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Going Global - a Localization Case Study at Cloudflare


3 min read

Today Cloudflare serves nearly 10% of all global internet requests and more than 80% of our customers are based outside of the United States. Cloudflare is rapidly growing and there is nothing more important to us than being able to better serve our users across the world beyond our global offices in San Francisco, Austin, Champaign, Washington D.C., New York, London, and Singapore.

Earlier this year, we launched a team to focus on global expansion and growth. In June, we presented our agile global market expansion experiment framework at LocWorld Barcelona and wanted to report back on how things were going.

Getting started

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart" – Nelson Mandela

At Cloudflare, we are motivated by our users from all around the world. Of our top 15 countries by traffic volume, 10 have official languages other than English. As a large part of our users do not speak our primary language of business, our priority is to reach and engage with these users in their native languages through localization.

As a growing company, we wanted to build a scalable and repeatable experiment framework and use data to inform our localization strategy. Therefore, we took our highest performing campaign and localized the core content into three languages spoken in our top traffic sources and revenue markets: French, German, and Spanish. We then ran the campaign as a split test in these target markets in English (control) and the local languages (variation).

Our findings

As illustrated in the charts below, the localized campaign has far outperformed the English campaign in the target markets across all metrics: engagement, conversion, and cost savings. This validates our hypothesis that localization drives better reach, relevance, and resonance and is highly effective in satisfying our growing international demand.

What's next?

This quick win helped us to benchmark and further build our localization investment case. From here, we will continue to take an agile and performance-based localization approach to guide our users from campaigns to our site, and further into our onboarding flow in the three core languages. In addition, we are running similar tests in four more languages: Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Italian, to capture the increasing demand in emerging markets.

In order to prioritize localization investments and maximize growth, we follow the 80/20 rule to cover core vs. new emerging markets. We also use a handy formula to keep track of ongoing localization ROI and avoid investing in wrong areas with diminishing returns:

What has your experience been in going global with localization? Drop us a line or e-mail Claire at: [email protected]. We will be sharing more updates and learnings at the upcoming LocWorld Silicon Valley in November and look forward to seeing you there!

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