Taking A Native Ad Campaign Global


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Taking A Native Ad Campaign Global

By Liz Elting

Retail Touchpoints - April 1, 2013

There’s been a lot of talk in the digital media arena about native advertising and the opportunities for advertisers to repurpose content for global markets.

How is a native ad different from a traditional Facebook ad? Put simply, native ads follow the format, style and voice of whatever platform they appear on. Social media users are likely to tune out traditional Facebook ads, just as blog readers now ignore annoying pop-up special offers and flashy banners.

The purpose of native ads is to encourage audiences to respond to marketing messages with the same interest as a friend’s status update or shared video. Native ads carry greater authenticity because they mirror the content in which they are placed. This authenticity is critical for a global campaign, which requires nuanced message crafting that machine translation or untrained linguists simply can’t deliver.

In 2012, marketers reported that native ads were the coolest, most compelling way to reach consumers on social media. Experts now predict that native ad usage will increase even further in 2013. Promoted tweets, sponsored YouTube videos, Facebook stories and similar content, all present advertisers with creative ways to approach their audience inconspicuously, yielding powerful results. 

Global marketers want to repeat the same success they’ve achieved using native ad campaigns in local markets, but across geographic regions. This is a logical step, but one that requires current knowledge of local trends and language uses in each market. Just think about how we started with “cash machines” or “bank machines” in the U.S. before we used the term “ATM.” These changes occur in all cultures and languages, too. 

A dated phrase or misplaced word in a native ad is sure to draw the kind of attention that a brand does not want to receive from its audience. For example, using machine translation or literal source language translation, the tag line “The whole world in your hands” could easily become “The earth is between your two hands,” which doesn’t send the message that was intended, making a native ad stand out for the wrong reason. 

Consumers are quick to turn their attention away from native ads that don’t measure up to local customs. Whether your intention is to speak in a friendly tone, or as an authority figure (depending on your ad placement), the phrases and word choices, colors and images you choose should reflect the cultural norms of the target region. If your native ad sounds or looks “foreign,” it will convey a negative message about your brand — which could end up being more harmful than no message at all.

One of the reasons native ads took off so quickly is that they prove to be cost effective; even a global campaign won’t require a huge budget. But a low price tag that generates negative returns is every marketer’s nightmare. If you’re going to invest in an international native ad campaign, your plans should include using professional translation and localization providers that have shown they can deliver the creative punch you need.

To increase your chances of generating positive results from your ad buy, consult with translation and localization professionals who are knowledgeable in the subtleties of localized global marketing. For example, one financial company was converting a native ad for a global market, only to find that an image they’d selected of a beautiful new bridge was highly controversial on a local level. Fortunately, the company was working with a partner equipped to provide this feedback, and team members were able to select a more positive local image.

Creative teams, in-language copywriters, skilled translators and marketers all have a hand in the process — guaranteeing that your message will be received positively and clearly on the local level. This is essential for a marketing tactic that relies on building engagement through familiarity and trust.

 
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