Katie Bringman

by Katie Bringman | Social Advertising

If you’ve been wanting to advertise internationally, but a barrier has been a lack of internal fluency with foreign languages, look no further than Facebook’s Automatic Language Translation for Ads. With up to 48 language variations to choose from, this tool provides you with the opportunity to reach more people in their preferred language without having to add translations manually.

This may not be a new feature of Facebook Ads, but it is an overlooked one. It simplifies language translation by optimizing ads to display the right language variation to the right audience at the right time, allowing you to reach more people and do so in their preferred language without having to add complexity to your campaign set. But how does it work, and can you really rely on it to get the right message across when you’re not in control? We lay out what we’ve found along with some key things to prepare for in order to make it work for you.

Example Translated Facebook Ad

Okay, great. I don’t need to worry about my budget, but are Facebook’s translations really that accurate?
In most cases, yes! Facebook spent three years building their model along with researchers, trying (and succeeding) in outperforming previous machine translation models. And if there are specific cases where you’re concerned about the technology’s ability to translate correctly or if you find yourself unhappy with Facebook’s translations, you also have the option to make edits!

Consider this example of performance from a Metric Theory client:
Table with Performance Data

Localized language consistently drives stronger CTR when compared to English. Across several regions, the ads in the user’s preferred language excel in terms of both scale and efficiency – driving a higher volume of conversions at a more efficient CPA. The strongest differentiator is seen in Germany, where the German language ads garner a CPA 37% lower than that of English at a 145% higher CTR.

Now, you may be wondering: what if I have several languages to target but am limited by my budget?
Don’t worry. Because Facebook’s translations are dynamic, you don’t need to create separate ad sets for each language. You can select up to 48 different languages for a single ad, and the algorithm will take it from there – determining which language to show each user. And you’ll still be able to take advantage of Facebook’s bidding algorithms to find those most likely to take your desired action, regardless of location.

When considering this handy-tool, there are a few things to take into account:

1. Do you have translated landing pages?
Before enabling dynamic translations, if possible, make sure you have the respective landing pages for each language that you are targeting. Picture this: a user is scrolling through her feed, sees an ad in her preferred language, gets excited and ready for an impulse buy, clicks the ad, and is directed to an English landing page. BAM… she leaves the page and continues scrolling. You lost a purchase.

Facebook’s dynamic translation tool is a great one to utilize but unless the entire user journey flows, it won’t be effective.

2. Does the text overlay on your creative match the language in your body copy?
If you are serving users an ad with German body copy but the image or video uses English overlays, this may impact a user’s likeliness to click through.
Fortunately, with the dynamic translation tool, you also have the ability to upload individual creative for each language that you select. If you don’t have the capacity to translate your overlays to all the languages you want to reach with Facebook Ads, you can always use a creative option without overlays.

3. What ad placements are you trying to translate?
This tool is available for most, but not all placements on Facebook. As of this writing, you can use dynamic translations with the following placements: Facebook News Feed, Instagram Feed, Instagram Explore, Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, Messenger Stories, and Facebook In-Stream Videos.

Localization is an essential part of taking your business across borders. If you plan to advertise in different countries, you’ll need to accommodate different languages, and we’ve found that Facebook’s dynamic translation tool makes it easy!

Still, international and foreign language advertising requires much more in terms of strategy and language localization than even Facebook can offer you. If you’re looking to go global and want help from an agency that’s been there and done that, contact us to learn more!