UPDATE: The 2017 Web Globalization Report Card is now available.
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!
An interesting study courtesy of the Society for New Communications Research:
Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes has been studying corporate communications strategies of the Fortune 500 for the past eight years. Key findings include:
- Twenty-one percent of the Fortune 500 has a corporate blog (103 corporations) (21%); a decrease of 10% from 2014.
- Twitter is more popular than Facebook with the Fortune 500 (78% vs 74%).
- Glassdoor (87%) has joined LinkedIn (93%) as a popular business tool.
- The use of Instagram has increased by 13%. A total of 33% of the Fortune 500 having an Instagram presence, pointing to a continued growth in interest in visually rich platforms.
I have noticed that fewer companies are publishing blogs these days — particularly globally. I view this as a missed opportunity, though I understand why it is happening. Creating content that people actually want to read is hard work. It’s not as sexy as chasing the latest new social network, like Snapchat or Instagram.
Blogs, well produced, can be an amazing source of leads, search engine traffic and customer engagement — even with mobile users. And if you support blogs across a variety of languages you will only multiply the traffic you receive.
I’m not suggesting that companies not support Twitter, Instagram, etc. In fact, blogs provide foundational content for Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.
One company still invested in blogs (and other content) is Capgemini:
And here is an excerpt from the German site — local-language blogs:
Perhaps I’m a bit biased about blogs, as I’ve been writing this one for more than a decade.
But I suspect companies will one day come full circle on this.
After all, everything old is new again…
You can download the full research report here.
Here’s my latest post for client Pitney Bowes:
Any company with global aspirations cannot afford to ignore the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. It’s a region that includes more than two billion people across more than 20 countries, ranging from Australia to Indonesia to China and Japan.
This article (the second of two) offers a few web localization tips to keep in mind.
Don’t Be Colorblind
Colors carry cultural and emotional significance. And sometimes colors mean very different things depending on the culture. At a Chinese wedding, for example, the bride typically wears red, not white. This alone should underscore just how important red is in the Chinese culture.
White is more often associated with death, and some companies go so far as to avoid packaging their products in white (though Apple seems to have done quite well in spite of this perceived hurdle). One key point to keep in mind is that red is positive and green is not so positive, at least so far as the stock market is concerned.
Shown here is a daily summary of the Shanghai Composite Index. While the red text may appear ominous to a Western investor, the stock market actually finished up 12 points this day.
Here’s the full story.
And here’s Part I.