Localization can be a big investment in expanding your company globally. Yet, it can be tough to know whether this investment has paid off - that’s because localization enables revenue but is amongst a number of other things that generates it.
Though measuring localization is tricky, you can get a sense of results by tracking the right key performance indicators (KPIs). Below, we’ll go over how to measure localization KPIs to take the pulse on your project’s success.
Why Localization KPIs?
KPIs, also known as Key Performance Indicators, can help you objectively measure your project’s results. Generally speaking, KPIs are a best practice because they can guide your decision-making, such as:
- Identify untapped localization markets,
- Spot weak points in your localization strategy,
- Make changes for greater customer satisfaction,
- Get a baseline to compare future localization projects.
However, localization KPIs are especially challenging for two reasons: first, because localization costs don’t just include translation work - they’re also interconnected with project management, IT development, marketing, etc. - isolating localization from the rest of the project isn’t easy to do.
At the same time, these KPIs are difficult to measure because localization doesn’t generate revenue on its own. Instead, it enables products or services to be sold. For example, selling a product in a new locale may fail if the product isn’t appealing to users in that region, even with a good localization strategy. This is yet another reason why you should do significant market search when targeting new locales!
Bottom line: localization KPIs aren't always one-size-fits-all. Use KPIs where they make sense for your project and measure what matters to you most.
Types of Localization KPIs
Localization KPIs vary greatly depending on what you want to measure. Here are four main categories of KPIs you may consider for assessing your project performance:
- Website traffic (by country and language), including unique page views
- % of visitors from target locale accessing content in local language
- Average time on site by visitors in target locale
- % of new vs. returning visitors per target locale
- % bounce rate on localized pages vs. non-localized pages
- % visitor conversion rates on localized pages
- Average sales by visitors in target locale compared to other language regions
- Click-through rates in local content pages or email campaigns
- SEO keyword ranking in target locales (and with local search engines)
- Social media engagement in target locale
- Number of new customers in target locale
- Amount of net revenue for localized pages
- Average sales per customer in target locale
- Active monthly customers in target locale
- Customer retention rate in target locale (month-over-month and year-over-year)
- Market share of target locale
Customer Experience KPIs
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customer satisfaction
- Number of customer support tickets per language
- Helpability score on localized pages
These KPIs can give you insights into what is working well - and what you may need to improve. By choosing the right measurements, you’ll get a 360-degree look at your localization project success.
Tips for Measuring Localization KPIs
Localization KPIs should be hand-selected for your specific project. As you choose and measure localization KPIs, keep in mind these tips:
Don’t go overboard with KPIs. It’s easy to get caught up in KPIs, but avoid adding data points just because they’re interesting. Data isn’t free and not all of it is useful to your company's needs. Select only KPIs that align with your project goals. For example, try selecting 10 key data points that reflect your project performance and consistently track them over time.
Be realistic. Data is only as good as the insights it provides. Kudos if you have great metrics for your project, but you should always be looking for areas to improve. Stick with the data that helps you get these insights.
Compare KPIs between localized and non-localized content. A good way to get a sense of your project is to compare between localized and non-localized content. Analyzing the differences in metrics will help you tease out what’s going well - and not - in the localized content.
Review KPIs regularly. Creating a KPI dashboard can help you stay abreast of your KPIs. Be sure to review them on a regular basis so that key insights don’t slip past you. Having a point-person assigned to updating and reviewing KPIs can also help this process go smoothly.
As you can see, localization KPIs are far from perfect. However, by tracking these key metrics, you’ll get a better sense of your project’s performance and find areas for improvement.
Getting visibility into your localization project results can also lead to insights for expanding to new locales in the future. As your brand grows globally, you’ll want to harvest these insights to better reach your target markets.