Nowadays, it is business-critical for advertisers to connect with culturally diverse audiences. The Channel Factory researched the importance of language diversity in YouTube advertisements across the UK. Our team at CXM got curious about the report and wanted to find out what resonates with culturally different consumers. How can brands be sure they offer desirable and appropriate content? How should businesses segment their target audience to make sure no one is left behind?

The CXM team engaged in an interesting conversation with Channel Factory representatives to discuss in more detail their recent research on YouTube advertising practices. The main goal of this study was to look at the language diversity and consumer sentiment towards English-only advertising practices. Quickly enough, results have shown there’s a real need for marketers to promote cultural diversity in their advertising campaigns if they want to meet the needs of their customers.

The importance of cultural diversity in advertising

Let’s take a look at some of the key findings from the above-mentioned study:

  • 81% of respondents live in bi-lingual homes
  • 18% of respondents state English is not their native language
  • 29% of interviewees speak at least one other language in addition to English
  • 76% of interviewees seek out YouTube content with more language choice
  • 31 of respondents choose to ignore advertising due to the lack of language diversity

In essence, these results show customers don’t feel their favourite brands focus enough on cultural diversity when running campaigns. It appears the English language is not a one-size-fits-all solution for today’s global society, and the ad industry needs to recognize this. If brands want to drive relevant, engaging, and interesting advertising, they have to look up to the needs of their audiences.

Rob Blake, UK MD of Channel Factory, spoke on this requirement exclusively for CXM:

We know diversity, equality, and inclusion are absolutely paramount right now. While today’s businesses have been diligent to adopt DEI practices, we haven’t seen these played out in marketing and advertising practices – yet, this point, where business meets consumer, is one of the most vital steps to get right. If today’s businesses are going to remain relevant and successful, diversity and inclusion need to be inherent in their marketing and advertising strategies.

Are brands driving uniformity with their one-language content?

We got curious about another interesting point from the research. It seems that throughout 2020 and 2021, 72% of advertising campaigns in the UK targeted audiences in the English-only language. This data makes us wonder – can today’s marketing approach meet the needs of wide audiences and the changing consumer sentiment? Are brands providing an accurate representation of the population or driving uniformity with their content?

Following our questions, Chrisa Chatzisavva, Partner and Head of Paid Social WW & UK at Mindshare, stated for CXM:

In the wake of COVID-19, consumers have become much more conscious and aware of how they engage with brands and businesses. They are savvy and know how, when, and where they want brands and businesses to target them. Consumers have made it quite clear that they do not have an interest in interacting with a brand or business trying to sell them something that does not align with this. Previous research from Channel Factory found that 69% of consumers prefer to buy from more socially conscious brands, while 58% said they would stop watching YouTube if the content creator supported causes they did not agree with.

Promoting inclusion with different language options

Another research from online marketing platform Lucid and Channel Factory showed similar results as noted above. The study surveyed 1,000 UK residents between the ages of 18 and 65, and came out with the following statistics:

  • 87% of respondents watch TV in their native language, versus 30% who state that they watch YouTube content in their native language.
  • Almost half (40%) of respondents watch content on YouTube in subtitles.

Once again, this data points to a very diverse audience consuming content in various ways and languages on YouTube. It shows us now is crucial for brands to understand the targeted audiences and provide safe and suitable content in different languages and with social sustainability in mind.

YouTube is not the only platform that needs to reconsider its strategies. If we want to promote diversity and speak to people all over the world, language targeting practices should change across all advertising today. The habits and needs of the customers are continuously changing in the post-pandemic world, and businesses that strive for success should try to capture them accurately. 

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