Intercom rapidly pushes into new markets with Google translation services

How the company expanded successfully in non-English speaking markets

Goals

  • Rapidly expand into untapped non-English speaking markets
  • Quickly assess the demand for Intercom’s products abroad with a view to quick expansion

Approach

  • Used a Google-approved translation service for efficient website translation and localization services
  • Google-approved translation services localized ads and landing pages into five new languages to test demand

Results

  • Paid traffic increased by 25%, with new localized traffic converting at a similar rate to Intercom’s English campaigns
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA) averaged 20% cheaper in foreign markets than their English-language benchmarks
  • Intercom quickly moved into new markets that were converting at their usual standards, but at a cheaper rate
  • Grew from USD $1 million dollars in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) to $50 million in the last three years

Silicon Valley-based messaging software company Intercom has been successfully transforming the way businesses communicate with their customers since its inception in 2011. With a 4x revenue growth in 2015, Intercom decided to start pushing into new non-English speaking markets. The company used Google-approved translation services to efficiently assess the demand for its products in new markets abroad. Today Intercom has more than 20,000 paying customers and a reach of over a billion end-users.

Intercom was already a huge success in its local markets when it decided on a rapid expansion into non-English speaking markets. The company wanted to quickly assess the demand for its online messaging software of apps, websites, email and social media abroad. Intercom was already working with a dedicated Google Account Manager to optimize its paid advertising. So using a Google-approved translation service1 seemed a natural next step.

Tom Newton, Marketing Manager of Intercom, says: “The hope was that we’d get access to high-quality translations that we wouldn’t have found as quickly otherwise. Working with Google translation services saved us the time we would have spent searching for different agencies and testing their quality.”

Intercom asked Google to organize strong website translation and localization services so that it could push into foreign markets quickly without having to source and test different suppliers.

The company also wanted to check if traffic converted at similar levels to its English-speaking channels, and to compare cost per acquisition (CPA) across these potential new markets.

Google translation and localization services helped efficiently localize Intercom’s ads and landing pages into five new languages in order to test demand for the company’s products.

The results were dramatic. Overall paid traffic increased by 25%, and the new localized traffic converted at a similar rate to the company’s English-language campaigns. Even better, the unexpected benefit was a CPA that averaged 20% cheaper than its English-language benchmarks.

Using Google’s localization services meant Intercom was able to move efficiently into new markets that were converting to its usual standards, but at a cheaper rate.

Reflecting on the Google-approved translation service, Tom says: “The most surprising thing was that out of the gate the quality was very high. I had internal language speakers at Intercom review the output and they had very minor edits or none, which is rare.”

Going forward, Intercom aims to identify new areas of the site to localize into its existing foreign-language campaigns, and is already starting to research which regions to expand to next.

“We were pleasantly surprised when we got the results ... we were able to get localized content live very quickly.” Tom Newton, Marketing Manager, Intercom


  1. This service has limited eligibility, for more information please get in touch with your dedicated sales representative.