Business success goes hand in hand with multilingualism
More than two-thirds (70 percent) of the world’s most prominent websites are multilingual – and the number of languages offered correlates statistically to a company’s success
Research findings from independent research firm Common Sense Advisory show a strong correlation between the number of languages found on a website and a business’s success. Whether the ranking is based on revenue, brand value, or website traffic, the best-ranked websites consistently offer a higher language count than those on the bottom. In each case, business success using a range of measures goes hand in hand with greater breadth of language support.
The research firm’s latest series of global web marketing reports are based on a sample of 2,409 websites compiled from Alexa Top 500 Global Sites, the Interbrand 100 Best Global Brands, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 lists. The research reveals that the top 50 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 list typically provide content in 15 languages, while sites from companies in the bottom 1,000 averaged only four languages. The average number of languages across all 2,409 sites was nearly six. More details are available in the following reports:
- “Global Website Assessment Index” provides detailed data from the overall sample of 2,409 websites, revealing the popularity of over 100 different languages in global website communications by industry, company size, headquarters country, and more.
- “Multilingual Websites” demonstrates how the number of languages found on a website corresponds to the success of the company or website, and how the number of languages found on prominent sites in any industry or country accurately predicts success in the global economy.
- “Top 100 Global Websites” reveals the top 100 global websites based on best practices for global website design, including language availability, navigation, and global social engagement.
“More companies are learning that if they want to achieve higher levels of international revenue, their web presence must be global and multilingual. Monolingual websites fail to reach even a quarter of the world’s internet users in their preferred language. It takes 12 languages to reach 80% of the world’s online audience and 21 to reach 90%,” explains Ben Sargent, senior analyst at Common Sense Advisory.
The series of reports includes critical data useful to global businesses and the language companies serving them, including:
- Which languages are most popular online – and by industry. The “Global Website Assessment Index” report shows the results of language popularity by company size, sector, home country, and website traffic volume. It shows which languages are found at the top of the economic food chain overall, and within specific industry sectors.
- Which websites offer the best global experience. In its most recent “Top 100 Global Websites” ranking, the firm places Facebook, VK, and YouTube at the top of the list. The firm evaluates sites using 20 scoring areas, including the total addressable audience the site can reach and the spending power of the linguistic communities it supports. Sites that make it difficult for global audiences to quickly find relevant content are penalized with point deductions.
- Which industries require the most languages. Software tops the list of industry sub-sectors sorted by highest average number of languages per website. The company and brand sites examined in each of the following industries averaged 10 or more languages: Software, Life Sciences, High Technology, Manufacturing Services, and Automotive.
“Companies should not make the mistake of thinking that simply adding more languages will necessarily result in a better score. It takes a combination of quantity and quality to create the best possible web experience for users that may speak any language and come from anywhere in the world,” adds Sargent.