Taking PPC global: How to succeed in 2024

When it comes to outreach and effective advertising strategy, truly, the world is the limit. Once you’ve established your business and grown your brand locally, a great way to reach global recognition is through international PPC campaigns that allow you to create an impression with audiences overseas.

While it’s worth it to become a world-recognizable brand, that doesn’t mean attracting global attention is anything like a walk in the park. It requires careful planning and strategizing, as well as a fair knowledge of the digital market abroad – and possibly through a multilingual lens.

Carry out your country research

No, we don’t mean delving into the backlog of Taylor Swift or Dolly Parton. Rather, before you even think about creating ads for an international PPC campaign you need to make sure that the country or place you’re targeting is a good fit for your company. That is to say, is there a demand for the product or service you’re offering in the place you’re planning on advertising to?

It might be tempting to choose somewhere like the Caribbean islands just so you can go on holiday (sorry, we mean do your research) but if there’s no business opportunities then it’ll be a wasted trip – although you might get a nice tan.

To make sure your international PPC campaign is successful, carry out plenty of research about the country as you would do with any new market. This involves more generic things like the weather, the lifestyle and the time difference, as well as the more legislative elements of a place.

Local legislation and taxes tend to vary from country to country and in 2020 Google introduced a new digital tax which added an international charge on top of your ad budget. This tax applies to the UK at a 2% rate and can vary from market to market.

Country CPC/CPM

In particular, different countries tend to have variable cost-per-click or click-per-mille rates. You can shed a little light on expected costs by setting the region to a specific country on Google Keyword Planner and seeing what the results are – although there’s no guarantee this is perfectly accurate. For measuring traffic across the pond, tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs also have useful software.

Crossing the (right) channel

Although Google dominates the global search market, occasionally lesser known search engines might have the edge in certain parts of the world. For example, in China Baidu controls almost 80% of the country’s market share, while in Russia Yandex is the most popular. These natively developed platforms are known for their powerful algorithms and advanced search features and differ from Google by supporting alternative alphabets to the ISO Basic Latin Alphabet.

When creating a PPC campaign, it’s important to take into account the geographical differences between independent datacentres. This is especially the case if a country’s internet users are searching with a completely different engine that they prefer and trust.

Web analytics services like Statcounter can be a useful tool for understanding how another country’s search engine operates and will provide you with useful regional data as well.

Language logistics

Although from a Western-centric perspective it might feel like pretty much everywhere speaks English, it is in fact the third most popular language in the world after Chinese, Mandarin and Spanish. When advertising to an international audience, making sure your translations are right could make or break your reputation.

Because it’s Google, there is of course a tool for this, but Google Translate doesn’t always produce the most accurate or natural translation results. This is where professional translators come in. Not only can they make sure that your ad copy reads naturally, but they can offer insight into the language of the country you’re targeting, especially the use of idioms or colloquialisms. If you’re trying to appeal to a specific region, having someone on your PPC team who has an understanding of the local dialect is also incredibly important.

Time zones and custom schedules

Setting up a time-zone appropriate ad schedule is especially important if you’re looking to use your PPC budget wisely and develop a cost-effective campaign.  There’s no point targeting early morning commuters in Australia based on a UK schedule. By researching the most active engagement times for your target demographic you can create a custom schedule and cater your ads to be visible during the most opportune times. This way you’ll be much more likely to increase your ROAS (return on ad spend) by achieving a higher conversion rate.

In order to accurately predict when your ads are likely to drum up the most engagement, check the time zone of the place you’re advertising under the “Ad Schedule” tab on Google Ads.

Changing of the seasons

As with time differences, seasonal changes will also have a significant impact on your PPC’s impact. If you can, try and find any celebrations or public holidays in the place you’re advertising which you can capitalise on in your campaign.

You and your team can keep track of important dates or events through a shared calendar such as Google calendar.

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