What would you do if your content reached hundreds of millions of people around the globe every month? How would you feel if your message was being seen and heard by people in every corner of the world? What if they could understand you in their own language?
For most brands, these are pipe-dream scenarios, but for Jimmy Donaldson—better known as “MrBeast”—that’s just another month at work. The world-famous YouTuber has amassed a following of over 100M subscribers by producing videos with a strategic focus on local content.
Who’s MrBeast and what does he do? How did he manage to become one of the most popular YouTubers worldwide? Let’s get to know him better and specifically look into how brands can emulate MrBeast’s approach to localization to expand the global footprint of their business.
If you’re not familiar with MrBeast, here’s a quick rundown: The young YouTuber’s name from the US is Jimmy Donaldson. Born in 1998, MrBeast began creating content on YouTube in 2012, with the intention of simply making videos that he thought were funny.
While his early content was admittedly not the most polished, his unique sense of humor and willingness to try just about anything (like reading every word in the dictionary) quickly won him a loyal following.
In 2019, MrBeast won the Breakout Creator award by Streamy Awards, and this achievement was followed by the YouTuber of the Year award at the 12th Annual Shorty Awards in 2020.
What does MrBeast do?
In 2017, MrBeast’s account blew up after he released a video called “Counting to 100,000.” The 55-hour-long livestream raised over $100K for various charities and propelled him to internet stardom. In the years since MrBeast has become known for his expensive stunts and challenges. He’s given away tens of thousands of dollars to strangers, raised millions of dollars for charity, and started a project to plant 20 million trees.
While MrBeast’s videos may seem like they’re all in good fun, there’s a serious business strategy behind them. You see, Jimmy understands that YouTube is a global platform with users from all corners of the world. And while his early videos were popular with English-speaking audiences, he realized that if he wanted to take his channels to the next level, he would need to start producing content that was localized for international audiences.
Cast the widest net, catch the most fish
In 2021, it was estimated that MrBeast was the top-earning YouTuber worldwide with earnings of approximately 54 million U.S. dollars. A large part of his success can be attributed to his global expansion strategy, which relies heavily on localization.
For MrBeast, success takes the form of increased video views. He reports that the English channel views amounted to more than 122M in the first half of 2022, and the localized channel views added up to more than 160M in the same period. In March alone, the combined total number of views for all his channels was above 283K.
Those 160M views from international audiences are especially significant because they come from non-English speaking countries, which MrBeast has been targeting with his localization efforts.
So, what exactly is localization? Localization is the process of tailoring content to the expectations, habits, and needs of a specific market. This can involve anything from translating text into different languages to using culturally-relevant references and humor.
Localization doesn’t simply mean translating the words in your videos—it’s about understanding the nuances of different cultures and how to appeal to them. And it’s a strategy that has paid off big time for MrBeast.
MrBeast’s localization effort
MrBeast approached localization through dubbing. He created separate channels for Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and French content, and hired native speakers to provide voice-overs for his videos.
Here’s a list of MrBeast’s English-speaking channels on YouTube:
And these are MrBeast’s international YouTube channels:
- MrBeast en español (Spanish)
- Beast Reacts en español (Spanish)
- MrBeast На Русском (Russian)
- MrBeast Brasil (Brazilian Portuguese)
- MrBeast Gaming en español (Spanish)
- MrBeast en Français (French)
- MrBeast Gaming Brasil (Brazilian Portuguese)
By completely replacing the original speaker’s voice with that of a native speaker and taking great care of aspects such as lip synchronization, intonation, and the interpretation of different emotions, MrBeast was able to produce videos that felt natural and authentic to local audiences in different countries.
What can brands learn about global business from MrBeast?
MrBeast’s success story shows us that localization is a powerful tool for expanding the reach to foreign markets and driving global revenue. His empire has exponentially grown thanks to his ability to connect with international audiences on a local level.
When you create content that is relevant and relatable to your target audience, you build an emotional connection with them that goes beyond language barriers. You create a bond that can lead to lifelong customers and fans. The great thing about localization is that you don’t need to start from scratch in every market—you can adapt your existing content to fit the needs of different cultures.
How to localize content for international audiences
Now that we’ve seen the incredible potential of localization, let’s take a look at how you can start incorporating it into your global content strategy.
1. Establish clear goals
The first step is to establish what you want to achieve with your localized content. Do you want to increase brand awareness in new markets? Drive traffic to your website or online store? Or boost sales in a specific country?
MrBeast’s goals, for example, include increased exposure and video views.
2. Identify your target audience
Once you know what your goals are, you need to identify your target audience. Are you targeting a specific country or region? What age groups are you targeting? Are they primarily male or female? What language do they speak?
In the case of MrBeast, the primary target audience is likely under-25-years-olds who speak either English, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, or French.
3. Research your target audience
It’s time to start uncovering what makes your target market tick. What type of content do they consume? How do they like to consume it (e.g., text, video, audio)? What do they care about? What drives their purchasing decisions?
MrBeast’s research likely told him that his target audience enjoys watching extravagant videos, often involving challenges and dares, and philanthropic content.
4. Set up the right processes, tools, and partners
Now that you know your goals and target audience, you need to set up the process and tools to make localization happen. This includes things like choosing the right localization and technology partners, setting up workflows, and establishing quality standards.
MrBeast, for example, enlisted the services of Unilingo TV for most dubbing, subtitling, and closed captioning services for his international channels.
5. Create localized content
Now that you know what type of content your target audience wants, it’s time to start creating it. If you already have existing content, see if there’s a way to adapt it for your target market. If not, start from scratch.
MrBeast carefully selected the videos he thought would perform well in each market and had them dubbed accordingly.
6. Avoid common localization pitfalls
There are quite a few common localization mistakes that brands make when adapting content for local markets. Some of the most common ones include skipping market research, not using the right tools, not relying on professionals to localize the content, not being sensitive to cultural differences, and underestimating quality control.
A quick peek into the comment section of any of MrBeast’s international videos shows that he’s avoided these pitfalls. The comments are filled with people from all over the world praising him for the outstanding quality of his localized content.
7. Measure your results
Last but not least, you need to measure the results of your localization efforts. This includes things like video views, website traffic, engagement rates, conversion rates, and sales.
MrBeast regularly shares LinkedIn updates about his international video views and how his localized content is driving significant global growth for his channel.
Befriend localization to win the global market
Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, if you want to succeed in the global marketplace, you need to start thinking local. Localization will help you build trust and connect with foreign audiences on a deeper level, both of which are essential for driving revenue and achieving long-term success. If you aren’t convinced yet—just ask MrBeast!
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