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Create Ad Personalization With Language Targeting

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Posted by Anthony Karge on January 3, 2019
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When it comes to targeting, everyone in the mobile advertising business knows the benefits of location targeting. The ability to reach people in specific areas, whether it's as broad as a state or as specific as a sports stadium, is crucial to the success of many campaigns. A much less utilized, but also an invaluable form of targeting, is language targeting.

Reaching users based on the language they speak is a prime opportunity to offer the personalization that users want from brands. Language targeting also helps make international expansion a success. Despite those benefits, one survey conducted within the US found that 59% of marketers did not have any budget allocated to reaching multilingual audiences.1 For comparison, four out of five marketers use location targeting.2

That's a wasted opportunity. Language-based targeting is a line item that shouldn't be an afterthought, especially when successfully paired with location targeting. Here's why reaching users based on the language they speak can elevate the success of your campaigns.

Personalization Is the Key to Successful Advertising

Survey after survey shows that users want a degree of personalization when it comes to the advertisements they receive. While these users like personalized advertisements, they're disappointed with the ads they're shown. A third of survey respondents ages 18-49 said they like personalized ads but are dissatisfied with the ads they're displayed.3 Older survey respondents were even less satisfied.

Advertisers are also discontented. An overwhelming 69% of marketers in the US believe they aren't "getting personalization right."4 The reasons for this dissatisfaction can range from underwhelming data to a lack of a cohesive personalization strategy. Fortunately, language-based targeting offers an opportunity to provide successful personalization with trustworthy data.

Language-Targeting Tourists on the Go

It's common for marketers to target all users in a country with creatives in the local language. That's not a bad thing, as this reaches the broadest possible audience. However, the people speaking foreign languages within a country are growing — yet they remain largely overlooked by advertisers. These groups are smaller but offer the opportunity to deliver the perfect personalized messages.

An excellent example of an underserved group in digital advertising is tourists. One opportunity for marketers is reaching Chinese users traveling abroad. China is not only one of the fastest-growing countries when it comes to smartphone usage, but their international tourism numbers are rising quickly. In 2018, 156 million Chinese tourists went abroad. By 2030, it's projected that 22% of all foreign tourists will be Chinese.  

The US and Italy were the most popular non-Asian destinations for Chinese tourists. Marketers who are only targeting Chinese users within China are missing out on a promising opportunity to reach an engaged, high-earning audience that's willing to spend money. Likewise for US marketers not targeting native English speakers in popular tourist destinations around Europe and Asia.

Reach Non-Native Speaking Residents

It's not just tourists on the go who are perfect for location-based and language-based ad targeting. In many countries, reaching the residents who come from other parts of the world is a huge opportunity for personalization. In the US, for example, 20% of households speak a language other than English at home, and more than 10% of households speak Spanish at home.5

There are language targeting opportunities outside the US. In India, where there are 22 official languages, language targeting can be especially effective. Historically these languages have been geographically focused. However, the rise of urbanization means that different languages are being mixed in close quarters more than ever.

In both of these cases and many others, smart marketers can go beyond geographic targeting and deliver personalized creatives through language targeting.

Less Can Be More in Language Targeting

Coming up with unique, engaging creatives in different languages can be challenging when budgets are small. To enhance personalization, it might make sense to whitelist or blacklist specific languages if your advertising platform allows it. By doing so, you'll ensure that only the most relevant users see the advertising.

Effective targeting is the key to giving users the personalization they want to see in advertising. Language targeting can be a very effective tool in getting your message across, so don't underestimate it when choosing the audience of your next campaign.

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1Smartling, November 2015. 2Factual June 2018. 3Adobe Digital Insights, 2017. 4Evergage, April 2018. 5US Census, September 2017.

Written by Anthony Karge

Anthony is a Content Marketing Manager at Smaato. In the office, he enjoys following the latest trends in mobile and telling occasionally amusing jokes. Out of the office, you can find him at power metal concerts, traveling to new places, and learning very informal German. Some of Anthony’s favorite apps are WeChat, Clockwork Tomato, and JEFIT Workout Tracker.

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