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It’s Time To Think Globally: 6 Reasons Why Ramping Up Your International Know-How Can Do Wonders For Your Bottom Line

iss-new-york-oct What once was a big fish in a small pond is increasingly becoming a rather small fish in a huge pond. I’m here referring to the U.S. – namely, its waning status as the epicenter of all things digital.

Please don’t get me wrong, the U.S. is still, financially speaking, the biggest fish in the ever expanding pond that is the global web.

But it won’t be for long.

The result is that, even for those businesses lucky enough to operate in the world’s (at present) single largest national ecommerce market, the need to start thinking globally has never been of greater importance.

Luckily, help is at hand! As part of SMX East, the International Search Summit will be coming to New York on September 29 for a day of content, debate and discussion about the most important issues in international online marketing. In addition to receiving actionable insights from renowned international experts to help drive real business growth around the world, all delegates registered for the International Search Summit by August 29 will be entered into a draw for a full SMX conference pass.


In the meantime, here are 6 reasons why ramping up your international know-how – whether you’re contemplating going global or already have an international digital footprint – could likely do wonders for your overall business performance:

9 in 10 internet users are now outside of the U.S.

The glory days of 1996 when the U.S. was truly the center of gravity online, accounting for two-thirds of the entire global internet population, are long gone. Today, a whopping 90% of internet users are outside the U.S., a figure that will only increase as ever more people in developing and emerging markets come online.

In this light, focusing solely on the U.S. is effectively denying yourself a piece of a very tasty pie.

Practically all languages on the web other than English are underserved…

…and this presents some serious opportunities for businesses which go beyond English and cater to international audiences in their respective mother tongues. According to research by Common Sense Advisory:

  • 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language.
  • 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.
  • 56.2% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.

Add to this that a 2011 study from the European Commission, carried out by Gallup, found that 9 in 10 Europeans (a group typically characterised by a high degree of multilingualism) prefer surfing the web in their native language.

Obvious, right?

Well, if you look at the current language composition on the web, it would seem not. Despite only being natively spoken by a modest 5.43% of the world population, English accounts for more than 55% of website content on the world wide web, according to W3Techs, and as such is indicative of a severe mismatch between what consumers prefer and what they’re actually being given.

While you won’t learn how to speak Chinese, French or any other language at the International Search Summit, you will receive lots of advice on how to tackle foreign languages for international digital marketing campaigns.

Super Early Bird - ISS NY

Blue ocean? Perhaps not, but it’s certainly much less competitive

What the above naturally also means is that, wherever you go as a U.S. based business and in whichever language (other than English) you decide to do business, the space is guaranteed to be significantly less competitive (and often also less sophisticated) than your domestic market. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of:

  • Greater organic search prominence;
  • Greater overall share of voice;
  • Lower CPCs for paid search campaigns;
  • And ultimately higher profits.

The economic potential abroad is very apparent

Research suggests that the addressable economic potential of using English online is in relative decline – that is to say, English represents a smaller percentage of total online spending power globally than it used to. Indeed, this is reflected in estimates from eMarketer, which expects Asia-Pacific ($501 billion) to overtake North America ($469 billion) as the biggest regional ecommerce market this year, marking a first ever. And while the U.S. remains the single largest national ecommerce market in the world, it won’t be long before this too isn’t the case: beginning in 2016, China is expected to knock the once-so-dominant U.S. off its perch as it goes on to become the world’s most valuable online market.

Google doesn’t steal the show everywhere

While there’s certainly no denying the fact that Google is in a very strong position globally when it comes to search, the Californian giant doesn’t rule the roost everywhere. Such is the case in China and Russia, the biggest internet markets in the world and Europe respectively.

Understanding and harnessing the search capabilities of local search leaders Baidu (China) and Yandex (Russia) are nothing short of paramount for succeeding in these highly lucrative markets, and the International Search Summit is one of the few English-oriented conferences where you can expect to gain insights and tips on how to make the most of what these search engines have to offer.

Get Geo-Targeting Right

One thing is pondering whether to go global, another is tackling the many issues which crop up when launching or operating multilingual/multinational websites to ensure optimal performance. One such issue is getting geo-targeting right!

With various options and techniques available out there, it is often an area that brings confusion and challenges. At the International Search Summit in New York, we’ll attempt to debunk any geo-targeting myths and bring clarity to the possible solutions and best practices for reaching the right users, in the right places.

Throw in numerous networking sessions, Q&A time and group discussions to ensure you can ask any questions you have and leave with the answers you need to drive your global business forward. So what are you waiting for? Register now to get the Super Early Bird rate.

Hope to see you there 🙂

Geo-targeting optimisation

Geo-targeting optimisation

Correctly geo-targeting your website will improve its visibility in each of your target markets and can make the difference between success and failure in international SEO. We can provide recommendations for a domain strategy, review geo-targeting performance of your current website or provide a complete geo-targeting strategy for your existing website or a new one.


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Immanuel Simonsen

Research Manager at Webcertain
As the Research Manager of multilingual web marketing agency Webcertain, Immanuel heads up the company’s global market research activities and large content marketing projects. He is the author of several reports and guides, including ‘The Essential Guide to Rel-Alternate-Hreflang’ and ‘The Webcertain Global Search and Social Report 2013’. Apart from being a tutor at the International Marketing School -- teaching online marketing professionals on business opportunities around the globe -- Immanuel is a regular speaker at the International Search Summit, a leading event series dedicated to multilingual search and social media marketing.

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