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taking your brand global: the foundations of international ppc

Pay-per-click (PPC) is one of the cornerstones of digital marketing. Helping your brand reach the right customer at the right time; PPC is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools in your marketing strategy. But what about taking your PPC international?  

If your brand already has a global presence, you’re probably wondering how you can use PPC to build on this. While it can be tempting to simply copy and paste your existing PPC strategy, this is one surefire way to see your campaigns flop. Creating an international PPC campaign requires an understanding of different markets, cultures and their individual needs.  

In this article, we discuss the merits of taking your PPC global and some key considerations before you begin your international campaigns.  

the benefits of international PPC  

Running a successful international PPC campaign has a plethora of benefits for your brand and when used in conjunction with other digital tactics, can help propel your brand globally. Some of PPC’s greatest benefits include: 

  • speed: When done effectively, paid media reaps the rewards when it comes to speed compared to other digital marketing tactics. While SEO is incredibly important for the long-term success of your site, it’s not known for quick wins. Once your strategy is in place, PPC campaigns can be launched and it’s quickly clear what’s working and what’s not, making them highly flexible.  

  • you’re in control: With PPC campaigns, you’re firmly in the driver's seat. In full control, you dictate budgets, create ad copy, target specific products, audiences and keywords.  

  • it's all in the data: Your campaigns are in your hands and so is the data. With this insight, you can quickly see if your campaigns are delivering what you need to make going international work. Running multiple ads helps you to see what’s working and what’s missing the mark. This way, you can track the progress of each campaign and adjust your plan accordingly.  

the building blocks of taking your PPC international  

While there’s no magic formula or a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to creating successful international PPC campaigns, there are a number of things to consider that will only help, not hinder, your efforts.  

1) specify which countries you want to target 

It’s not enough to simply declare you want to take your advertising global. You need to understand which countries, or regions within them, you want to target. Homing in on which areas you want to focus on can feel tricky, especially when your brand has ambitious growth plans. But by failing to focus on key locations and using a ‘catch-all’ approach, you’ll likely miss the spot for most, if not all, of your targeted audience.  

Selecting which countries to start your international PPC in can be done through a few tactics: 

  • competitor analysis: Where are your competitors currently focusing their marketing efforts? By understanding where the competition sees as a worthwhile place to invest their budget, you can get a good idea of where you should be focusing your efforts.   

global search trends: Has there been a spike of interest in products or services that you supply in certain areas? Use tools such as Google Trends alongside your customer purchase data and keywords to identify key markets that are searching for what your brand offers. 

2) tailor your campaigns   

You’ve decided where you want to go but what next? You can’t simply just blast your existing campaigns without first considering various aspects: 

  • understanding the local culture(s): What works for one audience won’t necessarily work for another. You need to learn the different cultures within your audience pool and tailor your ads to each group.  

  • homing in on their unique pain points: We don’t all have the same trials and tribulations. Research each of your market's specific pain points and how your brand can tap into this.  

  • language and localisation: You can’t simply translate your ad copy. Your copy needs to be written in the native language to create natural and engaging copy.  

  • appropriate landing pages: You’ve put the time and effort into your ad campaigns so far but don’t fall short at the last hurdle and neglect your landing pages. Just like your ad copy and creatives need to be tailored to your audience, so do your landing pages. Make sure copy is natural and accurately translated. Pricing and other key information all need to be amended to each location you target too. 

  • the right side of the law: How does compliance differ internationally? What are the laws surrounding online advertisement? Check you’re following local laws or you risk damaging the overall success of your campaigns.  

3) don’t stick to the status quo 

Just like your ad messaging must change, your approach behind the scenes needs rethinking, too. What works for one location shouldn’t be taken as a given that it will work elsewhere.  

  • adjust your budget accordingly: The cost of your campaigns can vary greatly from country to country, with cost per click (CPC) differing wildly depending on location and the competition. Your budget needs to be flexible to support this. Use tools such as Keyword Planner and SEMrush to get a rough idea of keyword popularity and associated costs but be prepared to rethink your strategy once your initial campaign goes live.  

  • look for more local search engines: We love Google as much as the next person, but don’t narrow your audience pool before you’ve even launched your campaign in a new region. The most popular place for people to browse online isn’t always what we expect, and countries have their own preferences for search engines. Be sure to research where you can find locals online and prioritise your ad spend here.  

creating ongoing success with your international ppc

 No matter whether you're managing PPC campaigns on your home turf or you're navigating your way through international PPC campaigns, the key to long-term success lies in learning and adapting. The beauty of PPC lies in the influx of data you’re constantly fed throughout a campaign, providing you with the information to do better next time.  Consistently review the data you’re receiving to find out what’s working for you and what might need amending. Perhaps certain keywords aren’t performing as well as expected but you’re seeing much better results in another area. Through testing and campaign monitoring, you can quickly identify which markets respond well to your ads and where you may need to rethink your strategy.  

leave it to the experts 

International PPC is by no means an easy feat to get right, especially if you’re just starting out. Finding the time and resource to effectively research your different target countries and create tailored campaigns for each can be a struggle.  

Working with a team of paid media experts, you can leave your international campaigns in the hands of professionals, who know what it takes to help you achieve international success. If you’re looking to kickstart your international PPC or your current efforts are floundering, reach out to our team today to see how we can help.  

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