If you want to grow your brand internationally, global PPC is a great place to start. By applying best practice for paid search at the local level and being mindful of in-market trends, you can be sure to get it right.

You’ve done your research and decided which markets to target. You also want results.

International PPC is a great way to drive local engagement with your brand, quickly gather data to inform your digital strategy, and make the case for further expansion across locales and tactics.

Here’s what to consider in building out successful international PPC campaigns.

1. LOCAL KEYWORD RESEARCH

Keyword translation is not an effective strategy. More likely than not, translating your US domestic keyword list won’t deliver results in-market. Translation alone doesn’t take local search volume and user intent into account. This means you’re likely to miss out on valuable keywords and waste your budget.

International keyword research is the best way to identify the most relevant keywords for your global PPC campaign. Although 90% of the global search market belongs to Google, Baidu dominates China with 70.3% of the market, and Yandex controls 54.3% in Russia. Plus, marketplaces like Amazon are gaining market share, particularly for product searches.

To get results, it’s best to run PPC campaigns on the search engines your customers use, so be sure to research in-country platform trends. And keep in mind your keyword research should be carried out in-country using the tools available for the market-leading search engine.

2. LOCALLY INFORMED AD COPY

Similarly, straight translation won’t create ad copy that drives conversions. From a purely technical perspective, character-length restrictions are limiting for a straight translation process. “Buy now,” for example, is seven characters in English, but it’s eighteen in French (“achetez maintenant”). You’ll need creativity to work around those space limitations, and your ad copy localization process should be informed by your local keyword research.

That’s why you need in-country expertise and careful management of your international campaign strategy. Think beyond translation, and create target-language ads that drive conversion based on local search trends.

Since PPC ads tend to be repetitive, a Translation Memory (TM) strategy could help maintain consistency of ad copy across product lines, as well as across digital tactics, while keeping costs down.

3. LOCALIZED LANDING PAGES

As an English speaker, imagine clicking on an ad and ending up on a French landing page. You wouldn’t spend long on the site. You wouldn’t be alone, either. 69% of international consumers are more likely to engage with content in their own language.

For maximum success in your global PPC campaign, you should localize your landing pages for every market. However, if budget is tight and time is short, consider the level of English proficiency in your target markets.

In Japan, for example, where English proficiency is just 52% and 87% of Japanese consumers are more likely to buy in their own language, localization into Japanese is essential. Sweden, on the other hand, has the highest English level in the world at 71% and may be more likely to engage with English.

Launching PPC in English first can be a great way to test the market opportunity in countries where you already have international traffic. This allows you to make the case for localization down the line. Keep in mind, though, that English search terms will vary from market to market as well, so a locally targeted PPC build is still relevant, even if you’re going with English in the short term.

Whatever you decide, make sure your landing pages, ad copy, and keywords are in the same language. Failing on that will impact PPC performance and deliver a poor user experience, which can harm your brand.

Work with your digital partner to decide on the best language strategy for you. And, wherever possible, don’t limit your localization to a single landing page. You want visitors to travel further into your website. If budget is tight, be selective about the content you localize. Relevance and quality – not quantity – is far more engaging.

ECOMMERCE LANDING PAGE CONSIDERATIONS

If your PPC campaign is geared toward driving eCommerce sales, keep in mind that 92% of global consumers prefer sites with pricing in their local currency. And 33% will abandon a purchase if the only price available is in US dollars.

For eCommerce brands, this arguably makes currency the only factor more important than language. For your global PPC campaign – and your international website in general – you need to localize your prices. And to maximize sales, be sure to offer the most relevant payment options for each market. Credit card payment is not necessarily the most popular method in all countries, with several (like Japan, Germany, and France) expecting cash payment options.

FINAL THOUGHT

International PPC can be a great way to kickstart and inform your international expansion. Depending on the market, upfront costs are relatively low, and you can gain direct access to valuable insight about your international audience. But it doesn’t pay to cut corners. Treat each new market with the same care – not simply as an extension of your English campaigns, even if you’re targeting different markets in English. Proper localization (both content and currency), combined with keyword research, will help you launch a successful global PPC campaign.