Forbes Global 2000

International Digital Marketing Strategies

Full List  2000


Executor IDM Spot Expert Team

Have Country & Language Selection17%

Have Country Specific Websites42%

Have Multilingual Versions48%

Why Forbes Global List?

The Forbes Global 2000 list is an annual ranking of the largest and most valuable companies in the world by Forbes magazine. Criteria for the ranking includes: sales, profit, assets, and market value.

Do the top public companies in the world use international digital marketing strategies and how they apply them in practice?

Do these companies adapt their websites to local languages in the largest market modify their include localy, according to the country specifics and cultural differences?

In our research, we used global (or international) website versions which are mainly with .com addresses. In case no international website version was available, we reviewed the company’s native website version such as with .de for a German company or with .it for an Italian company.

Conductiong this research, we found:

How often the biggest international companies offer the language selection on their websites

How often these companies offer the country specific versions of their websites

What are the most common URLformats

How companies structure and present the selection of languages and country versions on their websites

Do they use global gateways on their international website versions and how often

What are the most popular countries among localized websites

What are the most popular localization mistakes

How popular solcial media accounts localization is

What are the best practices in website localization

Do they use a language negotiation on their main webistes and how often

What is a partial localization and how popular it is

Some of our metrics

Global Gateway

Initial page used to select country specific website version. Generally, such page contains all available countries for selection. Usually, URL of this page has .com address, what indicates international version and does not include any country codes.

Language Trigger Type

Graphics or a text link which triggers (opens) available language selection.

Country URL Format

Identification method of website’s direction towards specific country -an option for majority of localized websites

Social Media Account Localization

Presence of links to social media accounts on the main (or localized ) web pages.

All Metrics

Digital Globalization

  1. Company Type (according to Business Transactions)
  2. Design Score
  3. Global Consistency ( Brand Consistency )
  4. Global Gateway ( Global Entry)
  5. Language Negotiation
  6. Countries Names
  7. Languages Names
  8. Language Trigger Type
  9. Language Selection Type
  10. Language / Trigger / Selection Position
  1. Number of Languages (lingual site versions)
  2. Country Trigger Type
  3. Country Selection Type
  4. Country Trigger / Selection Position
  5. Number of Countries ( country - specified websites )
  6. Mistake
  7. Social Accounts Localization
  8. Account in Local Social Network
  9. Country URL Format
  10. Language URL Format


  1. On Page SEO Metrics (13 metrics)
  2. Domain Authority (2 metrics)
  3. Mobile Readiness / Speed (4 metrics)
  1. Website Traffic (10 metrics)
  2. Hreflang (1 metric)
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After reviewing websites of the first 1000 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 list and gathering and analyzing data, we came up with the best localization & internationalization digital marketing strategies.

Based on the obtained data we prepared following articles and presentations.

Country Selection On The Websites

Providing a country selection is one of the main aspects of a global digital marketing strategy for companies, that have an international network and are oriented to an international business.

Popularity of Languages for the Lingual Site Versions

Only 48% of the first 1000 companies from Forbes Global 2000 list propose to select the language on their main website.

Top Countries and Languages for Online Expansion Used by Forbes Global 1000

In an analysis of which countries top 1000 companies offered localized websites for, there were some clear frontrunners. Companies choose to offer localized websites for mostly Chinese customers, and followed closely by British, Japanese,German and American customers.

Social Media Accounts Localization

We reviewed how world's biggest companies by Forbes magazine are doing their social media localization. Considering that only 420 from 1000 companies of the Forbes Global 2000 have multiregional websites, only their social media accounts were used for this report. We have taken into consideration only direct links to social media accounts provided on companies' websites, avoiding doubts in their officiality.

Language Selection Type

Among the first 1000 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 list 48% of websites are multilingual, i.e. they have a language selection.

Common Website Localization Mistakes Made by World’s Biggest Companies

We found, that most common mistakes that the world’s biggest companies are made localizing their websites, most are related to the website translation, country selection, URL formats and href lang attributes.

Global Gateways

Global Gateway is a guide, that takes visitors straight to their preferred country’s website. It is important to have a user-friendly, clear and accessible global gateway that will make a user or visitor’s journey pleasant.

Localization Identification in the URL Format

Choosing a SEO-friendly URL structure for the international website is one of the first keysteps for companies who operate globally.

Website Localization Best Practices

We highlighted some of the best website localization practices to follow:
Website Translation

Marketing content should be produced in the languages of target audience.

URL Format

Use properly formatted URL to indicate language or country with appropriate codes according to ISO standardization.

Language & Country Selection

Use a globe icon to show where the language or country selection’s trigger is.

Use translated versions of language/country names to put inside the selection.

Brand Consistency

Follow a main global design template for the best brand consistency. Your website’s version shouldn’t be drastically different.

Download FREE E-book With the Best Practices and Tips for Multilingual and Multiregional Website

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Some Stats From Websites of “Forbes Global 2000”* Companies


Websites have a high design score


Companies have localized social media accounts

In 38%

for the translated website version is used Chinese, 2nd most popular language after English


Websites look outdated and not user-friendly


Websites have >10 languages for its multilingual versions


Websites have >10 languages for its multilingual versions

* first 1000 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 list

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