Pinterest is having a difficult time growing its business internationally. Valued at $11 billion, the startup is one of the few prominent tech companies that was able to overcome the struggles of an unpredictable global economy. This accomplishment is impressive, considering that the business is only six years old. To cater to global markets, the startup opened offices in London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo and São Paulo. Furthermore, the company has prolonged its highly anticipated IPO debut, and has instead set its sights on expansion. Below covers Pinterest’s plans to localize its offerings and the role that translation companies will play during the transition.
Pinterest and Localization Problems
To date, the startup boasts over 100 million active users, most of which (85 percent) are female. Statistics from Digital Marketing Ramblings, a digital marketing firm, suggest that around 42 percent of women in the US use the social platform on a regular basis. The business has mastered the US market, but in other parts of the world, it is having difficulties overcoming local customs and cultures. “In a bid to attract Internet users worldwide, image-discovery site Pinterest Inc. has learned a few valuable lessons. Among them: The French don’t want to see the Americanized recipes of beloved classic dishes such as the cassoulet, but they aren’t averse to non-Parisian fashion,” said Yoree Koh from Wall Street Journal.
In the past few months, Pinterest has attempted to make the site less American. With a projected revenue of $3 billion by 2018, it plans to start targeting ads to foreign users. The company admitted that roughly 45 percent of its active customers are internationally based in countries outside of the US. Ideally, execs want the ratio to lean more towards 50 percent, in order to make the most out of their advertising revenue stream. By comparison, Facebook and Twitter have an estimated 80 percent of international users.
“It says it has doubled international users in the past year to about 45 million. Despite the gains, the percentage of Pinterest users in Brazil, France, Germany and Japan remains in the single digits, according to people familiar with the matter,” wrote Koh.
Translation Companies’ Role
When it comes to languages, the website offers a general selection of translations, ranging from Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia, to Portuguese and Spanish. In order to ensure complete localization, Pinterest will have to update its images, menu selections and panels to meet the demands of its foreign demographics. It also needs help from translation companies to create more accurate translations of the platform’s basic features .
An example of this is the brand’s move to switch the word “board” to “folder” for its users in Brazil. Ricardo Sangion, Pinterest’s country manager in Brazil, also explained that it may consider replacing the “pin it” feature with the word “save” to avoid confusion in the South American market. The changes signal a great start for the startup, but in order to compete directly with other social platforms, it needs a more thorough approach to translation and localization. An example of a business that has successfully met the needs of its foreign customers is PayPal. With the application of an extensive localization strategy, the leading digital payments brand welcomed 6.6 million new users in Q4 of 2015.
Anxious to follow in the success of the start-up sensation Pinterest? Adapt to your global surroundings with the help of professional translation companies and make your ideas grow worldwide.
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