Opportunities and challenges for affiliate marketers entering non-native language markets

Opportunities and challenges for affiliate marketers entering non-native language markets

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Opportunities and challenges for affiliate marketers

The unwritten rule among affiliate marketers since the industry gained traction is to target US consumers. This has led to an oversaturation of English content across the internet. In 2022, smart and strategic affiliate marketers have an opportunity to make more money by targeting underserved markets by serving up content in their native language through translation solutions. This blog unpacks some opportunities and challenges for affiliate marketers entering non-native language market.

The introduction of big media companies in affiliate marketing, combined with the rapid professionalization of the industry, has meant that the most lucrative affiliate keywords in many niches are now unreachable for many smaller publishers.

Why is targeting popular keywords important for affiliate marketing strategy?

While less established site owners still have the option of targeting lower volume keywords, there are a growing number of industries where these groups of publishers can make more money in the long-run, by targeting the top keywords in markets where English is not the native language. Because there is less online content published in these languages, the competition for many of these top keywords is comparable to much lower volume keywords in English.

So, what is some of the data to show the opportunities for affiliate markets in more underserved markets online? 

Finding underserved markets for affiliate marketing

When working out which geographic markets are underserved, a good place to start is by looking at the proportion of internet users by native language and then comparing this to the amount of content produced in each language. This should give you a rough guide to the supply and demand of content in each language and you can use this as a starting point for more niche-specific research.

Statista.com - Top 10 Languages Used On the Internet

The numbers speak for themselves. The Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese markets are particularly underserved. And this offers a great opportunity for affiliate marketers. 

One more thing to highlight – the average cost per clicks (CPCs) in different counties. This reflects the average value of a visitor from a certain location and will impact how far an affiliate marketer can monetize their traffic both through advertising and through affiliate offers.

Historical Trends Usage Statistics of Content Languages for Website
Most published languages on the internet, according to W3 Techs:

Looking at this map, Brazil boasts a relatively high CPC, only slightly lower than the US and comparable to English speaking countries like the UK, Australia and New Zealand. This further suggests that affiliate marketers can do well by creating content in Portuguese. 

Average Cost Per Click Around the World
Average CPC (Wordstream)

Comparing the level of competition: English vs Portuguese

Now we have identified a language that we want to create content in, let’s take a deeper look at the volume and competition of particular affiliate keywords to test our theory that targeting Portuguese keywords offers us a better balance of supply and demand than English ones.

For this, we are going to be using Ahrefs Keywords Explorer to look at the search volume and competition for a few affiliate keywords (“best [product/service]) in the notoriously competitive and lucrative personal finance space.

Starting with “best online bank”, Ahrefs tells us that this keyword in English has a keyword difficulty score of 70 and an estimated search volume of 11,000 searches in the USA.

Affiliate Marketing Keyword Research - Ahrefs Keyword Best Online Bank

However, the Portuguese equivalent of this keyword, melhores bancos digitais, has a comparable search volume in Brazil of 9,800 monthly searches. The keyword difficulty of this keyword is only 10, meaning that you can rank for it with far fewer backlinks and therefore a much lower budget.

Ahrefs Overvie Keyword Volume Affiliate Marketing

 This is the case for many keywords in this niche. A couple more examples include:

  • “Best credit card” (search volume: 28k, keyword difficulty: 79) vs “melhor cartão de crédito” (search volume 12k, keyword difficulty: 26)
  • “Best bank to open an account” (search volume 1.9k, keyword difficulty:76) vs “melhor banco para abrir conta” (search volume 2.6k, keyword difficulty: 3)

Now we have seen a few examples of the potential opportunities for affiliate marketers entering non-English speaking markets, let’s take a closer look at some of the challenges that affiliate marketers can face when trying to create out content in a language that they do not understand.

Controlling content quality when you do not understand the language

Perhaps the biggest reason why affiliate marketers shy away from working in languages that they do not understand is that it becomes impossible for them to do final quality control over the content that is created for their site or posts.

Ensuring that the content you create for your non-English website is of high quality involves getting a trusted service provider the following processes in place:

  • Having quality content, briefs and  guidelines: Giving your writer or website translator like high quality material to work with is imperative to ensure that they deliver a high-quality article and translation. Guidelines and briefs should be structured and clear enough that the writer knows exactly what  goal you want to achieve  with the content, but flexible enough to allow localization of content where necessary.
  • Hiring the right writers: Ideally you want to be working with translation solution experts like Taia  or native writers, who have experience in creating affiliate content. Regardless of language, the principles of a good review or product roundup are the same.
  • Having a proofreader who you trust: Your proofreader carries greater responsibility when you do not understand the content that you are publishing. They are responsible for ensuring that the content you publish is both true to your original draft and translates well to your audience. They must be fluent in both the original language and your audience’s language and should have extensive editorial experience. 

Given their amount of responsibility, you may want to offer them equity in your site to ensure that their motivation aligns with yours.

Ensuring that search intent is not lost in translation

Although content creation will be your biggest challenge when building an affiliate site in a non-native language, keyword research is also significantly more difficult.

In particular, making sure that keywords have the same search intent across languages is something that affiliate marketers can get tripped up on. Simply translating keywords from English to the language that you are targeting will not be enough here. The intricacies between languages means that an affiliate keyword in one language is not an affiliate keyword in another language.

The upshot of this is that affiliate marketers need to take their time with keyword research when working in a language that they do not understand. 

It’s especially important to check what is currently ranking in the top 10 of the Google results page and to make sure that these are either product reviews or roundups. It should be easy to identify whether this is the case based on the structure of the article alone, so you can do this type of research in a language that you are not fluent in.

Woman frustrated over outdated translation process

Appreciating the attention to detail in proper localization

Affiliate marketers should bear in mind that much of the content that still dominates non-English search engine results pages are directly translated from English. Often this is done at such a large scale that the translations can lack attention to detail.

Although affiliate marketers can view this as an opportunity to rank with poorly translated content, a wiser move would be to put that extra bit of resource into creating well translated and localized content to put some real daylight between themselves and the competition. Competition is so rife in English speaking markets that rankings are always of fine margins. 

With some non-English speaking markets, however, putting just a little more time and money into getting well written native content can futureproof your rankings for years to come.

A little extra work brings a world of opportunities to affiliates

There is no denying that getting started with creating an affiliate site in a language that you are not fluent in is more work than creating one in your native language. 

However, once you have the infrastructure in place provided by reliable platforms like Taia to create high quality translated content you can reap the benefits of competing in underserved markets and ranking for the top keywords in your industry far quicker than you would if your content were in English.

Opportunities for affiliate marketers

This article was written by John Wright. John is the Co-Founder and CEO of affiliate marketing software Statsdrone.

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