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The Mother of All Behavioral Differentiators

If you’re a marketer or product owner, behavioral targeting is an awesome aspect of the digital age. You can better understand the behaviors of current and potential customers by observing their real-world actions – typically online or on your site.

Behavioral targeting is presumed to be a strong predictor of consumers’ intentions and future behavior. For example, if someone performs a search related to a specific software application, and then they visit your site and two international competitors that offer similar solutions, it’s assumed they’re in the process of evaluating the benefits of this software.

” … what if you’re ignoring the strongest predictor of international consumers’ intentions, preferences, and purchasing behavior?”

If they spend considerable time on your pricing page, it may be evidence that they’re closing in on a buying decision. And if they next click on your website’s little flags to see what languages you offer, it might be assumed they’re looking for your international pricing. And this conclusion could be very wrong.

Behavioral targeting is not an exact science. It analyzes millions of data points and micro-events to attempt to predict what consumers prefer and what they’re likely to do next. But it can miss the strongest predictor of international consumers’ intentions, preferences, and purchasing behavior? Want to know what that is?

It’s their native language. It’s what they spoke as they learned to communicate for the first time. They spoke it before they left home … before they may have attended college … and before they learned English as a second (or third, or fourth) language to further their career.

Why is communicating in native language so important?

Our “mother-tongue,” likely, came from our mother. Its sounds and rhythm connect with us at a deep emotional level – in the parts of our brain where most decision-making originates. When customers are making decisions about your products or brand, it makes sense to persuade them in the language they’re most connected to.

There’s more evidence from research firm, Common Sense Advisory. In their study of 3,002 ecommerce buyers from 10 countries, “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy,” 56% of consumers declared that they spent more time browsing sites in their native language (than in English), or they boycotted English-language sites altogether. (For more details, see our related article: How to Increase Web Content Engagement Internationally.)

In terms of purchasing, the study found that 60% of foreign-language consumers rarely or never purchase from English language sites while only 12% make “most or all” purchases on English-language sites. (See our second related article: Target Your eCommerce Translation Dollars.)

Can you afford to write off more than half of your foreign-language visitors and potential buyers? We didn’t think so either.

To put your behavioral targeting on steroids, start by communicating in native language with your international prospects. It’s like doubling your reach for the cost of a translation. And you’ll be connecting with customers at a deeper level, in the language they prefer … their own.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Linguistic Systems uses a combination of advanced proprietary technology and 7,500 skilled, certified translators to deliver high-quality translations in 120+ languages. Trust us with your next translation project.