Native Ad Trend Makes Localization a Must
By Liz Elting
Business 2 Community - February 12, 2013
The print advertorial of yesteryear got a digital makeover in 2012, when native ads became the hottest tool for social media marketing. In promoted tweets, sponsored Facebook stories and other content woven into the user experience, advertisers got creative about putting messaging in front of prospects in unobtrusive, effective ways. Native ads are expected to mature in 2013. If global marketers want to use them effectively, they should work with experts who understand both current local trends and language usage to convey content that is targeted and localized.
The value of a native ad is that it blends into the content that surrounds it. To succeed, native ads must look like the articles, stories, and posts that draw viewers to social media platforms in the first place. Ideally, readers consume these marketing messages with the same open-mindedness that they direct toward a site’s core content. Native ads are often more effective than banner ads for this very reason; they carry greater authenticity because they mirror the content in which they are placed. That authenticity is critical and may require the kind of delicate tweaking that machine translation or inexperienced translators simply can’t deliver.
Already, consumers are growing accustomed to native ads, but they’re also growing wary. Targeted, professionally-designed native ads will continue to be received well in 2013. However, consumers will be quicker to turn on advertisers who wield this tool poorly. If your intention is to speak in a friendly tone, or as an authority (depending on your ad placement), then the idioms, word choices, and syntax must be similar to the words used by others communicating in that space. If your native ad sounds “foreign,” it will convey a negative message about your brand which may be more harmful than no message at all.
One of the reasons native ads have taken off so quickly is that they have proven to be cost-effective. Even a global campaign won’t bust most companies’ budgets; but a low price tag isn’t worth much without good returns. If you’re going to invest in an international native ad campaign, your plans should include investment in the kind of professional translation and localization that can deliver the creative punch you need.
For example, without the help of a localization expert, the tag line “The whole world in your hands” could easily become “The earth is between your hands,” which just doesn’t send the message that was intended. A company that offers trans-adaptation or trans-creation for marketing copy employs copywriters, skilled translators, and you in the process—guaranteeing that your message will be conveyed successfully on the local level. This is essential for a marketing tactic that relies on building engagement through familiarity and trust.