With many UK brands now seeking growth through international expansion, we take a closer look at how brands can successfully expand their international operations with Paid Search and Display. Focusing on international campaign management and execution, this article offers our top tips on running effective campaigns targeted to different territories.
Please click here to see our earlier article on 5 Tips for Introducing a Brand into a New Territory.
Our top 5 tips for international expansion
1. Decide which countries to target
When expanding internationally, a good starting point for advertisers is to research which territories are likely to perform well:
- Use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner with its Traffic Estimator function to find out the level of brand awareness of your brand in a target territory by estimating the average monthly impressions your brand may receive.
- To gain further insights on new territories, we would suggest that you create a worldwide brand campaign targeting all countries and all languages, while being careful to exclude any territories where you already have campaigns running. By running a worldwide campaign, you will be able to assess which locations drive the most traffic and sales. Let the campaign run for at least 2 weeks and you will see the territories which are performing the best. The highest performing campaigns should then be separated and optimised individually.
2. Find the right keywords
Building a strong keyword list for your campaign will help you ensure that your ads show to your target customers as they search for specific terms or visit certain websites. To find the right keywords for your campaign, we would suggest you:
- Use keywords which perform well in the UK as a starting point, as these are likely to perform well in international territories too. Start with exact match keywords and then expand into phrase match keywords. This will allow you to see which terms users are searching for in a particular territory and therefore enable you to grow the campaign.
- Expand your keyword selection further by using Google’s Keyword Planner to see which keywords are likely to drive the most impressions for a given territory. We have found that misspells of brand terms and products names tend to perform well in international territories and can be effective in driving more traffic to your website.
3. Localise your language
When running multi-language campaigns, it’s important to ensure that your ads resonate with different, local audiences:
- Ensure you use a reliable translation service to accurately and appropriately translate your ad copy. Consumers are less likely to click on ads which do not read well.
- Separate campaigns by language as this will allow you to target consumers who speak a local language differently to consumers who speak English. This is particularly important for UK brands that are looking to tap into the lucrative expat market. It is worth noting that there is no conclusive link to show that consumers will always prefer to click on ads in their local language, therefore this important to test ads in different languages across all target territories.
4. Drive more performance with effective ad copy
There are many factors which should be considered when creating ad copies for an international territory. Each territory will vary and react to ad messages in different ways:
- Test different types of ad copy as small changes to ad copy can have a significant impact on CTR. For example, we performed a split test adding ‘/au’ at the end of the display url for an international client running campaigns in Australia. CTR for this ad copy was +17% higher than the ad copy without ‘/au’ at the end of the URL. In another test, we trialled different discount codes for a retail client who was trying to improve performance in low converting territories. By using discount-led messages in ad copy we were able to increase CTR by +22% in these territories.
- Research the preferred terms and phrases used in your target territories, for example use “Shipping” in ad copies for the US rather than “Delivery”. It is also important to understand seasonality factors and key dates for your targets territories, for instance Christmas Day is on 7th January in Russia.
5. Don’t lose a sale due to poor landing pages
When trying to drive more onsite conversions, it’s important to test the most effective landing page for your target territory. There are a number of different ways to optimise landing pages:
- Localise the language of the landing page to the territory that your campaign is running in. We tested a simple localised landing page in the US against a UK landing page. The localised landing page had a 95% higher conversion rate than the UK landing page.
- In territories where you are receiving a large number of clicks through to the landing page but a low number of sales, test a localised landing page with images of local currency and clear messaging on local delivery options as this should improve conversion rate.
To sum up
In conclusion, knowing which territories already have a strong brand presence is key in generating sales internationally. By creating a worldwide campaign you will be able to understand which territories have higher traffic and sales volume and build campaigns accordingly.
When optimising your international campaigns it is important to take into consideration the differences between the different territories. By adopting some of our recommendations to help localise your campaigns to each target territory, you will be well equipped to run successful international Paid Search campaigns. Good luck!