A New Era in Language Targeting

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Personalised content and messaging has become a crucial way for brand owners to engage, build and deepen relations with their consumers. That’s why reaching out to people in their native language wherever they are is an obvious step in a marketplace that is linguistically diverse. Yet for years, many marketers have struggled to do so at scale. Until now.

The importance of native language targeting cannot be underestimated.

Take London – with more than 300 different languages spoken by its residents and some 31.5m tourists visiting each year, it is a powerful demonstration of how many of the world’s busiest cities are growing increasingly linguistically diverse. Or New York, where more than 49% of all residents speak a language other than English at home.

Now consider the benefit to a brand owner of being able to target only French-speaking tourists when they are in London, for example. Or to the potential of speaking directly with Polish native speakers in the UK, irrespective of their geographical location.

In today’s global marketplace, any marketer wanting to communicate with ethnic, foreign language and tourist audiences – or, indeed, reach a global audience – can increase the impact of their communications with language-specific targeting.

And whilst the capabilities have existed for some time, many it seems are failing to tap this opportunity. Nearly three out of five – some 59 per cent – of marketers questioned in one recent survey had no money allocated to target multilingual audiences inside the US. There is good news, however. The growing sophistication of data analytics and geo-location means native language targeting won’t be sitting on the fringe of marketing for very much longer.

Back in 2009, Facebook became one of the first social networks to promote language-targeted ads. It did this by identifying groups according to the language a user used in most of his or her social activity. It also offered marketers the ability to apply location-based targeting for cities and within selectable sizes of catchment areas.

Fast forward to 2014, and Facebook introduced ‘ethnic affinity’ advertising, identifying different target groups by categorising users according to their interests. Around the same time Twitter launched a feature to advertisers using its microblogging service that allows marketers to target up to 20 languages in their promoted tweets and promoted accounts, enabling users to see highly relevant ads in their own language.

Today, advances in data analytics – notably, the ability to tie language to location, mobile, census and demographic data points – combined with new creative approaches to digital marketing, are delivering ever-widening opportunities to reach minority consumers on the move.

Marketers can now pinpoint different, anonymised groups via their mobile devices and tailor messages to individuals based on each recipient’s online behaviour and location, as well as their native language. This powerful combination boosts both relevance and engagement and marks a new degree of sophistication in personalised marketing.

AdMaxim’s recent work with luxury shopping outlet group Value Retail neatly demonstrates this potential.

Value Retail wanted a campaign to connect with international tourists when within reach of their Bicester Village designer outlet in order to encourage footfall. The result was a campaign powered by AdMaxim’s advanced PinPoint location solution to target users around tourist hotspots such as airports and train stations to collect device IDs of users entering the country.

High-wealth Chinese and Arabic speaking tourists visiting the UK were targeted through their smartphones. The solution used the devices’ language settings to reach users in their own native language as they passed through southern UK airports and key shopping areas in London to encourage them to visit Bicester Village. Over 2.6 million ad impressions were served as part of the campaign.

Value Retail shows native language targeting is finally coming of age. Technology is making it simpler, more nuanced and so increasingly impactful and effective. And, even better, by enabling not only more personal but also more relevant messaging, native language targeting delivers value for brands and consumers, alike.

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