5 Ways to Succeed at Global PPC

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Pay-per-click or PPC is one of those tried-and-tested marketing strategies that can get fast results. However, two-thirds of international businesses are failing to take advantage of it, according to the World Federation of Advertisers. Is yours one of them?

Global marketing offers great opportunities to companies and entrepreneurs. The competition for keywords is lower, with numbers of potential customers increasing by the day. No nation wants to be left behind in the race to get connected. E-commerce is booming in some of the world’s most populated countries, including India, Russia, and Brazil.

As far as language use on the Internet goes, the days of English-language dominance are long gone. While Internet World Stats’ Top 10 Languages in the Internet shows Chinese to be fast gaining on English, the figures for growth over the last decade are even more interesting. Arabic has grown much faster than English between 2000 and 2011, with a 2,501.2 percent increase in use compared to 301.4 percent. Russian has also made impressive gains.

Semiocast’s statistics on social media usage by language (Twitter specifically) reveal a similar story: Brazil, Japan, and Indonesia are among the world’s most active nations—and their numbers are growing.

If you are looking to explore new markets, there has never been a better time. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind as you launch your global PPC campaign:

1. Research Your Keywords

No matter which part of the world you are marketing to, you need great keywords. What are you selling? It has to be clear to both humans (who may have limited or no English) and to those search engine bots.

Research is vital here. Know the correct translations for your product or service in whatever language you are dealing with. Also identify which keywords and phrases stay in English when used in foreign languages—technical terms in particular don’t always translate.

Watch out especially for ‘false friends’ here, for example ‘Gift’ when used in German actually means poison. Native speaker input will ensure your chosen keywords are not just correct, but also reflect the most current usage.

2. Identify the Key Search Engines

Google, Yahoo!, and Bing? Not necessarily. While these search engines are now geo-targeting their results in different countries in a bid to be ‘local’, other search engines still carry weight in their own regional territories.

If your potential customers in Japan are using Infoseek Japan, or the Hindi-speaking population you want to reach in India has a preference for Raftaar.in, you need to rank in those search results. Similarly, you can’t afford to ignore Baidu if you want to connect with China—it has by far the largest market share.

3. Stand Out (For the Right Reasons)

Even if the competition is less fierce in many regional markets, you still need to get the edge. Bland copy doesn’t cut it in any language. Give readers a reason to want to learn more about your product or company.

Professional copywriting services from native speakers can be well worth the investment here. This inside knowledge will also help you to make the most of what’s happening right now in your target country. Tie your PPC campaign to hot topics to stir up maximum interest.

Obviously, you want to grab attention in your overseas markets for the right reasons. Avoid offending foreign-language Internet users by being aware of their social and cultural values. For example, the informality that creates a friendly impression in the United States or Australia could get you off on the wrong foot in Korea, Japan, or the UAE.

4. Focus on Conversion

Getting overseas Web users to click is only part of the story. If you want customers rather than browsers, you need to focus on converting those clicks into sales.

What do your potential customers see when they click on a link? Make sure the landing page is in their language. Again, remember the culturally appropriate language and images. Once you’ve caught someone’s interest, the last thing you want them to do is hit the back button.

Also localize your content to make it as user-friendly as possible. If you are selling, then using your customers’ currency is a must. Consider what else needs to be local—business hours, holidays, and country dialing codes are just some examples. A site that’s relevant to your customer helps to inspire trust.

5. Monitor and Adapt

Finally, remember the time-worn formula: apply, rinse, and repeat. In PPC terms, this translates to putting your campaign into action, monitoring the results, and repeating what works. At the same time, be ready to ditch what doesn’t.

PPC can be a budget-friendly way of advertising internationally and discovering what’s effective for foreign-language markets. Use the data on click-through and conversion rates to inform your decisions, and with each PPC campaign, you should see better results.

Christian Arno
Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, a global translation company. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 200 employees spanning three continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over forty million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV, World Bank and American Express. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.
Christian Arno
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  • http://www.longviewsources.com Delbert

    I’ve thought about pursuing overseas PPC campaigns before too. I came to the conclusion that unless my company has a native speaker of the country or language I’m trying to target, it wouldn’t make sense to pursue it.

    I can imagine finding companies like Lingo24 to translate ad copies and keywords along with their variations wouldn’t be too difficult. What would be difficult, however, is continuous optimization… For example, how would I know why my client’s quality score is stagnant? Is it the landing page? Is it the meta tags? How would I compare the content of my client’s website with that of her competitor’s?

    My honest thoughts are that prospective clients overseas should seek a reputable, domestic PPC agency because this is an industry where language is far to only have partial control of.

  • http://www.engage-2012.com/ Michael

    It is interesting to see that English is no longer dominating the languages on the internet. People, mainly marketers, really should take this into account when developing these PPC campaigns, because English is not the only way and you could succeed much better, much faster and much more effectively using other popular languages for these campaigns.

  • http://fedobe.com/ Fedobe

    Hi Christian, First I would like to thank you for this valuable post. Really, you have explained amazingly about PPC campaign. Hope you will continue your great work!

  • http://www.star-uk.co.uk Frankie Star

    Very interesting read , i have been working on a number of international ppc campaigns and on of the biggest issues is being able to get the right keywords that convert , direct translations of keywords in my experience almost never work , you need keywords that are being locally used, that can be more of a challenge .

  • http://www.tradetechtranslations.com Liam Curley

    Very good post as usual Christian. I Agree with Frankie, the key is to having a translator or native PPC campaigner who understands the processes in researching effective keywords and gaining an understanding in how your target market will search for your products .

  • http://www.kk-webservices.com/pay-per-click/campaign-optimization.html Kapil Khaneja

    Multilingual campaigns are the need of the hour for sure and the fact is that even the best of automated translation software can not even come close to manual efforts. Thumbs up for this post..