Three things you need to know before your next multilingual advertising campaign

Published on September 24th, 2018

Creating advertising campaigns for international audiences is a tricky task. Each demographic comes with its unique wants and needs as consumers, and you have to appeal to them all, in the right way to maximise your impact in each market.

In this article, we are going to explain the three most important things you need to know before your next multilingual advertising campaign. Too many brands jump into creating ad campaigns before they have defined these key pieces of information, which creates a lot of extra work and could mean your campaign fails completely in certain markets.


#1: Your target audiences

The first thing you need to clarify is who your target audiences are, pinpoint their key differences and draw up a list of languages and cultural factors to consider. You want to do this as soon as possible because you are going to need to adapt your campaign to each audience segment and address their individual needs.

In some cases, you may need to come up with entirely different messages for certain markets, tweak certain themes or create unique designs that are more suited to local interests.

What you do not want is to find out your campaign is not suitable for a certain audience at a later date and have to redo an amount of work that could have been avoided with better planning.


#2: Your localisation needs

Localisation is the process of adapting your advertising materials for different languages beyond simple translation. This includes a wide range of tasks that make your content more suitable for each target audience and also improves the translation process. Here is a list of some of the localisation tasks you might need to cover for a multilingual advertising campaign:

  • Adapting material for different devices
  • Adapting design elements to cater for translation
  • Adding localised design elements to suit each market
  • Creating ad templates to speed up the translation process
  • Making sure dates, times, currencies and other figures are in the local format
  • Ensuring your ads are optimised and delivered on the right platforms in each market

Your localisation needs will depend on the nature of your advertising campaign and your target audience. Make sure you know what you need before you get started, so you can create a localisation process that adapts your ads for multiple languages efficiently. You will save time, money and a lot of extra work if you make the effort to do this before you get started.


#3: When to use transcreation a.k.a. advertising translation

Transcreation is a more creative approach to translation and it is crucial for advertising campaigns. Your ads are filled with creative language, suggestive themes and a whole bunch of subtle cultural cues that simply cannot be translated directly, which means you need to find a way to create the same impact in other languages.

In this case, you will not be translating word-for-word; you will be focusing on the reaction you want to get from each audience group and working with creative language experts to find the right words when literal translations do not have the desired impact. This is where advertising translation is the way to go.


The biggest mistake businesses make when it comes to multilingual advertising campaigns is to underestimate how different the expectations of their target audiences can be. People from different cultural, economic and linguistic backgrounds look at everything your brand does in a unique way and you need to evoke the right kind of reaction from each of them to hit your targets in every market.

All it takes to avoid this crucial mistake is the right kind of planning before you start creating your ad material. Make an effort to understand the unique needs of each target audience and you will not only get better results from your campaigns, but you will also spend less time and money creating them.

Posted on: September 24th, 2018