I’m excited to announce the publication of The 2017 Web Globalization Report Card. This is the most ambitious report I’ve written so far and it sheds light on a number of new and established best practices in website globalization.
Here are the top-scoring websites from the report:
For regular readers of this blog, you’ll notice that Google is yet again ranked number one. But Google isn’t resting on its laurels. While many software companies are happy to support 20 or 30 languages on their websites, Google continues to add languages across its many products. Consider Gmail, with support for 72 languages and YouTube, with 75 languages. And let’s not overlook Google Translate, now at 100+ languages.
Google could still stand to improve in global navigation, though I am seeing positive signs of harmonization across its many product silos. But I do maintain the recommendation that Google present a more traditional global gateway to visitors across its sites and apps.
Other highlights from the top 25 list include:
- Consumer goods companies such as Pampers and Nestlé are a positive sign that non-tech companies are making positive strides in improving their website globalization skills.
- IKEA returned to the list this year after making a welcome change to its global gateway strategy.
- Nissan made the top 25 list for the first time. BMW slipped off the list.
- As a group, the top 25 websites support an average of 54 languages (up from 52 last year); if we removed Wikipedia from the language counts the average would still be an impressive 44 languages.
- GoDaddy, a new addition to the Report Card, wasted little time in making this list. Its global gateway is worth studying.
- Luxury brands such as Gucci and Ralph Lauren continue to lag in web globalization — from poor support for languages to inadequate localization.
- The average number of languages supported by all 150 global brands is now 31.
But as you can see here, the rate of language growth, on average, is slowing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Companies are telling me that they are investing more on depth and quality of localization — which is of huge importance.
The data underlying the Report Card is based on studying the leading global brands and world’s largest companies — 150 companies across more than 20 industry sectors. I began tracking many of the companies included in this report more than a decade ago and am happy to share insights into what works and what doesn’t. Time is often the greatest indicator of best practices.
I’ll have much more to share in the weeks and months ahead. If you have any questions about the report, please let me know.
Congratulations to the top 25 companies and the people within these companies that have long championed web globalization.
The 2017 Web Globalization Report Card
The death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej has led to stores running out of black and white clothing as the population mourns its leader in color-appropriate clothing.
What does this mean for website localization?
Consider the Thailand home pages for Apple:
And Coca-Cola has gone black on its social feeds:
Web localization isn’t about creating a localized website and forgetting about it.
It’s about creating a living and breathing website that responds quickly to local events. Web localization is about respect.
To learn more about the leaders in web localization, check out the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card.
I’m pleased to announce the publication of the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card and, with it, the top 25 websites:
- American Express
- Cisco Systems
It’s hard to believe that this is the twelfth edition of the Report Card. Over the past decade I’ve seen the average number of languages supported by global brands increase from just 10 languages to 30 languages today.
And, of course, the top 25 websites go well beyond 30 language. Google supports 90 languages via Google Translate and 75 languages on YouTube. And Facebook stands at 88 languages.
But it’s not just languages that make a website succeed globally. Companies need to support fast-loading mobile websites, locally relevant content, and user-friendly navigation.
Notable highlights among the top 25:
- Wikipedia is far and away the language leader, with content in more than 270 languages. The company also now supports a mobile-friendly layout that is considerably lighter (in kilobytes) than most Fortune 100 mobile websites.
- NIVEA provides an excellent example of a company that localizes its models for local websites — one of the few companies to do so.
- Nike made this top 25 list for the first time, having added languages and improved global consistency and navigation.
- As a group, the top 25 websites support an average of 52 languages.
For 2016, we studied 150 websites across 15 industry categories — and more than 80% of the Interbrand Best Global Brands. Websites were graded according to languages supported, global navigation, global and mobile website architecture, and localization.
Congratulations to the top 25 websites!
For the 2015 Web Globalization Report Card, we studied 10 retail websites:
- Best Buy
- Toys R Us
Out of those 10 websites, Starbucks emerged as number one. Here is a screen shot from the German site:
McDonald’s leads the category in languages supported, with 39 (in addition to English), but still lags in regards to global consistency and localization. Starbucks, on the other hands, supports a highly consistency — and responsive — global website, which allows its many locales to focus more on content and local engagement.
Starbucks added Norwegian over the past year. To get an idea of how Starbucks has expanded globally over the past decade, below are two global gateways.
Here is the global gateway in 2006, displaying just seven localized websites:
And here is the global gateway today:
Starbucks went all-in with local-language social networks years ago — an effort that has proved quite successful. Though the number of followers of the company’s local-language Facebook pages are considerably fewer than the global page, the level of engagement is higher.
Starbucks also supports a very sophisticated mobile app (though the app still lags most other major global apps in localization). Also lagging is the Starbucks’ global gateway — which has so far been demoted to the footer.
Only Starbucks and IKEA made the top 25 list of best global websites.
Zara and H&M are two other retail websites worth keeping a close eye on in the year ahead.
2015 Web Globalization Report Card
I enjoying watching how Western companies localize their websites and products to capitalize on Chinese New Year — the Year of the Sheep (or Goat).
Like this gift card from Starbucks China:
And this hero image on the Microsoft China home page:
And Nike has put together a color-appropriate assortment of products:
Happy New Year!