Tips on how to create an effective international PPC campaign.

As digital marketers, we all know the great power of Paid search advertising. We get to choose who to reach, when, and how. We have control over the messaging and the image portrayed by the brand itself.

It may seem like hard work to define the whole digital marketing strategy, the PPC structure and targeting settings of an account, but in fact, it is actually easy because we know the audience we are targeting.

When it comes to advertising globally, just like offline marketers or sales people, digital marketers need to adapt to each country, their culture, and their values.

I have a traditional marketing background, so this is not very new to me. I have always found it always very interesting just to analyse the differences in target markets around the world.

One of my clients who sells French language courses recently asked me to create a campaign targeting Chinese students in Sydney. That’s what got me thinking: how do advertisers tweak their accounts to make them global and, of course, effective?

I came across this article, and when reading it, I felt there was a lot to think about when creating an international campaign.

 

But of course, just like a local campaign, there are do’s and don’ts. I’ve put together a few of my top tips on how to effectively create an international PPC campaign.

 

  • Targeting is key! (as always!)

A lot of factors can influence the impact of your campaign in a foreign country. If you don’t do research on your audience, you’ll go bankrupt! Here’s a checklist of what you should look at when setting up your targeting options:

– Languages spoken,

– Age of the online users,

– User behaviour,

– Competitors,

– Cultural habits.

You got it: a study of the market is highly recommended! Have a look at your Google Analytics account to see where the visitors come from and what languages they speak. Note that, for example, Russian users can speak AND search in English. Yes, it can get tricky.

 

  • Google Trends

The good thing about Google Trends, is that you can visualise user behaviour over time. In the example below, you can see that more users were searching for information about gay marriage right after the American government made it legal.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.29.12 pm

You can look for any topic in a given country of your choice over the period of your choice. Although I find that sometimes it is not 100% accurate, it is always a good indicator of users’ interests year round.

 

  • Choose your keywords carefully

It almost goes without saying that keywords are the core of the future performance of your campaign. Jump on Analytics or other analytics tools to analyse the search queries of the international users. You might be surprised at how different the phrases they use to look for a product or service can be compared to Australia.

Also, be careful if you are using a translation software to translate those keywords into the language of the country you are targeting: it is a well-known fact that those tools usually give a literal translation that can result in… absolute nonsense, and we’re pretty sure you want to avoid that! You should therefore invest in an accredited translation service company for the best results.

Bonus points if you have foreign people in house, so make the most of it and see how they can contribute to the building of your campaign, even if it’s just proofreading it.

 

  • Think beyond Google

Of course Google has an international reach, but in some countries, this is not the biggest search engine in terms of market share. For example, if you want to advertise in China, you should definitely think about SEM on AdChina, or  Naver in Korea. The advantage of advertising on those search engines, is that they usually offer a better ROI as they are cheaper than Google.

 

Thinking of creating an international campaign? I would love to hear about your best practices! Let us know your top tips in the comments below.

 

 

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