Introducing the Visualizer
If you've ever built a geni.us link with our service, then you may have wondered how well it was working at some point. As a service focused on link localization, we often get asked how effective our translation algorithm is, and how our users can test their links.
While our ISO2 testing codes are useful for quickly checking how a link will appear in a specific country or two, it's not really convenient enough to give you an overall view of how your link is translating across the whole planet!
We've spent a lot of time working on it, and have a lot of confidence in our automatic translation algorithm - but nothing’s ever quite perfect, and we know that our algorithm isn't always able to automatically find a matching product in an international storefront. While we’ll always continue to improve our translation algorithm, it’s our goal to empower you today with the tools you need to become the best marketer that you can!
A big part of that is letting you know exactly where your link is going, so to solve that issue we've built a new feature we're calling the Visualizer.
How to Use The Visualizer
You can find the Visualizer on the Link creator page whenever you create or edit a geni.us link. After you've pasted in an Amazon product link into the Link Creator, the Visualizer will display automatically.
The Visualizer will display a Perfect Match, Near Match, Search, or No Local Match result for each storefront in the world. This will tell you whether or not your link is properly translating, and should help give you an idea of which countries you'll need to manually tweak to get your audience to the right product!
Additionally, we'll be able to tell you whether the product is getting affiliated in each country, based on the Tracking ID's you have added to your account. Right now, the Globalization Visualizer only works for Amazon product links, however we'd love to add iTunes integration, so please let us know if that is of value to you!
Below is an example of a product that translates perfectly across the whole planet (and maybe even Mars):
While certain products like eBooks localize quite easily, other physical products often don't exist, or have poor metadata that results in weak translation results. When this happens, you may see results similar to below:
So How Does This Help?
By letting our users see the automatic translation results, we hope to improve transparency and give you all the ability to truly control how your links work!
To simplify things a little, we have 4 categories of translation results within the Visualizer which are a fusion of the usual translation steps our algorithm takes.
Perfect Match (+ Exact Match)
If the user is coming from another country, we then check to see if the product ID (ASIN or ADAM ID) is the same across storefronts. If the product ID matches in the destination storefront, we simply "localize" the link and send the user to that exact product within their own local storefront.
In many cases, however, the unique product ID does not match across countries. When this occurs, we then search within the Amazon or iTunes APIs to access the metadata for that product (title, brand, manufacturer, etc). We then compare this metadata from the original product to the metadata of products in the destination storefront. If it matches perfectly, we send the user on to that product in their local storefront.
When you get a "Perfect Match" within the Globalization Visualizer, you shouldn't have to worry at all about tweaking the URL. This is the best result!
Near Match (+ Decay)
Sometimes, neither the product ID nor the metadata match, which is where we have to get creative. To address this, we work through the meta data to identify the most important information and strip out the remaining.
For some product types, such as music, books, apps, TV, movies and other "media", an additional step is done. During this step our algorithm will attempt to locate the same content but in a different medium. For example, if a streaming movie wasn't available but the DVD version was this result would be chosen.
Further, if we can't find that product in a related medium, we'll "decay" up a level. This means that a link for a track may decay to a link for an album (if the track couldn't be found) or to an artist page (if the album couldn't be found). For a book that couldn't be found in a local storefront the author page be returned, etc.
When you get a "Near Match" within the Globalization Visualizer, you probably won't need to change anything either, but it's still worth checking.
If we are unable to match on anything above, we do a variety of searches within the destination storefront using metadata from the original link to find the best combination. If there are meaningful results, we send the user those search results within their local storefront.
If the search results you get aren't what you expected, then you can switch to an Advanced Link and build a rule for the country. By searching in that storefront manually, you may find a better result that you can insert into a country rule and override this automatic Search result.
No Local Match (Return)
If no results are returned within the search, however, we simply send the user back to the original link to ensure we never degrade the user experience with an empty search results page.
This is the "worst" result. If this is a storefront you care about having a match for you'll likely want to build an advanced rule for these countries, and manually add a product link. This will substitute the automatic result.
NOTE: Currently, the only way to override these automatic results is to switch the link over to Advanced Link (by clicking on the drop-down in the Link Editor) this will allow you to add "rules" for the countries that don't have good translation results. In the future, we plan to give our users the power to insert new URLs or Search parameters directly into the Visualizer to quickly improve upon the automatic results.
We have plans to constantly improve upon our existing automatic translation algorithm, but we expect that the Visualizer will still play a key role in ensuring that your links always reach the desired destination around the world. Our plans for the future of this tool include
Support for iTunes links
Allow direct editing of link destinations within the Globalization Visualizer results
Your suggestions here!
See an issue? – The Visualizer is currently in Beta, so please pardon any small bugs you might notice during this time. However, your feedback is still incredibly important!
We're always open to suggestions and encourage everyone to give us their feedback on this new addition to Genius Link. Let us know what you think could be added or improved upon to make this an even more powerful tool!