International digital marketing in different digital environments
Image by Ron Lach on Pexels

International digital marketing in different digital environments

Marketing is all about talking to your target audience. This requires a deep understanding of the target audience and adapting marketing to this audience, their preferences and their circumstances.

In international marketing, there are additional aspects of the target audience that need to be considered, for example differences in language, culture, business environment, competitive landscape.

Differences in the digital environment of different countries

In international digital marketing, the above additional considerations regarding languages, culture etc. also apply and are important. Furthermore, as one is communicating digitally, the digital environment of the target export market also plays an important role and should be taken into consideration when developing an international digital marketing strategy.

Below are some examples, taken from the Digital 2022: October 2022 Global Snapshort Report. These data show how certain aspects of the digital environment differ between countries and thus may impact international digital marketing strategy.

Varying Internet adoption levels and their impact on international digital marketing

Internet adoption worldwide has dramatically increased in recent years. In some countries nearly all of the population are Internet users! Indeed, Ireland, together with Denmark and Saudi Arabia and U.A.E., rank in place number 1 for this criterion, with 99% of the population being Internet users.

In other countries the share of Internet users is considerably smaller, including Germany at 93% and Portugal at 84% – both of which came as a surprise to me, given the advanced economy of Germany on the one hand and the pervasive use of the Internet for tourism related applications I observed during a trip to a conference I spoke at in Lisbon in Portugal earlier this year.

That said, even the Portuguese data are still good and well above the worldwide average of 63.5%.

This shows that understanding the level of Internet adoption per country is important, as this will impact the potential reach of your digital marketing campaigns in countries.

Internet usage levels and their impact on international digital marketing

Being an Internet user is one thing. The next question, of course, is to what extent people in a country are Internet users, i.e. are they frequent users or only very occasional Internet users.

Here, the data show a different aspect of behaviour again: For example, in Ireland in spite of its high internet adoption levels, daily use of the internet for a total of 6:32 hours lies slightly below the world-wide average usage time of 6:37 hours. Also, it is mostly non-European countries that are leads the way here, with South Africa topping the charts with of 10:07 hours of internet use per day, a number so high you wonder, if it can be correct…

From a digital marketing point of view, the data above are just the starting point and further questions may need to be asked, i.e. as to who are the Internet users in a country and which platforms/tools to they use. This more detailed look will then allow to evaluate how well a country’s Internet usage aligned with one’s digital marketing objectives and what adjustments to digital marketing need to be made for each chosen target market.

Use of mobile phones and its impact on international digital marketing

There are also considerable differences regarding the device people in different countries use to access the Internet.

Using mobile phones to access the Internet is particularly prevalent in some African, South American, and Asian markets. In Kenya, 97.9% of users use their mobile to access the Internet and this puts Kenya in place number one for mobile Internet access, followed by Brazil, South Africa, the Philippines, Mexico, and Nigeria, all countries where more than 96% of users use their mobile phone to access the Internet.

Ireland, in contrast, scores below the worldwide average of 92.1% and big European economies like France and Germany are pretty close to the tail end for this criterion, showing levels of mobile usage around 87%.

Use of voice assistants and its impact on international digital marketing

The last example, I want to talk about today is the use of voice assistance, such as Alexa and Siri.

The top country using voice assistance for search currently is India at 31.3%, closely followed by China and the USA. The worldwide average for the use of voice assistants is 22.5%. Usage overall is less prevalent in Europe and only very few European countries, in particular Spain and Italy, are above the worldwide average.

Indeed, several large European economies show considerably lower usage data for voice assistants, e.g. France at 14% or Sweden at 10% to name just a few.

It is worthwhile noting here that the use of voice assistants for search is changing quite rapidly and when comparing this October 2022 data with January 2022, several shifts can be observed, mostly with countries increasing their use of voice assistants. So, this is an area to keep a close eye on.

Localisation of speech recognition software may also a contributing factor here, although this still does not explain some of the differences in use between countries with the same language, e.g. differences between USA, UK, and Ireland or differences between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Having a solid understanding of how different countries interact with the Internet and how this impacts international digital marketing is key when developing an international digital marketing strategy. Contact Glocafy to find out more, how we can help you.

Susanne Dirks

Susanne Dirks is an internationalisation consultant, specialising in website localisation, international SEO and international digital marketing.