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Latest Facebook Changes: Lost in Translation?

Facebook Marketing: English vs Japanese


Facebook has announced the introduction of Global Pages, a product long awaited by multi-national brands who have been juggling the management of regional timelines.

Global Pages will allow brands to have one central “fan-page” but will default to local content based on where users are viewing it. This means brands can manage one overarching page but also send targeted messages to users in different locations.

Facebook’s press release highlighted the products features, which have a number of benefits to brands:


Users from all countries will see the same Page name (translated into their local language), fan count (likes) and the number of “People Talking About This” (PTAT).

Organisations can concentrate on promoting one particular Fan-page without neglecting users who reside in regions beyond a brands central locality.

A consolidated number of LIKES and “People Talking About This” will only strengthen a brand’s social proof and build trust with existing and potential customers, while still providing content that is geo-targeted.

Content, apps, games videos and anything a brand chooses to post can be launched and tracked centrally.

•    ONE URL

Brands can promote one single URL in all off-Facebook campaigns and users will be automatically directed to the best version of the page for them.


Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the product will be access to GLOBAL INSIGHTS where Page Admins will see insights for all global users in one analytics dashboard.

Such data will enable brands to measure their reach worldwide and locally; and compare regions against each other, gaining greater understanding of the international markets, how they respond to the brand’s Facebook efforts and can help calculate ROI.

While not applicable (or accessible as yet) for smaller brands, those who have a managed a single page with geo-targeted posts or multiple, country-specific timelines, will be able to strengthen their regional presence and brand continuity, with minimal effort.

The new changes may present some “teething problems” for brands.

A global page relies on the information provided by the Facebook user and encourages users to be open in divulging accurate personal information. For example, a Japanese student studying in Australia may prefer to read their Facebook posts in kanji and katakana, however, it is unlikely that Facebook would provide the localised brand Pages (for Australian businesses) unless the student was to update their personal details to reflect the move down-under.

Facebook’s Edgerank is likely to detect the student’s presence in Australia, if they check-in or share posts that have a distinctly (and consistently) Aussie flavour (Australian news sites,’s, etc.). However, until the student changes their language settings or updates Facebook settings to include their “Lives in” verses “hometown” information, brand pages will not be localised to their actual location.

Facebook will translate the page name and content to match a user’s country using the BING Translator. While this is tremendous news for those brands that only have English-speaking staff but want to extend their presence into international markets, often automatic conversion from one language to another does not accurately detect nuances in colloquial speech and can often misinterpret distinctions between intended meanings.

Global Pages will also pose a number of challenges for brand-fans as they may be confused by the centralised naming and domain (url) of a brand they once recognised as a local entity.

However, not all brands have to subscribe to the Global Page product, neither will they need or want to. Those brands who do appeal to multiple regions and wish to combine their efforts will need to take the time to assess the product’s functionality and whether it will benefit them more than their existing Facebook structure.

Many brands have already heavily invested in developing specific regional communities and are unlikely to abandon them for an umbrella account with sub-pages; especially, if they have been seeing a return-on-investment for the segmented efforts.

And in time, as more brands adopt the product, more fans will become aware of the changes and their brand’s direction.

Brands should be cautious about preserving their local identities. After all, community members often engage due to the experience they have had at a grass-roots level, or in practical terms, when they find out about discounts or special offers that may only apply to their local outlet.

So what’s in it for Facebook? Such an initiative is in no doubt part of their strategy to increase advertising revenues. This product will provide greater intelligibility for brands to recognise their Facebook performance and encourage them to spend more time and their marketing budget on the social network.

Global Pages has been in beta-testing for several months now with universal brands such as Microsoft, but it remains to be seen how this new format will evolve. One thing is for sure, Global Pages is one long-awaited, but small step for Facebook, one giant leap for multi-nationals.

Natalee-Jewel Kirby, Digital Community Manager





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