How Does Language Influence Likes On Facebook?

How do you like this: Some languages might be more conducive to Facebook likes than others. Cultural factors are a much larger determinant, however.

So says online translation portal Bab.la , which has tallied up the use of the famed Facebook like button in different languages.

Now, let’s qualify the data: These statistics show how often speakers of different lanugages like Bab.la’s online dictionary content, not Facebook overall.

Also, the statistics show which languages people are most interested in translating (in either direction).

Since more people want translations to or from English, that content has the most likes, a cool 1,000. The next largest, Portuguese, has close to 900. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Japanese and Dutch have fewer than 50 likes.

So do speakers of some languages show a greater likelihood to click the thumbs up? Nope.

Bab.la has an explanation that might depress some marketers:

The more Facebook is used in a country, the harder it is to get the users to click on Facebook Like button. Smaller communities, on the other hand, do it significantly more spontaneously. We see three possible explanations:

1. The usage of the like button is different across countries and languages.
2. Early adopters are more likely to click on like, the late majority more hesitant.
3. As Russia, Japan and Brazil have strong national social networks, people with an interest in foreign countries and languages are more likely to use Facebook as their international social network. And those people are more likely to like a language portal.

This begs for further study of likes, ideally spanning a much wider range of content than translation materials.

Also, the theory that the early adopters click the most needs some clarification: Are the heaviest users of the like buttons actually the people who joined Facebook when the site was limited to only college students? If so, that would contradict recent chatter about young people supposedly tiring of social media.

Readers, what do you think about Bab.la’s conclusion here?

Source: Bab.la, based on likes of online translation content.

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