4 ways to Kick-Start International PPC Campaigns

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill

One great advantage of PPC advertising is the ability to enter new markets with low upfront costs. If you don’t get your research right, the dream of being successful in a new market soon becomes a nightmare…

Entering new territories is easier and cheaper than ever before with PPC campaigns, but it would be too good to be true if it were that easy, wouldn’t it? A common mistake made by search marketers, especially in Europe, is to treat international campaigns as a simple extension of an existing domestic campaign, ignoring that these campaigns differ in more than just language; international PPC campaigns have their own currency, language, culture, competitors and demographics. Here are some useful tips to kick-start your international search campaigns:

Don’t play Chinese Whispers with your ad copy

When entering new territories, translation tools like Google Translate might seem like an easy, cheap way to get things done. I know it is tempting, but you should always invest in professional translation, ideally by a native speaker. You can find quality translation for a fair hourly price on freelancer job boards like Elance or Freelancer.

You might wonder what could possibly go wrong translating single keywords or the 2-4 words used per line. Do you remember playing Chinese Whispers as a child? A nice example from German to English is the word schweineteuer (very expensive). When you type it into Google translate you get a English translation pigs expensive, which makes no sense at all, does it? Be honest with yourself, would you double-check every translation when you have 1500 keywords?


People are also less likely to trust ads that were written by a non-native speaker. The devil is in the details – using the right accents, spelling and grammar can have a vital impact on your campaign success.

Know about country specific differences

Don’t assume that the differences between European countries are minor and won’t affect your campaigns. We are not as fused together as you might think! If it was not already part of your market entry research, you should do your homework before optimizing your campaigns.

Look for differences in holidays, work hours, seasonal differences and internet penetration. Furthermore, knowledge about search behaviour in different countries – especially device usage (Google’s Our Mobile Planet is an excellent resource) and when people search – can be the vital element of your new market strategy.

Knowledge is Power

When expanding your PPC activities into new markets, it is vital to do your homework. But first you should find out if there is demand for your product and who your competitors are. You should be aware of the keyword landscape, local competitor budgets and traffic available. This way you can set your budgets and craft your campaigns accordingly. Competitive intelligence tools can help you answer these questions by gathering information about the best local market practice for new territories by analyzing the existing competitors in that market.


Example of differences in the Competitive Landscape between Germany and the UK by the example of the telecommunications industry using Adthena

Tedious work feeds the squirrel (Mühsam ernährt sich das Eichhörnchen)

This popular German saying means that much repeated hard work is what makes a squirrel successful in feeding itself by collecting acorns. As with any PPC campaign hard work is the secret! After launch, it is important that you continue to regularly review and optimize your keywords. Top performers in Norway might not succeed in Denmark, and vice versa. You should also have a native speaker frequently review your search query reports and competitive intelligence tools for new keyword ideas and negative keywords in each target country.

If you plan to enter new markets it is worth going this extra mile to make your PPC campaigns truly international. Your clients will appreciate that you have done your homework and invested time to get it right the first time and are more likely to click your ad. Did you manage new market entries with PPC campaigns in the past? It would be great to hear about your experience in the comments!

About the author

Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies. She is curious and passionate and likes to find stories in data and technology.