International Banner Ads

Banner ads are critical to online marketing success. However, what works for a US audience may not appeal to your international customers. To achieve higher click-through rates for global sales, you need to tailor your ads to each targeted demographic.

Three successful players in the international e-commerce space who have a solid grasp of their domestic markets while also gaining ground internationally are Walmart, Rakuten, and Alibaba. Each of their culture-specific strategies speaks to a local market with a unique combination of design, images, colors, text, and spacing.


Notes: Walmart does not include its own name on the banner page. The focus is exclusively on the products and their appeal to the customer. The design goal is to make these two things as clear and appealing as possible, with an emphasis on free shipping.


Notes: Rakuten is appealing to the group and social-networking phenomenon that is characteristic of the Japanese culture. Doing so makes the product(s) more desirable.


Notes: Alibaba lays out the visual presentation of products on a non-symmetrical grid that is modern, abstract, and able to accommodate multiple products at a glance. The goal is to show and suggest related products to a market that likes variety and is eager to buy.

Multicultural-Targeted Online Ads

The examples above compare a market leader in the US with two major Asian leaders, but the same use of tailored design aesthetics can be found in multicultural-targeted online ads in Europe, Latin America, and Africa—all of which take translation beyond just words by matching the branding strategies of those nations with their targeted demographics.

Another novel example of culture-specific ads can be seen at Design Made in Japan which uses an irreverent approach to that country’s customarily formal business taste and design aesthetic. Here are just a few of the tactics they use to gain high reader awareness and impact:

  • 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  • Overuse of outdated technologies, like Flash

Where to go from here?

MediaLocate offers two options for helping you build effective banner ads for your international markets:

  1. Straight Translation: A less customized, more conservative approach for customers who want to make sure that first and foremost their local branding is retained across international markets.
  2. Culturally-Relevant Localization: A customized, market-specific approach with design and content geared to engage international audiences and achieve higher click-through rates for global demographics.

Our advice: Get global. Increase your international click-through rates by asking your localization services provider to help you create strategic global-specific banner ads.

MediaLocate works with talented multinational designers, cultural consultants, linguists, and technologists to ensure that your marketing collateral, banner ads, and promotional texts are linguistically accurate and tailored to resonate with targeted audiences in local markets around the world.

Not “clicking” with your worldwide audience?

Contact us to learn how:  [email protected]  or  1-800-776-0857



Click to download our technical brief:


 Your Quick Reference Guide for Banner Localization


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