What Does Video Localization Mean?

Video content is unavoidable in modern marketing. Right behind Google, YouTube is the second most used search engine with roughly 3 billion searches per month. Smart marketing teams are taking advantage of the opportunity to get in front of their customers with video. Businesses with a large scope often practice global marketing techniques to boost the company presence worldwide. To have a meaningful impact in different markets, the best practice for video marketing is video localization.

Video Globalization marketing

What is video localization?

Video localization refers to the process of adapting video content to make it accessible for a wider audience.

Video Localization Techniques

In the pre-production phase of planning, you must decide whether you want to create one video with accessibility features or separate videos for each target market. In both cases, video localization practices ensure your video reaches the widest audience possible. Keep in mind, content created for a local market is different than content created for a global market.

Global Market Advertisements

Let’s think about some big brands that really hit it out of the park, because I would rather show you than tell you. Have you ever seen a Coca-Cola ad? I bet you have. There is no mistaking that red and white branding that distinguishes coke from the other soft drinks. The video example here shows a generic advertisement for Coca-Cola that can be enjoyed universally by a global audience. The reason it works in all different markets is because there is no cultural iconography, no spoken language, and it is appropriate for all ages. This is video localization for a global market.

Local Market Advertisements

For an example of localized content, let’s look at how Dairy Queen adapts commercials for different U.S. markets. The Dairy Queen slogan is “This is fan food, not fast food” however, commercials in the state of Texas have a different slogan and jingle, “That’s what I like about Texas.” The goal of changing the slogan for Texas markets is to create a more personal appeal for the customers in that specific market. This is video localization for a local market.

Video Accessibility

In order to make content accessible to your viewers, you will first need to determine who you want to see your video. The demographics of your target audience will give you a clue as to what accessibility features you might want to include. The two most important things to consider are language and culture.


Your message won’t have any impact if your customers can’t understand it! While English is fine for a majority of viewers, there are more opportunities for views in different languages. Ideally, videos created for different regions would be adapted to the native language of that region. If you are writing the script in English it is important to be positive your translation is correct. The best way to do this is to work with a native speaker. In case you need help with translation, check out The Word Point for some help. Some regions of the world speak multiple languages, so be sure to provide as many options as you think will be used.

If you want to make a video in English, there are a few ways you can adapt this content for a global audience. Firstly, avoid idioms and slang in your video script. Secondly, add multiple language options for your intended message. One way to do this is to have subtitle captioning with different language options. If you decide to include captioning, make sure the lower third of the video frame can be covered by text without losing value. Another way to create a multi-language video is to include mainly visuals and then record a voiceover in different languages. This way, you preserve your original visuals while still offering different language options for your customers.

Cultural Indicators and Sensitivities

If you want to make one video suitable for all markets, your content needs to have universal appeal. This means you will want to avoid cultural indicators. The cultural elements of your video are what make your message relatable to the customer. Cultural indicators include things like famous landmarks, architecture, food, clothing, symbols and signs that might not appeal to everyone. Furthermore, you will want to take into account cultural sensitivities since they can easily ruin your entire campaign video. Be very careful not to insult anyone with your content.

However, you might not always need to or want to avoid cultural indicators. Sometimes brands purposefully include a wide range of cultural indicators to show the scope of their product. For example, Bumble announced a new app feature called “Moves Making Impact” where users’ actions on the app help support a global cause. The video includes imagery of many different cultures to show how the app connects users across the world.

Furthermore, if you want to make separate videos for each individual market, it is a great idea to include cultural indicators. Preserve your original intended message and plan to add different cultural elements to make your video more personable. Think back to the Dairy Queen commercial from earlier and how they capitalize on Texas culture when marketing to Texas customers. Your changes could be as simple as swapping the music for each market or as complex as using entirely new footage.

Customer Feedback

Video localization techniques will help you receive positive customer feedback on your videos. Creating appropriate and accessible content is key. With interactive platforms such as YouTube comments and social media replies, customer feedback is public on the web. Pay attention to the way people perceive your videos and consider this feedback when making your next video.

Author/Collaborator: Erica Sunarjo is a communications professional with more than five years of experience. Erica runs her own blog BestWritersOnline and is proud of her an uncanny ability to explain the most complex subject in simple terms.

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