2012 Web Globalization Report Card

Category: Acclaro News

Who’s leading the pack when it comes to website globalization? The 2012 Website Globalization Report Card, published by Byte Level Research, gives us the eighth annual snapshot of how well some of the biggest companies in the world are doing when it comes to their global internet strategy. You may be aware that we have a bit of a theme around this here on the Acclaro blog, having covered the 2010 report card and last year’s report card, too. So, what goes into the rankings?

Evaluating Global Reach: The Criteria

According to Byte Level Research, websites are graded based on the number of languages the site supports, consistency across platforms (both PC and mobile), robustness of content, and active support for localized social networks. For the past two years, the report has also covered how well companies promote themselves on local social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. While few scored well on social media in 2010, over fifty percent now engage in non-English social networking. What a difference 730 days makes!

The report asks the following questions of each company’s global web efforts:

  • How many languages does the website support?
  • Can users quickly find localized content, regardless of their language?
  • Does the website successfully balance branding priorities and local language customization?
  • Is the mobile version of the translated website comparable with the PC platform?
  • How responsive are both the website and mobile components to users?
  • Is the content truly relevant to the user’s geographical location?
  • Are local-language versions of social media platforms integrated with the site?

This year’s report covered 105 websites divided across 17 industries. The full report (220 pages) can be purchased as a PDF from Byte Level for $1,250.

Top 25 Rankings: The Movers & Shakers

The biggest battle in this year’s list is between the internet’s two heavyweights: Google and Facebook. While Facebook took the top spot in 2011, Google has reclaimed the #1 ranking in 2012, primarily due to an aggressive program to globalize both search and Google+.

Google’s search product now speaks 140 languages and the Google+ app has risen to 40. This number dwarfs Facebook’s support for 13 languages, though Facebook is reportedly working aggressively to expand their global offering. Cisco’s third position has remained unchanged for three years running.

One of the biggest movers in this year’s report is Hotels.com, jumping from #17 in 2011 to the #5 spot. Yahoo! also cracked the Top 25, while Skype and Adobe missed the cut-off this time around.

It’s clear from the volatility in the #4 though #25 spots that forward thinking companies are actively pursuing globalization strategy on a major scale. If you have yet to give your company’s global presence much thought, now would be an excellent time to look into translating what you have to offer customers worldwide.

Which of these companies do you think has the most impressive global presence?