5 Essential Considerations for Starting an International PPC Campaign

Expanding your search engine marketing efforts on an international scale is an exciting move forward. Just like domestic PPC, an international PPC campaign requires a lot of planning and preparation before launch. Strategic planning is crucial to ensure your campaign will prosper in a new country. In this post, we’ll share some of the critical considerations that define a successful international PPC campaign. 

5 Essential Considerations for Starting an International PPC Campaign

1) Determining a budget

Your crucial cost metrics, such as cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition, will differ from country to country. Helpful free and paid tools, like Google Keyword Planner and SEMRUSH, can help you gather estimates for search volume, average cost-per-click (CPC), and potential competition. These estimates can vary in accuracy, so be prepared to experiment with your international campaign and make changes to optimize performance.

Don’t assume that the same starting budget will work for every country. For example, the average CPC for Google Ads in many countries is lower than in the U.S., but there may be a difference in lead quality. You’ll need to pay attention to your CRM data to ensure you’re reaching the right people just as you would with a domestic campaign.

When you’re finalizing the budget for your international campaign, remember that there are surcharges to run Google Ads in certain countries. If you plan to run ads in France, India, Italy, Spain, or the U.K., you will see a 2% digital service tax or regulatory operating cost added to your billing statement for each country. If you target Austria or Turkey, those fees increase to 5%. 

2) Optimizing for the location

Each country that you add to your PPC strategy brings numerous variables. You will need to familiarize yourself with the local search trends, user behavior, popular search engines or social media platforms, regional concerns, time zones, currencies, and languages. As with any PPC campaign, preliminary research is essential for building a successful strategy.

Your regional contacts have first-hand experience with these details, so ask them for guidance. Combine those insights with research from tools like Google Trends and statcounter.com to gather data about seasonal trends.

User behavior can vary between countries and cultures. For example, some cultures would rather establish a relationship with your sales team before engaging; others will want to carefully read through your content first. It’s often necessary to develop and test different buyer journeys for each country.    

3) Structuring your account

Organizing your account structure is a key facet of optimizing your international campaigns. Ideally, you should have one campaign per country so you can track key performance indicators and control bidding. This tactic helps balance your ad budget and prevents countries with low CPC but high search volume from cannibalizing all of your ad spend.

This organization method will also help you manage various features of the campaigns, such as ad scheduling, budgeting, and designating specific bidding strategies. For example, if you are trying to build awareness in one country and increase sales in another, you can configure the campaign for each country accordingly.

4) Perfecting ad assets and creatives

Language is vital no matter which country you’re targeting with your ads. Your copy should be localized for your target audience, which may entail working with a translator or a copywriter familiar with the areas you plan to target. Automated translation tools, like Google Translate, can miss essential nuances and change your message. Hiring a translator is a worthwhile investment when targeting a different language.

Even if you plan to run ads in English, you must consider different spellings (e.g., color vs. colour), dialects, and colloquialisms when selecting keywords, writing copy, and creating landing page content. Rather than recycling content from your domestic ads and landing pages, customize your message to appeal to the concerns and issues of potential customers in these new regions.

5) Measuring success

In any marketing strategy, you must be able to identify what success means to your business. What are your goals for expanding your paid advertising to new countries?

Answer that question by creating “SMART” goals for your paid marketing plan. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound.

  • Specific – Clear objectives help focus your efforts. For example, if leads are essential to your business, how many leads does it take to make a sale? 
  • Measurable – Tracking tools like Google Analytics and your website platform can quantify website traffic volume or your business’s number of leads/sales.
  • Achievable – Tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner or SEMRUSH can help you determine a realistic expectation based on keyword search volume and trends. 
  • Relevant – How will achieving this goal impact your business? A relevant goal will help grow your company.
  • Timebound – Every digital marketing plan takes time to yield results. Setting a deadline helps you focus on the long-term objective without getting lost in the minor details. 

Whether you’re working on generating brand awareness in a new market or seeking to increase leads or sales from a specific region, SMART goals can guide you and your marketing team to success.

Take the next step in your international PPC plan

International PPC is a logical step for many businesses looking to establish or build their presence in new markets. As with any online advertising campaign, the critical takeaway is to do your homework.

In addition to the research you would use for planning a domestic PPC strategy, you must consider each new region’s cultural, linguistic, and time-based nuances. Use that data to target your campaigns and ads. With careful preparation and a willingness to adapt your strategy as you gather data, you will be well on your way to international PPC success.