Is it Worth Localising Your FinTech Website?

An article by Darrell Wilkins on 07 Dec 2021

Summary: There is considerable evidence suggesting that providing a localised version of your website builds credibility, trust, and has a direct contribution to the bottom line. If you are serious about expanding your FinTech business into new markets, you should do it.

A client recently  asked me what business impact they could see from a localised website. It stumped me. I didn't have a good answer, so I decided to find out.

It's easy to assume that providing content relevant to a specific market would be beneficial. And creating content in your customer's native language can only help you towards your goals.

But the real question they were asking is whether it is worth doing.

Sometimes you create features for your site in the absence of compelling evidence. For example, if you are innovating, the implication is that the feature is new. There's no way to predict its impact. In other instances, you create a feature just because the CEO wants it— I guess you could measure CEO happiness, but what price do you put on that?

In both these cases, you don't have good data beforehand to assess whether a positive return on investment (ROI) is likely.

Costs and Returns of Localising Your Fintech Site

There are two parts to the ROI equation. First, how much value a feature delivers (return) and secondly, how much a feature costs to implement (investment).

Localisation is a no-brainer for Fintechs with enterprise customers who spend hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds on their services. If you gain just one new customer from a localised site, it's worth doing. Your people in market will be able to tell you if this is likely.

However localising (and translating) your website is not a small task. It's much more complex than you think it will be — especially if you rely on a content-led marketing strategy. Implementing and supporting localisation can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if you have to retrofit your site.

So if it's hard to do and the economics are not clear cut, how do you make the call on whether to invest?

A Look at The Data

The top 5 languages spoken by internet users:

English 25.9%
Chinese 19.4%
Spanish 7.9%
Arabic 5.2%
Portuguese 3.7%

How many people speak English in:

Germany 56%
Vietnam 54%
France 39%
Italy 34%
The EU 38%
Spain 22%
Argentina 6.5%
Brazil 5%

Put another way, if your site is only in English, 74.1% of the world's population can't read it. But, of course, that might not matter if you are confident that your customers in your target markets are the minority that speaks English. Or, as a B2B firm, you subscribe to the common refrain that business users all speak English.

To some extent, this is true, as the Harvard Business Review (HBR) points out. And for B2B Fintech firms it's quite likely many of your prospects can speak English, so maybe localisation/translation isn't that important, right?

Well, there is a difference between what someone can do and what they prefer to do. And preferences are much more likely to turn into actions. For example, HBR says that 70% of employees experience frustration with an English-only policy. At the very least, that points to a preference for their native language.

There is more evidence to back this view.

Some statistics

89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process. Goolge

65% of non-native English speakers prefer content in their native tongue, even though they are highly proficient in English. CSA Research

Around 40% of internet users said they will never buy from websites that are not in their native language. CSA Research

Businesses that invested in translation were 1.5 times more likely to observe an increase in revenue. Localize

Fortune 500 companies were reported to be 2.04 times more likely to improve profits and 1.27 times more likely to generate more earnings per share when they invested in translation. CSA Research

75% of consumers are more likely to buy products from websites in their native language. CSA Research

Nine out of 10 internet users said that they always visited a website in their own language when they had a choice. European Commission

64% would pay a higher price for a product or service if a brand offers a customer experience in their native language Unbabel

So while your international users may be able to use your site in English, there is a clear competitive advantage when you cater to their language preferences.

What Having a Localised Site Says About Your Brand.

Engaging in new markets is a complicated process. You are often a new entrant going up against the local competition. Having a localised site sends a strong signal to your prospects and customers that you are serious about the market and there to stay. It shows you understand their preferences and that you will adapt to them, rather than forcing them to adapt to you.

71% believe it’s extremely/very important that a brand promotes and supports their products and services in their native language Unbabel

The extent to which Fintech firms attach value to their brand differs, but the very best marketers know that even small brand signals can dramatically affect prospect perception.

It is very hard to put a financial value on this to help with the ROI question. However, you can ask how many advertising dollars your firm would have to spend to have a similar effect. I suspect it would be considerably more than localisation costs.

Localisation Also Helps with Your Firm’s Visibility

Neilson Norman group's research shows that B2B customers frequently add their country into Google searches. For example, they would type "Cloud Banking API Vietnam" to make the results more relevant to them. Considering 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, there is a real opportunity in being locally relevant.

Google takes localisation and translation into account when it serves up search results. So if you want to improve your ranking in specific markets, having localised or translated content is a must.

So is Localisation Worth it?

There are a lot of factors to consider, including :

  • The size of your business.
  • The value of your clients.
  • How serious you are about serving multiple markets.
  • How much revenue a new market can drive.
  • The cost of converting your website to support localisation & translation.
  • Whether you see your website as a cost to be minimised or an investment to drive value.

Every firm will have a different view on each of the above, and it’s ultimately a judgement call. However, the benefits are clear: increased visibility, revenue, profit, trust and credibility.

If you are serious about serving customers in multiple markets, even if the upfront expense is large, the answer is almost certainly yes; it is worth localising your site.