Limelight Networks, Inc. released results from a recent survey that confirms that the development and implementation of regional websites is a strategic, high-priority initiative for both B2B and B2C companies. In a survey of 200 U.S.-based CMOs and VPs of Marketing, respondents stated that they are adding multiple regional websites and languages within the next year to build global brand awareness and drive revenue. However, respondents noted challenges to efficiently adding and managing regional websites, including lack of sufficient internal human, technical, and budgetary resources.
"Our goal with this survey was to gain insight on CMOs' plans for and experiences with expanding their digital presence globally, including understanding their objectives and the challenges they face," commented Kirby Wadsworth, CMO, Limelight Networks. "Respondents (57%) noted that their biggest challenge to website globalization is using multiple platforms to manage sites and content. Publishing web and mobile sites using several disparate solutions is timely and costly, especially when managing multiple regional sites that are in different languages. Enterprise marketers can streamline internal processes and ultimately improve the end user experience if they leverage one integrated platform to build, manage, and optimize a global digital presence across all channels."
"The explosive growth of global online commerce and the ever more competitive worldwide landscape make it imperative for companies to expand and improve the globalization of their digital presence," said Jeff Freund, VP and GM, Web Content Management, Limelight Networks. "Globalizing a web presence entails more than simply translating a company's primary site — it also includes developing, deploying, localizing, and regularly maintaining sites with regionally-specific content. Marketers face the challenge of deploying multiple regional sites in multiple languages and featuring custom content that is unique to each region — while still ensuring brand consistency worldwide."
Respondents are Managing and Adding Many Regional Websites
For the survey, website globalization was defined as launching an adapted, multilingual version of a company's core website into different regions throughout the world. A regional website was defined as an adapted version of the company's core website whose content has been translated and/or altered to match the region that it serves.
Respondents answered how many regional websites they are currently managing:
1% have no regional websites
15% currently manage 1-2 regional websites
24% currently manage 3-5 regional websites
28% currently manage 6-10 regional websites
18% currently manage 11-20 regional websites
8% currently manage 21-30 regional websites
6% currently manage more than 30 regional websites
Participants were asked how many regional websites they are adding and redesigning/updating within the next 12 months:
1% are adding no regional websites
10% are adding 1 regional website
65% are adding 2-5 regional websites
19% are adding 6-10 regional websites
5% are adding more than 10 regional websites
3% are redesigning and/or updating no regional websites
17% are redesigning and/or updating 1 regional website
55% are redesigning and/or updating 2-5 regional websites
21% are redesigning and/or updating 6-10 regional websites
4% are redesigning and/or updating more than 10 regional websites
Respondents are Adding Languages and Regional-Specific Content
The survey asked how many languages the respondents plan to add over the next 12 months:
8% are adding no languages
17% are adding 1 language
57% are adding 2-5 languages
13% are adding 6-10 languages
5% are adding more than 10 languages
"Translating websites can be a difficult and timely process without translation workflow capabilities," continued Freund. "Editors must have the ability to organize multiple language versions of specific content in a single workflow to help both them and translators efficiently see what has been or needs to be translated for each regional website."
Language, however, is not the sole differentiator between regional sites. Respondents were also asked what percentage of the content — such as web copy, white papers, case studies, videos, etc. — on their regional websites is specific to the region it serves:
5% said less than 20% of content is regionally-specific
15% said 21-40% of content is regionally-specific
51% said 41-60% of content is regionally-specific
22% said 61-80% of content is regionally-specific
7% said 81-100% of content is regionally-specific
Notably, 91% of survey participants reported moderate or significant improvement in site engagement, lead generation, or revenue after implementing websites with regional content.
"On the web today, all business is global, and for brands to compete, it's absolutely essential that they develop an effective, carefully planned web globalization strategy," said Scott Liewehr, President, Principal Analyst, Digital Clarity Group. "This means that in addition to translating their websites, businesses must develop web content with their local audiences in mind. A 'one size fits all' approach will not resonate with audiences from different cultures and regions throughout the world, and this survey validates that those who regionalize their digital presence will see improvements in engagement, brand awareness, and conversions."
Challenges to Website Globalization
Although adding regional websites is imperative for competing globally, the effective management of multiple, disparate regional websites remains a challenge. A full 60% of survey respondents would add even more regional sites to bolster globalization efforts but cannot due to resource issues. Respondents indicated their biggest challenges to globalization included:
57% said the use of multiple platforms to manage sites and content
48% said staffing/budgetary constraints related to creating regional content in local languages
29% said they lack the technical resources to build, maintain, and enhance regional sites
26% said lack of staff and budget to translate to local languages
16% said giving geographically distributed staff publishing rights
Further, survey respondents were asked what percentage of the content on their regional websites is out-of-date or behind at any one time:
25% answered that less than 20% of content is out-of-date or behind
26% answered that 21-40% of content is out-of-date or behind
27% answered that 41-60% of content is out-of-date or behind
18% answered that 61-80% of content is out-of-date or behind
3% answered that 81-100% of content is out-of-date or behind
1% answered that they are unsure how much of their content is out-of-date or behind
"The challenge of managing multiple sites with regionally-specific content necessitates a Web Content Management (WCM) solution that enables multi-site management from a single account, leveraging a universally-accessible platform," noted Freund. "The ability to share/reuse content, as well as target content and changes, across multiple web and mobile domains reduces the chance of error, ensures brand consistency, and requires less time and staff resources to create and update multiple sites."
Profile of Survey Respondents
Limelight Networks surveyed 200 U.S.-based CMOs and VPs of Marketing responsible for the strategy, development, and/or implementation of their company's website globalization strategy. Of the 200 marketing executives surveyed, 92% currently manage regionally-focused sites in addition to the main corporate site, while 8% do not currently manage regionally-focused sites, but are planning on adding regional websites within the next 12 months.
The survey asked respondents what best describes their company's annual revenue:
15% answered less than $100 million
36% answered between $101 and $499 million
29% answered between $500 and $999,999 million
20% answered $1 billion and above
Further, 63% of survey participants described themselves as serving business, while 65% said they serve consumers. When comparing responses of participants from B2B versus B2C companies, the majority of answers were similar.
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