International Digital Best Practices
Nowadays, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t consume some form of coffee. What differentiates us, however, is the way in which we take our favorite cup of Joe. Whether it’s black, sugar and cream, espresso or a million other ways thanks to Starbucks and the like, the ways in which we consume coffee differs. From cultural norms to personal taste, it’s important to know exactly what that preference is before you suggest getting a Grande, Quad, Nonfat, One-Pump, No-Whip, Mocha. People and their media function in the same manner. We all consume it, but it’s the manner of consumption, especially on an international scale, that makes things hard to navigate.
Some countries only access media from their phones while others rely heavily on desktops. Social media dominates some monitors while others prefer more passive forms of entertainment. These preferences add up and often determine the interfaces we see. For instance, Google is leaps and bounds the most popular search engine – but not everywhere. In China, Google has a meager share compared to Baidu who dominates the market. That’s why it’s advantageous to work with a local partner or agency so you don’t overlook standards or economic trends that are commonplace in their county, but completely foreign to you.
Another way to help overcome unforeseen setbacks is to set aside a small amount of your budget for things like currency fluctuation. For example, in Brazil an unpredictable banking industry can make it difficult to get information regarding exchange rates. Knowing tendencies like this exist, it’s important to set expectations up front regarding the process as well as the terms and conditions you want them to follow. Your standard T&Cs are not their standard T&Cs, and neither are your methods of purchasing. While cost per thousand is a fairly common way to buy in the U.S., sometimes things are bought on a flat fee or on a per day basis elsewhere.
Banner and file sizes also vary from country to country. While digital standards are similar in Canada, US, the UK and Australia, China, for instance, has no guidelines. It’s important to plan accordingly, knowing you’ll have to create a variety of different banner sizes.
Doing your research and preparing for the drawbacks of working internationally is a little trickier than asking how someone takes their coffee. However, the more you come to understand the digital practices of other countries, the more tailored your content will become, and the more people you will reach.