Managing Multi-Country PPC Campaigns

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June 5, 2024

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Managing Multi-Country PPC Campaigns

Navigating the Complexities of International PPC

Have you ever wondered how global giants like Nike, Verizon, and Microsoft manage to reach audiences across the world? It’s not as simple as just recycling the latest US ad campaign in other countries. Nope, those savvy marketers know that each country has unique audiences, demographics, and cultural preferences. And as an award-winning digital marketing agency, we’ve worked with all three of these high-ticket clients on international PPC campaigns that tailored every ad to their audience’s specific needs.

But how do you merge all these elements into a successful international PPC campaign? Well, buckle up, my friends, because I’m about to take you on a global adventure.

Identifying Your Ideal International Audience

The first step in this journey is to think about where your current and prospective customers live. Suppose 80% of your sales come from the US and 20% from Russia – it makes sense to zero in on Russia in your PPC geotargeting. However, specificity is key. Search engines like Google Ads let you target based on region and city, so you’ll need to conduct audience research to determine the most valuable locations within a particular country.

As you pinpoint your target markets, you can drill down into more specifics by crafting ideal customer profiles and buyer personas. These should detail each audience’s cultural preferences, languages, and preferred PPC advertising platforms. For example, if you notice that one of your audience segments spends more time on Amazon than LinkedIn, you’d focus your targeting efforts on Amazon.

But should you target international audiences in countries where your customers don’t live? According to our expert, Sam Yadegar, the CEO of HawkSEM, the answer is a resounding yes: “If you have a strong foothold in a given region, and you know your brand will resonate locally, it’s usually a win-win.” This might manifest as an influx of branded keyword queries from a certain country or an audience persona that identifies a particular region as their home.

Navigating the Linguistic Landscape

Keyword searches will differ from country to country, and you can identify these differences with search engine optimization (SEO) tools like Google Keyword Planner or Semrush. International audiences usually search in their native languages, but this doesn’t mean your product’s keywords will always translate seamlessly.

If you simply plug your US keywords into Google Translate, you might lose high-intent keywords in the process. That’s why professional translation services are a must for accurate and effective international search marketing (and we’re happy to help with that). But that’s not always the case. Some English words, like “laptop” and “McDonalds,” are used universally, so you can still target an international audience with these globally recognized terms.

Budgeting for Global Domination

When it comes to budgeting for your international PPC campaigns, you’ll need to consider that the second audience might have different spending habits, which suggests you’ll need a smaller budget to avoid wasted ad spend. The good news? According to Yadegar, international CPCs tend to be cheaper: “We can see fluctuations in cost per click when advertising in different regions,” he explains. “More often than not, it turns out to be a solid opportunity where you can drive high-quality conversions at a lower cost in different regions.”

Structuring Your Global PPC Campaigns

When you hear the word “international,” it’s easy to assume the topic involves different countries. But you can structure international ad campaigns in other ways, too. Here are a few options to consider:

Country-Specific Campaigns

This is one of the most common global PPC campaign structures, most ideal for brands who can realistically offer products and services across a large service area. Ecommerce businesses, take note: this lets you cast a wide net with your geotargeting. The only downside? You might spend a lot of marketing dollars to reach people who aren’t hot to convert. But don’t underestimate the value of browsers; if they see you, that’s one step closer to conversion and a win for building brand awareness!

Region-Specific Campaigns

Let’s say you tend to sell more in dense urban cities than small towns. If you targeted an entire country, you risk investing in rural audiences with little interest in your offerings. In this case, you can target specific cities, bigger regions, or even postal codes within a country with this structure. And you can replicate this approach for multiple countries to optimize your ad spend where it truly counts.

Language-Specific Campaigns

It’s not uncommon to have international audiences that share the same language. For example, a brand with Canadian, American, French, and Belgian audiences could structure campaigns like this: English-speaking campaigns for the US and Canada, and French-speaking campaigns for Canada and Belgium. Language-based campaigns can target multiple countries at once, though you might risk brushing over certain audiences. For instance, a Canadian French-speaker and Belgian French-speaker might each have different preferences, budgets, dialects, and local cultures that warrant customized campaigns.

Optimizing for Timing and Seasonality

Timing is everything for certain brands. If you overlook seasonality in international campaigns, it could invite a drop in your Google Ads performance. Think about it; people are more likely to search for “late-night delivery” for movie night snacks or when fourth meal strikes. Similarly, brunch spots and coffee shops might capture more local traffic in the morning hours. These ad schedules can help you align your ads with peak hours to maximize your ad spend.

Now imagine these restaurants are international chains. You can set up custom ad schedules to bid on keywords during morning hours in the US. However, you’ll need to adjust these times for your audience in Europe, too. Sure, you could simplify things and let your ads automatically target audiences 24/7. But if you want to make every dollar count, we recommend tweaking ad schedules for each international campaign. Seasonality is another important factor. An ecommerce business that sells summer apparel might pay for more exposure during July and August in the US. However, if they ship internationally to Argentina, the summer season spans December to February.

Localizing Your Ads and Landing Pages

Now it’s time to craft your first ad. To start, why not use a domestic ad as a template to build your international ad with updated keywords? Sounds easy enough, but it could cost you conversions. As we’ve discussed, international audiences are each unique. To truly connect, you need to reflect these location nuances in your ads. Localization could include:

  • Adapting the language, tone, and cultural references
  • Incorporating local currencies, measurements, and date formats
  • Using relevant imagery, colors, and visuals that resonate with the audience

Don’t forget to keep that momentum going all the way to your landing page. Landing pages are where your audience lands after clicking on your ad. The most effective ones have branded visuals, a concise lead or contact form, persuasive web copy, and an engaging call to action (CTA). Peep our landing page guide for a full walk-through.

This is your chance to convert your international audience, so you want to incentivize them with an individually tailored landing page. Just like your ad copy, your go-to domestic landing page might not work for an international audience. Imagine a Spanish citizen clicks an ad only to redirect to an English landing page. You can bet they’ll likely bounce. Perhaps they also speak English, but still, the page isn’t personalized to them. And it’s not just language discrepancies that can spoil a potential conversion. Landing pages need to flow seamlessly. The entire experience should have a consistent tone and branding — from the localized ad and headline copy all the way to its lead form and CTA. Don’t forget to check your domain, too. One way to build trust with your international audience is through local domain extensions that make their user experience feel more personalized. For example, a potential customer from Canada might feel subconsciously more at ease seeing a “/ca” at the end of your landing page URL.

Monitoring and Optimizing Your Global Campaigns

PPC management for international campaigns still requires regular monitoring. Luckily, key performance indicators (KPIs) don’t vary too much between domestic to international campaigns. Here are the most important KPIs that our expert, Sam Yadegar, recommends you monitor for international PPC campaigns:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)

As a baseline for comparison, you might note KPIs for your domestic campaigns in Google Analytics. If you notice a lower CTR on an international campaign than your domestic one, don’t panic just yet — Yadegar says fluctuation is normal in new markets. But if you want more insights, he suggests going deeper with HawkSEM’s proprietary tech: “ConversionIQ offers granular revenue tracking, and can break down campaigns based on regional revenue generated,” he says.

Embracing the Global PPC Adventure

International PPC campaigns are your secret weapon to tap into more international customers and revenue. But as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Multiple languages, local cultures, different countries to target, and localization all take time you might not always have in your busy schedule.

One way to sidestep the headache without relinquishing global impact? Expert PPC services from an international agency with a global client roster — all of which experience an average of 4.5X ROI. Your dedicated account manager will oversee every aspect of your PPC campaign, from audience research and localization to performance monitoring and analysis.

Ready to turn your international PPC campaigns into frequent flyers that capture audiences across the globe? You’ll need a first-class international PPC agency to pilot your strategy — and we’ve got the ticket. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s embark on this global adventure together!

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