Out of the 1633 reviewed company websites from this study, 571 companies (35%) include a language (22%) or country (13%) selection option. This is a surprising statistic in an industry which is global by nature. Only 3% of websites include both a country AND language selection.
The PromatShow alone features exhibitors from 26 different countries. The visitors to the trade show are from many more countries which makes it even more important for companies to present their marketing and sales materials in different languages.
Here is a list of the 26 represented countries from the 2017 PromatShow exhibitors:
We differentiate between language selection and country selection. In this section, we discuss how companies facilitate the selection or switching of different languages.
22% or 360 companies offer a language option on their website.
Only about half of the 360 international websites include more than 2 languages.
Websites with the most number of language options:
|Company||Website||# of languages|
|Ewals Cargo Care||www.ewals.com||11|
78% of websites place the language selection option at the TOP RIGHT of the website. 9% place the selection at the TOP LEFT, and only 4% of sites include the language switcher in the FOOTER.
example of website placing language selector at the top right (most popular option at 78%):
example of website placing the selector in the footer:
The most popular type of trigger for language selection is to display the language choices in their original language. For example if you are browsing an english website you would see options for other languages written like this: Español, Français, Deutsch, Italiano ect. This type is used by 35% of all sites with language selection.
13% or 212 out of 1633 websites include a country selection. 65% of them have for the selection more than 5 countries.
As with language selection, the most popular location for the country selector is TOP RIGHT of the website. 60% of websites use this location for the country selection.
The most popular display method for the trigger of country selection is through the use of some icon such as a globe, map or country flag. Often these icons are used in combination with country text names or country codes.
Websites that offer the most country options:
|Company||Website||# of languages|
issue example 1: language options are presented in spanish instead of native way
issue example 2: language options are in french. This is only helpful if you speak french already.
issue example 3: language opotion presented in same versino as website, in italian.
the following 4 websites show us how language and country selection can be facilitated in a user friendly way.
Lastly, we did a deeper review fo the following websites. On our sister website 'International Digital Marketing Spot' we review international websites daily to highlight how they are facilitating country and language selection:
Only 1/3 of all reviewed websites offer some form of localization or language option. This means there is an opportunity to differentiate from your competition and add language or country option to your website.
Beyond the mechanism of allowing users to select a different language or country, there are many other things to consider when building a multilingual website. Questions such as culture, translation, design, differences in technology, usage in social media, marketing channels are only a few such considerations. Building a successful website is difficult by itself, doing this with multiple languages, in multiple countries requires a solid plan, experience and knowledge.
Questions such as when to localize, in what countries, or in what languages, how to market in different countries, how to design and host your website and what technology to use, are common. Hopefully the research here provides you with some valuable information. Check out the resource center with our sister website IDM Spot for additional information on digital globalization, and let us know what questions you have by filling out the form below.