4x as many people prefer to watch videos about products than to read about them, and 40% say they are more likely to make a purchase on their phones if they watch a video first. Internet videos already reach more people than any individual U.S. cable network, and 75% of business executives watch work-related videos at least once a week.
YouTube, the largest video-sharing platform, accounts for more than a billion viewers and millions of viewing hours each day. Part of their effort to reach global viewers is comprehensive localization and translation of their user interface, with YouTube offering local services in 88 countries and in 76 languages.
Videos are clearly one of the most effective means of reaching global consumers. Ideally, they are entertaining and informative, engaging and immersive. Done right, and with the help of translation companies, videos should be an indispensable weapon in any marketer’s arsenal. The question is no longer whether or not to use videos – but how to make them cost-efficient and globally attractive in order to maximize your return on investment (ROI).
Why videos work
Videos can resonate with your target audience more effectively than any other medium. As marketing expert, Anne Hadley said, “Video adds a pulse to your content. It makes your story tangible and real. So why wouldn’t we all embrace it?” Especially when “embracing it” can translate directly into increased sales and market share. For example:
- Studies show that including video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%. You can improve that rate even further by translating the website and landing page to appeal to an array of local audiences.
- Adding video to your translated website increases viewers’ time on-site and the likelihood that your website will appear on the first page of Google’s search results, a boon to your SEO efforts. (Search engines track the amount of time a visitor spends on a site before returning to the search results page. The more time someone spends on your site, the more relevant the link becomes to the search engine.)
- Sending an email with the word video in the subject line increases opens by 19% and click-throughs by 65%. It also reduces unsubscribes by 26%.
People are also much more likely to socially share video content over any other medium. Millennials, in particular, prefer to watch videos on their phones and are surprisingly likely to watch company videos when shopping online.
Video ROI and localization
While videos are clearly effective in boosting sales and brand recognition, they are also expensive. A great way to maximize ROI on a corporate video is to localize the content and distribute the video internationally, via social media to global audiences or directly to your employees or potential partners/investors overseas. But to avoid embarrassment and even potential liability, it’s critical to get your video professionally translated and localized.
Working with a language service provider (LSP) from the very beginning can help you determine how your message might be received in different locations, particularly those with distinct cultural differences. Ideally, this research should be conducted before the video is produced so that the content is appropriate for all intended audiences.
Strategies for localizing video
Targeting vastly different audiences with a single video is obviously not as effective as creating different versions for different audiences. But creating customized videos for each region is costly and may not always be an option. Here are three alternative strategies:
- Animation – Create a video that doesn’t rely on live actors. Animation can be engaging and has the advantage of narration – the narrator can speak in any language without needing to adjust the on-screen content to match.
- Dubbing – If actors are integral to the video, the next option to consider is dubbing. Voiceover talent records new dialogue in the target language that replaces the original spoken dialogue. Dubbing is a great way to localize your video for different audiences, but depending on the number of actors/voices in the video, it can be quite expensive.
- Subtitles – A third option is to use localized subtitles. This works for videos with or without actors. Subtitling is less expensive than dubbing and relatively easy to add to an existing video. The drawback, however, is that many viewers are reluctant to watch videos that require reading, and subtitles can distract from the visual message you are trying to convey. If your video is fast-paced, following the action and reading subtitles simultaneously might cause your intended audience to tune out.
Videos bridge the divide
Whether the videos are animated, dubbed, or subtitled, they are likely to be clicked and shared if they resonate with your target audience. In addition to obtaining professional subtitling or dubbing services, make sure to tackle issues of interest to the local audience and use cultural references that will appeal to your viewers. The more people feel represented in the videos, the more likely they are to share them.
Remember, ensuring cultural fluidity starts at the very beginning. A premiere LSP with proven video translation experience can help localize your content effectively so that it resonates with diverse audiences and even goes viral.