The top 25 global websites from the 2017 Web Globalization Report Card

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

Conduent and 5 tips for creating a more world-ready website

Xerox recently spun off its services unit into a billion-dollar global company known as Conduent.

I took a quick look at the Conduent website to see how world-ready this “global” website had become in its very first iteration. And, spoiler alert, it’s clear that Conduent is only just getting started.

Here’s an excerpt of the home page:

And a close-up of the global gateway, such as it is:

Here’s a close-up of a Twitter excerpt on the home page:

What about mobile? Here’s the home page on a smartphone:

And the mobile menu:

Where’s the global gateway menu you might ask?

So I thought I’d put together a few tips that would be useful to Conduent — and any other company that is on the verge of expanding its website globally.

5 tips for creating a more world-ready website:

  1. Keep it lightweight. Already, Conduent is loaded with videos and large photographs that add significant “weight” in kilobytes to the web page. When thinking globally, companies need to think about slower mobile networks around the world and make sure that weight limits are in place to allow the website to display and respond quickly on these networks.
  2. Don’t just respond to mobile devices, respond to mobile customers. It’s nice that the mobile website does not default to animation (like the desktop site) but all we’re seeing now is a scaled-down version of the desktop website. Ideally, the mobile site supports mobile-specific usage scenarios, which isn’t yet evident here. I don’t see the global gateway on the mobile site — a rookie mistake, but one that really does punish mobile users who want to navigate to local content (when that content is available).
  3. Get your global gateway right the first time. In Conduent’s case, that means losing the American flag. I realize the circled flag is inspired by Apple, but Apple is on the wrong side of history on this one I’m afraid. Instead, Conduent should develop a text-only global gateway menu, which will scale more readily.
  4. Bake social into the design. Conduent does a nice job of highlighting its Twitter feed on its home page. Going forward, it’s important that Conduent support local-language Twitter (and other social) feeds that can be excerpted on the home page. By doing so, website visitors are more likely to discover the localized feeds and are more likely to engage with you.
  5. Think local by design content. Social content in the local language is a great beginning. But what about local language blogs and other content? Conduent does support a number of English-language blogs. It will be nice to see these blogs replicated in other markets, managed by local content creators.

For more insights into website globalization, check out the Web Globalization Report Card.

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report: A web globalization persepective

It has become an annual ritual, Mary Meeker, a Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner, releases a data dump of key Internet stats and trends.

Last year, I wrote a  post on a few slides that jumped out at me.

This year, I feel compelled to do this again, after all, some of these slides are truly significant for those of us in the web/software globalization field.

Let’s begin with this slide:

China GDP

China is on a path to retake its massive share of global GDP.  Truly a staggering growth curve and the major reason why so many companies have prioritized China when expanding overseas. Of course, I do wonder if we’re going to see that red line flatten out a bit over the next few years.

Okay, now onto two of my favorite slides. This one is from 2013:

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 8.29.04 PM

“Made in the USA” web properties dominated the top 10 list last year.

Now let’s look at the top 10 for 2014:

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 8.29.22 PM

Now there are only 6 “Made in USA” websites on this list, replaced by Alibaba, Baidu, and Sohu. Yes, China again.

But now take a look at the blue vs. yellow portions of each bar — the “Made in USA” website now serve 86% non-US web users, up from 79% last year. If anyone asks you why web globalization is important, show him or her these two slides. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Yahoo! are largely serving users based outside of the US.

Which is why I keep banging on this issue.

Now, onto the last slide that jumped out at me:

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 8.26.02 PM

This is a slide detailing the most popular markets for smartphones.

Look at the countries at the top of this list — Indonesia, Philippines, China, Brazil, Vietnam.

If your company is truly “mobile first” when it comes to web development, and you have global aspirations, I hope you have languages like Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Portuguese included in your core language list. The rise of mobile Internet penetration is resorting the list of “major” languages that companies must support.

Here’s the link to the full slide deck.

Taking the Great American Pastime Global

MLB Japan logo

I was raised a Cardinals fan. But I don’t live in St. Louis anymore so I must follow the team virtually.

Fortunately there’s the MLB mobile app.

MLB mobile app

Now I can listen to the games — and Mike Shannon — in real time.

And I’m not alone. the MLB mobile app has been hugely popular.

In this All Things D interview, Bow Bowman, who runs digital operations for Major League Baseball, talked about taking its brand and digital properties global.

At about the 16 minute mark (see embed below) Bob mentions that non-US users of the MLB apps make up about 10% of all users, which was more than I expected. Most of the usage is in Asia (Korea, Taiwan, Japan) with the rest located in the Caribbean.

I took a brief tour of the non-US MLB websites.

If you visit MLB.com, you’ll see links to the localized websites right above the main logo — easy to find.

MLB global gateway

Here is the home page of MLB Taiwan, note the smart use of the .tw country code:

MLB Taiwan

Also note that the team names have also been translated.

I believe the Japan website is the result of a joint arrangement, hence the wildly different design.

MLB Japan

But I love seeing the .jp country code merged into the logo.

Here’s the full All Things D interview:

PS: I’m also the proud publisher of a book that has helped many MLB players improve their game: Intangibles: Big-League Stories and Strategies for Winning the Mental Game—in Baseball and in Life.

 

 

A global look at Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report

Mary Meeker, a Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner, recently provided another healthy dose of data and trends, along with a number of predictions.

But the media largely overlooked the web and software globalization implications of many of these slides.

So allow me to chime in on the slides that jumped out at me.

Let’s begin with this slide:

Mary Meeker intl usage

So the “Made in USA” websites are leading the world in overall visitors. But what doesn’t get noted is that the top-7 websites average 91 languages.

That’s right, 91 languages —  an average skewed heavily by Wikipedia.

Here are my language counts:

Website Languages
Wikipedia 285
Google 145
Facebook 75
Microsoft 48
Yahoo! 47
Apple 32
Amazon 10

These “Made in the USA” websites have been “Localized for the world.” And that’s a major reason they’re so successful outside the USA.

Next slide:

Mary Meeker sharing global trend

Americans aren’t global leaders in “sharing” — though we’ve been unintentionally sharing quite a lot of our data with the NSA (a rant for a future day).

Now, I’m not sure  how different cultures define sharing, which has to be a major caveat to this slide.

Nevertheless, the fact that different cultures share different types and quantities of information is a major globalization challenge.

This isn’t just a Facebook or Google+ issue, it should factor into the degree to which you wish to integrate social networks into your website (as well as your expectations regarding engagement). Privacy concerns could very well be one of the most significant issues of the next decade and beyond.

Next slide:

China mobile trend

This slide is pretty easy to grasp. But a question that often comes up when looking at mobile trends around the world is “How many of X country’s mobile users are using smartphones?”

See below for the answer:

Mary Meeker global smartphone growth

I love this slide because it helps clarify exactly how many mobile users may actually be able to browser your mobile website (or download your mobile app).

China is a significant smartphone market while Russia is not (yet).

So when thinking global about your mobile strategy, you need to also think about smartphones vs. feature phones (those that offer poor or nonexistent web browsing).

So those were the slides that jumped out me. Let me know if something jumped out at you.