French speaking markets: putting translations to the test

We’ve mentioned that you can reuse popular English designs for various EU markets; this usually applies to generic designs or popular English sayings like “Keep Calm and…”. However, depending on the audience you may find that translating your design and other campaign elements can help boost item sales and ad engagement. 

To test the importance of translations in Facebook ads we performed an experiment to see how an advertisement and design performed when translated versus not translated. In this case, we tested a design targeting teachers in French-speaking countries. Our 2 Facebook ads specifically targeted France, Canada, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. Our audience was identical in the 2 ads, including women aged 27 to 55, whose profession is related to teaching.

One campaign featured an English design with English campaign title, description, and Facebook advertisements. The other campaign featured the same design, campaign description, and Facebook ads, however everything was translated into French.

These are the 2 designs we tested:

We ran the ads for 3 days and these were the results:

Clearly we can see that our audience was more responsive to the advertisements and design featuring the French translation – and the cost per click was less expensive! So what have we learned from this? Based on our experiment (and other successful campaigns), if you plan to target non-English speaking countries it’s a good idea to consider translating designs, title, description, content of the promo image, and ad copy. Translated content can equal higher ad engagement, more clicks, and more sales!

The importance of “gender” in translations

Don’t forget that many words in other languages have masculine or feminine properties; as you can see by looking at the design below, the French design says “devenue” which means “become”, and this term can only be used when referring to women. The male version would be “devenu.” For this reason we targeted the ads for females only as the gender specified in the design is for women.

This brings up an important point about the fact that some European languages, like French (as well as Italian, Spanish and German, etc.) require two different words for each gender, and therefore 2 different designs, to express the same message. This happens when your design includes adjectives that refer both to men and women. It’s a good idea to check with your translator about the gender-specific words in your design – and to make sure you target the correct gender with your ads.

Need help translating your designs? Check out this article about all the Translation Tools you can use!