Are your banner ads clicking with your worldwide customers?

Web banner ads are an important part of any company’s online marketing efforts. Banners help promote a company’s brand, can lead to substantial sales increases, and can be tailored to specific markets and demographics.

A banner promoting a new car in the United States may contain images, wording, and overall design elements that are custom-tailored to the US market, whereas an international banner ad may look completely different, even if it is helping to sell the same product.

It’s all about Click-Through Rates (CTR): The more people click on your banner ads, the higher your sales potential.

The big question here is this: how can you ensure that your international web banner ads drive the same, or similar, CTR as your domestic web banner ads?

Let’s take a look at three very successful players in the e-commerce space. Each of these companies has a good grasp of their domestic market, and most of them are also gaining ground internationally. As each of them is based in a different country, it is interesting to see how their web presences and banner ads are designed to achieve the greatest possible CTR for their respective home markets:

Walmart (United States)


Rakuten (Japan)



Alibaba (China)


Looking at these three examples of culturally-customized web sites and banner ads, you can see differences in the overall designs, images, text, colors, and spacing. These culturally-specific design strategies speak to the local markets and actually go beyond the words themselves.

While we selected websites from two of the major Asian markets to compare against one based in the US, markets in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, also have their own design aesthetics.

This is a good example of translation beyond words and transcreation, but also speaks to the need for culturally-adapted web design and the appropriate use of technologies. It also ties in with international branding strategies as well as speaking to your multicultural customers in your local market .

When a customer calls on us to provide Web banner localization services, we generally have two options:

  1. Provide straight translation: if our customer wants to play it close to the vest and ensure that their branding and look-and-feel are retained 100% across their international markets, then this is the way to go. Some of our corporate, Business-to-Business (B2B) customers prefer this less customized approach and for them it can make good business sense to proceed down a more conservative path.
  1. Provide culturally-relevant localization: If you want to ensure that your international banners achieve meaningful click-through rates and play a part in sales conversions, then it might be good to consider an international web banner strategy. In the world of Business-to-Consumer (B2C) marketing, the trend is towards design and content customization. If your company is looking to make a mark in the international consumer space, it might be good to start looking at how to speak to those audiences. After all, if a potential customer doesn’t understand or “get” your ad banner, they won’t click on it.

We like some of the examples provided by Design Made in Japan , which provides an irreverent look at Japanese business and design aesthetics:

  • Dense, tightly packed text
  • Tiny, low-quality images
  • More columns than you can count
  • Bright clashing colors and flashing banners
  • Overuse of outdated technologies, like Flash

Ask your localization services provider if they provide international web banner localization consulting. If they do, then you are on the right track to increasing your worldwide click-through rates.

MediaLocate is focused on making customers successful around the world. We work with an extensive pool of designers, cultural consultants, linguists, and technologists, to ensure that all of our customers’ marketing collateral, banner ads, and promotional texts are not only linguistically accurate, but customized to the local markets so that they resonate with the target audience.

Ready to click with your worldwide audience? Give us a call at 1-800-776-0857 to learn more.

Curious about the technical aspects of web banner localization?

Download our technical brief here:


Your Quick Reference Guide for Banner Localization


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