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Greenlight Study Analyzes Multilingual Searches, Distrust For Facebook Ads

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Some 76% of people search in two or more languages, according to a study released this week from digital marketing agency Greenlight. The data, which breaks down into occupation and country, provides insight that should be considered when designing paid-search campaigns or Web sites to appeal to a specific audience. This is also true when linking to content on Facebook, Google+ or other social sites.

Spain topped the chart with 100% of respondents claiming to search in multiple languages, along with Italy and Belgium. Portugal, France, the Netherlands and Germany were followed by Canada, with the United Kingdom and the United States far behind.

The study reveals that if English is used in Spain to search, a .com or .co.uk domain will not support the searches as well as a subsection of a Spanish domain written in English. Search engines will use the domain extension to help them determine the geographical relevance of a site, but a .com or a .co.uk domain might rank well in the United States or the United Kingdom, respectively, and it will count against the site when people search for it in another country, according to the study. 

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The study also analyzes the data to determine whether occupation influences searches in multiple languages. Marketing and communications, along with computer and IT services, top the list of experts most likely to search in more than one language. Students, construction and maintenance, police, financial services, general management and sales follow.

The report -- titled Search & Social Survey (2011-2012) compiled by TBG Digital in Q2 2011 -- surveyed 500 people and examined 200 billion impressions across hundreds of advertisers in 21 markets.

It also surveyed respondents on their willingness to click on Facebook ads. Some 44% of people said they would never click on Facebook sponsored ads, which follows the sentiment shared by students at the MediaPost Search Insider Summit in April. The study's findings suggests that 30% of people 'strongly distrust' Facebook with their personal data. Meanwhile, half of the 500 people surveyed admit to using and searching on Facebook for social engagement, sharing photos, and catching up with friends and family.

Greenlight points to Sponsored Story as Facebook's most effective ad format. The format delivers, on average, a 32% decrease in cost per acquisitions and an increase in click-through rates. When running both the traditional ad format with a Sponsored Story ad, the digital marketing agency tends to see a 30% rise in conversion rates in retail. 

What about mobile search and social? Facebook might have attracted the most attention in recent days with its multibillion-dollar initial public offering (IPO), but Google still ranks No. 1 in terms of the mobile destination. In the United Kingdom, at least 45% of Internet users participating in the survey said they access the mobile Internet.

Google's research shows that more than half the population in Australia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) use smartphones. This compares with more than 40% of the population in United States, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.

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