketing, both for consumer and B2B products, has been widespread throughout the United States and Western Europe over the last few years. According to HubSpot, an online advertising and PR firm, 36% of European firms surveyed cited “explainer videos” as among the most effective content formats, up from 25% the year previously. Branded engagement through video also rose, from 23% to 29%.

Brands would do well to create completely unique multimedia and video campaigns exclusively for each of their target audiences, but the costs involved often makes this unfeasible. And while translation, localisation, subtitling and voiceover services allow videos to be repurposed and repackaged for different cultural and regional audiences, such a project should not be approached without an appropriate strategy.

At Today Translations, we’ve put together the three fundamental principles every brand should consider ahead localising video content for marketing campaigns.

1. Subbing versus dubbing (versus voiceover)

It’s important to anticipate what kind of experience the audience is expecting. For example, is the audience more accustomed to watching foreign languages videos (whether they’re promotional, a television series or a film) while reading subtitles in their native language, or would a recording of the translated script acted by professional actors be more appropriate?

The answer is often based on cultural preference, which varies among European countries (often for cultural and historic reasons). See our dubbing and subtitling pages for a list of which is generally considered the most suitable in each country.

In much of Eastern Europe, meanwhile, voiceover remains the most common form of video translation, in which the original voice tracks is softened for the translated voiceover track file to be placed on top.

2. On-screen elements

Elements overlaid onto the video, such as text or branding features, should be considered for the target audience. Text should certainly be translated and, if applicable, font and font size should be revised based on the space they take up on screen.

Similarly, visual elements and branding may also need to be revised based on size and/or position on the screen. These elements should also be localised to match audience and consumer expectations and cultural norms, while also capturing their emotions. This may well mean that the message needs to be modified to accommodate the audience without jeopardising on branding.

To make this process as painless as possible, be sure to keep copies of your text and design files for localisation and re-design so that these can easily be imposed over the video.

3. Promotion and distribution channels

Content marketing is all about getting your message heard. For marketers, the mass popularity of social media has proven to be a Godsend and will naturally be a first resource for sharing video.

But making the most of your multilingual video content requires a strategy of its own. Ultimately, treat each targeted video as its own holistic campaign, rather than part of one larger, multilingual campaign.

For example, consider what the best distribution channel would be. Although YouTube is the undisputed heavyweight for online videos, more artistic videos may be more suited for Vimeo, while Chinese language videos will find a much larger viewership on Youku.

Also think about the demographic of your target audience.

A video aimed at younger audiences will look out of place on LinkedIn. But also consider demographic usage patterns. Statistics assembled by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers show that in the United States, as Facebook and Twitter usage among 12-24 year-olds has been falling in the last year, newer social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have seen huge growth.

We hope these three fundamental but effective considerations set you on your way to effectively getting your video content out to an engaged global audience. The challenges don’t stop there, however. You’ll want to keep the conversation going with your audience, enforce their loyalty and address their queries. Do it right and while the challenges will be multiple, so too will the rewards.