Not all of your customers speak English at a native level - and they shouldn’t have to. Localizing your training, onboarding, and educational videos for all your customers boosts global customer experience and enablement with the content you already have. But to make sure you’re localizing the right content for the right audiences, learning how to run an initial pilot can save you a world of pain in the long run.

Which customers should you localize for?

If you don’t already have your target audience in mind, here are a few methods to uncover the customers you should localize your videos for.

1. Take a look at your internal data

Depending on the platform you host your existing English customer videos on, there’s a good chance it offers audience analytics. By drilling down into the demographics of your existing viewers, you’ll see how they break down by geography. This will show you the countries where you have customers who are already engaging with your video content, despite the language not being optimal.

2. Conduct competitor research

If your competitors host their customer videos on a public platform, you can check which languages they’re creating videos in. You can also switch the language (if there’s an option) on their website to see if any videos embedded on the English version of the website have been translated into that language. This shows you where your competitors see value geographically among their customers, which could be relevant to your own.

3. Ask your customers directly

You can also use customer surveys to directly gauge interest in translating your videos into new languages. Split your customers by geographical region and push surveys asking if they feel they would benefit from having the videos in different languages. By comparing sentiment across regions, you might be able to find one or two target audiences that stick out from the crowd.

How to run a localization pilot in four steps

Now that you have your target audience locked down, you’re ready to run your pilot. You don’t have to do every localization pilot exactly like this, but this best practice scenario should help you better structure your testing phases in the future.

Step 1: Find the right content

To give your pilot the best chance of success, you should select several of your most popular English customer videos. Because you already know that they’re capable of resonating with your domestic customers, it stands to reason that they will internationally too. 

If you choose videos that have historically seen low engagement, it would be hard to distinguish between lack of interest in the video subject matter itself or lack of interest in localized resources altogether.

Since this is just a trial and you want to keep localization costs and turnarounds low, you should try and select relatively short videos (a few minutes maximum).

Step 2: Decide how you’re going to localize

People will often choose to trial localization with subtitles because of the low barriers to entry and its impact on accessibility. You can even automate captioning if you need to really cut down on costs.

However, dubbing can be an option if that localization method is strongly preferred. In many countries, dubbing is the norm and you harm your own localization efforts by avoiding it.

Also, for educational or training videos, dubbing versus subtitling can impact things like information retention. In one of our own studies, we found that dubbing boosts memory retention 40% higher than subtitles alone.

It probably wouldn’t make sense to hire a recording studio and voice actors just for a small localization pilot, but you could use automated dubbing like we offer here at Papercup at a much lower cost and turnaround time.

Step 3: Figure out your distribution channels

Now that you’ve localized your test content, you need to get it in front of your customers. How you do this will vary widely from organization to organization.

Some companies will create a beta-test group that they can closely monitor in an organized manner as they try out newly localized content. Others will create a localized version of their website or video hosting platform to completely immerse the target audience.

If you don’t have a specific stream like these to share your localized videos, there are always other options. You can directly email the videos to new customers as they’re onboarded. You can redirect speakers of your target language to a one-pager on your website that hosts all the test videos in one place.

You just need to be able to get it in front of the right people and be able to measure engagement at some level.

Step 4: Measure the impact of your localization

With the nature of educational customer videos not tying directly to typical revenue-based metrics, it can be a little challenging to measure how your localized videos are hitting the bottom line, but it’s still possible.

Firstly, you can look at your classic content engagement metrics. You want more than simple “views” in this situation. Try and host your videos somewhere you can see how long people watch each video and compare it to the actual length of the video to find % of video watched. You can also sometimes measure rewatches, which strongly indicate value.

Secondly, you can gather personal feedback directly via surveys. Ask questions like: Did having this video in your language help you understand this product feature? Do you wish more of our training videos were in your language?

Lastly, if you're planning on running your pilot over a long period of time, you can track any changes in customer lifetime value. Just multiply the revenue each customer brings in by the average customer lifetime. If this increases among the targeted customers compared to customers from other regions, this is an indicator that the localized videos are helping them receive more value out of your product or service.

Beyond the pilot

If all goes well, there should be clear metrics and customer demand to scale your localization beyond the pilot.

However, that won’t always be the case. You might see only marginal results, unclear data, or very little data at all. This could be because the target audience wasn’t right, the translation format wasn’t optimized, or the quality of the source videos didn’t cut it.

The benefit of a pilot is that you’ve invested very little into finding these results, good or bad. This allows you to go back to the drawing board and tweak these variables until you do find the right pathway to go all-in on localization.

Once you have the data that proves its value, you can take your findings to report internally and get further buy-in to scale. 

If you want to see what large-scale customer video localizing looks like, check out how Pipedrive localizes its entire library into four languages.