Website Localization ROI: Proving it to the Boss

Recent industry trends show businesses are finally realizing the potential value of website localization to support the languages of new customers in untapped international markets. Business demand for localization and translation services has been steadily increasing this year, a trend that is expected to keep growing in 2012, according to the Globalization and Localization Association, a trade group for the localization industry.

But to grab the full and undivided attention of executives, marketing managers and localization professionals, the hard numbers have to prove to company budget holders that implementing website localization has a strong potential to generate new revenue growth.

The bottom line? Executives need to know what the return on investment (ROI) will be for website localization projects.  Although ROI has been a difficult and elusive issue for a variety of reasons, Milengo has developed a step-by-step method to assess ROI for website localization.

We believe calculating website localization ROI can be accomplished by gathering key website metrics that can be plugged into a simple yet effective mathematical formula to determine your ROI.

First Steps

Your first step? Get access to your Google Analytics data, or any other tool you might use to track visitor behavior on your website.


Next, find out what your average number of monthly visitors are to your source language site. To get an accurate number, make sure you filter out internal traffic, especially if you have employees, contractors, consultants and other business partners who regularly use your site.

Once you’ve filtered out the internal web traffic, you also need to find out what are your average monthly visits in your Source and Target Languages, S(AMV) and T(AMV).  To calculate the number of visitors to your current site in both source and target language, you can use one of two data points. Which one you choose will depend on how you segment markets by language.

You can find additional details about how to determine source and target language visitors, in our White Paper, Global Web Sites for New Markets Estimating ROI from Website Localization.

Conversion Values

Next , calculate the average value of each success or conversion event, which usually is an average transaction value, or for service based businesses, an average customer value over a period of time.

After you have gathered this information, you need to figure out your site’s source and target event conversion rates, S(ECR) and T(ECR). They are typically expressed as a percentage of average success events against average number of visits. For example, 100 people visit your site resulting in 10 success or conversion events. This means your success or conversion event rate is 10 percent.

You also should estimate the increase in your target language traffic (ITL), which is one of the most difficult values to calculate because it’s subjective. In addition, it will depend heavily on the localized promotion of the site through PPC, SEO and other marketing channels. More details can be found in our free White Paper.

Estimating the Estimates

After gathering these estimates, guess what? You need more estimates. This time you need to figure out what your conversion rate increase for your target language localized site would be. Aim to achieve the same conversion rate as your source language site.

Localization Costs

Finally, and yes, we’re almost done,  make sure you account for all costs, including website localization project costs and associated expenses from other tools or technologies. Keep track of monthly promotional costs including PPC, SEO, additional staff, as well as estimated monthly costs to translate any site updates.

Once you have gathered and verified all of this information you’ll need a copy of our White Paper: Global Web Sites for New Markets Estimating ROI from Website Localization. The White Paper covers a range of considerations you need to make when planning for website localization. More importantly it lays our all the data we’ve outlined above and show you how to calculate your return on investment from website localization.

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Author imageBy , 24/11/2011
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