Running search campaigns on an international level does not need to include translators, copy tailored to your audience, or radical campaign changes. I’ve seen positive results in client accounts by simply opening up existing English campaigns to new countries and testing the response. Keep in mind, however, that the end goal here is to collect data at low cost and determine response. If results look promising an all-out approach is best.
Here’s what I’ve found on AdWords and Bing Ads – I hope it inspires you to test this on accounts you think are well-qualified.
Tip #1: Start off with English-speaking countries
Australia/NZ, the UK and Ireland make a great spot to start. Begin with a comparable bid, but watch closely: you’ll often find yourself taking a premium position for a far lower CPC than you’re paying stateside. Be sure to adjust those bids downwards in a few days to test how low you can go while keeping a nice spot.
Tip #2: Evaluate Your Product
Is my product going to be “hot” outside of the US? Consider what you’re selling: things like IT software/training translate very well to the aforementioned English speaking countries, plus India, Israel and others. Always ensure your product/service can be used in the country you’re targeting.
Tip #3: Watch Your Campaigns (And EE/China)
Eastern Europe and China are notorious for software piracy and fraud. If you opt to target these regions, be aware of too-high impression numbers or low return.
Tip #4: Speak the Language
Make sure you have your language targeting set appropriately. For example, Belgium has speakers of Dutch, French, German, English, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Turkish and Portuguese. A simple Wikipedia search will show you what languages you want.
More often than not, English ads will do just fine if you can’t spring for a translation. In the Philippines, a whopping 93% of the population speaks English. 56% in Germany, 36% in France, and 29% in Italy.
Tip #5: Go for the quality approach
The tips above emphasize speed and low cost over quality. Often times, this is required to get the sample data you need to make a bigger approach. While that would need a separate article, there are a few key rules to follow to reap the rewards: localized ad copy, localized landing page content, and professional translation. AdWords will recognize this and you’ll receive a bump in QS, as well.