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Web Analytics our CEO Wants to Hear
In February 200 , Facebook set the foundation for global domination.
The company became multilingual by
launching the Spanish version of its
website; and added 42 languages within
only a year.Today, Facebook provides
over 100 languages, including: Pirates
English, Upside Down English, and—
StarTrek fans be thanked—Klingon.
What amazes me is not the speed
at which Facebook translated their
website, but how MarkZuckerberg
positioned localization as a strategic
initiative for growth. Facebook tripled
its user base in France in just three
months as a result of his vision. In Italy,
Facebook’s membership exploded
and grew in size ten times from May
to December of the first year of
From day one, Facebook compared
language activity with business
outcomes. Figure 1 shows the Italian
example very impressively.
The key term here is business outcomes.
Yes, Facebook did manage a tight ship
for localization.The company heavily
relied on its membership for free
translations; only a hand-full of project
managers drove the translation into 47
languages in the first year.They invested
in collaborative tools and used the
Facebook platform and its functionality
for online collaboration and quality
assurance—think “Likes” instead of
J2450 quality criteria. Facebook used
a translation agency only for certain
document types, such as legal or
Facebook, in essence, did not only
invent crowd-sourcing for web
localization.Their then Director of
Internationalization, Ghassan Haddad,
also introduced the first dynamic-
quality system as well as translation
metrics that are linked to business
outcomes.The rest of the world lags
behind to this day.
Digital marketers are still experimenting
with developing meaningful business
metrics. Data wranglers will throw
around terms, such as number of
completed trackable actions per user,
conversions, or impressions.Add return
visitors, average page depth, unique IP
addresses, and many others to the list of
President and founder,
About the author
Andrew Lawless creates heroes
in localization. As President and
Founder of Rockant, he runs the
go-to firm for automating global
digital marketing. Fortune 5,000
companies rely on his unrivaled
track record of building best-in-
class web localization operations
and end-to-end translation
automation. Lawless is razor
sharply focused on inspiring and
priming global staffers for success.
He is fully devoted to transforming
careers from being the “translation
guy/girl,” to a strategic contributor
to the executive suite.
Follow him onTwitter:
@rockant_inc or Facebook.
Figure 1: In 2008, Facebook’s membership
ten-folded in seven months—at the pace of
number of words translated.
Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sep Oct Nov
Localizers add to the confusion with
segmentation rules, fuzzy matches,
concordance matching and cost-saving
schemes that make reading my tax
return a pleasurable experience.
I am always very impressed when
people know their facts. But here
is the kicker: if not connected to
the executive agenda, numbers
Bounce rate is a perfect example
of that.This number shows the
percentage of visitors leaving a site
without visiting any other pages. High
bounce rates are typically seen as a
sign of low user engagement. But is
that always true?A page for a dinner
recipe would have a high bounce
rate, because a user would rarely take
any further action on the page. He
or she would be following cooking
instructions on the page instead.
Fully loaded cost per translated words
is an equally ambiguous metric. It
explains how much a published word
costs on average after adding the
cost for translating and managing it.
While this is needed for managing the
operational efficiency of translation
operations, this number gives no
insight into how much the average
translated word contributes to sales,
profit, or market recognition.
If content is king, context rules.When
Facebook started translating its
website, MarkZuckerberg must have
felt tremendously excited every time
he looked at localization metrics.Will
your leadership say the same about
The goal is to connect localized
content with business outcomes. Start
with your company’s latest annual
report.There is no need for you to
analyze profit and loss statements or
balance sheets.You only need to read
the message from theCEO; it will give
you enough detail about what the
company’s plans are, how it aims to
serve customers, and what initiatives
support these plans.
Now you need to make the connection
between the company’s measurable
goals and the performance of your
global site.Web analytics help you
by providing a remarkable level of
detail.Once set up, it collects data
automatically.The rest is not so easy.
Web reports rarely tie into sales data,
for example.You, personally, will
need to make cognitive connections
between multiple sets of data.
Does the number of downloads
of translated marketing material
correlate with sales or qualified sales
leads inChina? Does a drop in bounce
rate of a localized landing page
increase user registration inGermany?
Is the same true for Brazil?
Don’t over plan it: 95% of digital
marketing is action, measuring
performance, learning from data, and
adjusting for new action.Only 5% is
planning.Technologies, user behavior,
and marketing channels change too
quickly to allow for extensive planning.
At the time of writing, one of the big
things for 2015 is social customer
service. Social media is no longer
a space where companies deliver
outbound marketing messages, as
it was two years earlier. Now, it is a
serious lead generator for inbound
customer queries. Social customer
service agents are replacing the
social media managers of 2013,
which replaced the community
manager of 2011.
No other profession re-invents itself
so quickly. Implement, measure,
learn, and adjust.When it works, it’s
In 2012, Lego put a fan’s picture of a
StarWars figure wanting free hugs
on their Facebook page.Only a few
hours later, the post created sales of
more than 10,000. Lego also had an
international team in place for their
social monitoring, so that they could
react quickly to any customer queries.
That’s a metric aCEO wants to hear.
Don’t over plan it: 95% of
digital marketing is action,
learning from data, and
adjusting for new action.
Only 5% is planning.
Technologies, user behavior,
and marketing channels
change too quickly to allow
for extensive planning.