International Pay Per Click: Dos, don'ts and what you need to keep in mind
29 March 2016
Posted by: Jo Botting
Thinking of expanding your online marketing to an international level? If so, it’s highly recommended that you try international SEO which, although tough to get your head around at first, can yield exceptional results.
Another option is international PPC.
Running PPC campaigns in foreign markets is similar to running them in the UK: you still need to bear in mind factors such as changing CPCs, average positions, quality scores, and sending customers to relevant web pages. However, there are some key points that you need to be mindful of in order for your campaigns to be successful.
International PPC Don’ts:
Relying on Google Translate
When asking for directions to the train station in a foreign country, Google translate can be a life saver. However, literal translations are absolutely not sufficient for running PPC campaigns or translating websites - especially if you’d like to avoid losing money to clicks linked to unrelated keywords.
The best possible solution to this issue would be to get a translator, ideally one with experience in your particular industry, to translate your website for you. Next, get them to translate lists of keywords, including negative keywords, and use these to set up the campaigns. Then, in an ideal world, your campaigns would be run by an employee who speaks said language fluently.
Another option is to hire a translation agency to translate your keywords and the copy on your website, before asking them to write your ads for you. You could then consult with them every few months with lists of potential new keywords and negative keywords to add to your campaigns.
Having an English Only website
Say you’re are looking for something online, and you find a promising ad that seems appropriate to your search. However, once you click on it, you find yourself on a website that you don’t understand.
Don’t alienate your international customers. If you want to advertise to the German market, you need a website that’s written entirely in German, with a German phone number and a German address.
It’s not enough to simply drive traffic to your site. Once people land on your pages, you then have to encourage them to trust you enough that they convert into loyal customers. This will never happen if they can’t understand you.
Consider Your Market
If you want to sell your products abroad, you need to understand your target market.
It’s not enough to simply say “I want to sell my products in Italy, where they speak Italian”. You need to put some effort into researching online behaviours in this country.
Major points to consider include:
What Search Engine are they using?
In Russia, Yandex dominates the search market rather than Google. In China, the market leader is Baidu. Due to the lingering effects of the Cold War, certain Eastern European countries use both Yandex and Google.
In countries such as the US, you may find that the paid advertising market is saturated – the competition is too strong and the prices are too high. However, if there are enough users, Bing could be still be a valid option.
This information will help you to identify how costly and effective your international PPC campaigns could be. Your research will determine which platforms you need to prioritise and familiarise yourself with.
Are Various Languages Spoken in this Country?
To get the best results, you’ll need to create a separate campaign for every dialect or language that’s spoken in your target country. For some B2B businesses, business transactions may take place in English – again, you’ll need to look into this. This would mean creating a campaign for the country's native tongue, and a separate campaign for English speakers in that country.
Identify Your Target Audience
Ascertain whether or not your target audience matches the digital population of that country. For instance, if the age range of your target market is 50+, but the online population of that country is composed mainly of 18-24 year olds, you’re not likely to have much success with international PPC.
There are many cultural factors to consider if you want to appeal to your target market.
For example, if you wanted to sell products in China, avoid wrapping products in yellow with black writing. These colours are reserved for gifts for the dead. But if you were to wrap a product in red, this would go down very well, as gifts wrapped in red are a Chinese symbol of good luck.
If you understand these cultural factors, you can write ads that resonate with your target audience, and provide the sort of services that’ll delight them. But if you get it wrong, you risk alienating, or even insulting, your international customers.
If you were to advertise to a market dominated by mobile searches, sending your leads to an unresponsive site would immediately lose you the sale. Yet in some markets, mobile purchases are still not commonplace.
With a bit of research you can develop a bid adjustment strategy for your campaigns that’s based entirely on the user behaviour of your target markets.
Know Your Enemy
Take some time to familiarise yourself with your international competitors, and the things they’re doing to cater to the needs of their customers. Once you understand this, you’ll know what you need to do to compete with them.
You may discover that the online market for your industry has been saturated, resulting in the sort of high PPCs that will make it very hard for you to compete. Or you may discover that very few companies are using PPC advertising in that country, which will give you a considerable advantage.
Wordstream wrote a useful article that details the average CPC by country, and the regions which have the highest costs per click. Though this article can act as a solid guideline for your initial research, it would be unwise to take this information literally. Factors such as industry and market saturation will affect the data.
Tips & Tricks for Organising Your International PPC Campaigns
If you want to keep track of your ROI for PPC campaigns targeting multiple locations and languages, you need to be meticulously organised.
Country Specific Accounts
This makes it easier to track the impact of your campaigns in that specific country and makes settings much easier to change. For instance, you may have an account targeting Canada that has separate campaigns in French and English. Both campaigns would require differing language and geographic settings.
Language Specific Campaigns
In order to remain organised, separate campaigns for different languages is essential, as it makes it easier to add keywords and ads in that specific language. If you are considering setting up campaigns for certain Eastern European or Asian countries, it may interest you to know that AdWords does allow for extra characters in the titles and description of ads. Find out more here.
Consistency is key: you want a German campaign targeting the German language in Germany that uses German keywords to trigger German ads that lead to a German website.
And no matter what region you’re targeting, you may want to add a test campaign targeting English keywords within that country. This will allow you to reach English people living abroad. This will depend entirely on the nature of your business and what you are trying to achieve with online advertising. But for some businesses, this could be a very lucrative option.
Don't Forget About Time Zones & Different Currencies
You’ll need to keep time zones in mind for setting ad schedules and bid adjustments. Depending on how organised you want to be, if you’re aiming on targeting a country with multiple time zones, you could create campaigns for each time zone.
Article provided by Hallam Internet