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Multilingual PPC: 10 things you need for a successful campaign

By Josian Phillips, 

A multilingual PPC (pay-per-click) campaign is a great way to advertise your business on an international scale. Done right, multilingual PPC can be an extremely effective way to market your goods or services in a country where you are relatively unknown. It can also be used as a ‘toe in the water’ to test if there is demand for what you’re offering in different areas of the world.
Before you embark on a multilingual PPC campaign, here are 10 tips to help you ensure that it’s a success:

1. Website Translation

Translating (Localising) your website isn’t just about translating it into a different language – it’s about understanding the culture of the country and the nuances of their language. If you don’t localise your website, potential customers could click on your campaign, then not actually make a purchase because the landing pages aren’t in their own language. Some would argue that just the click throughs alone can test the demand for goods or services in a particular country and that the website localisation could come later – but be aware that you risk missing out on potential customers this way and possibly alienating some forever.

2. Rewrite your message

It’s important not just to directly translate your PPC campaign, but to actually re-write it in a different language, using local knowledge to ensure that you don’t fall foul of any cultural nuances. Native speakers of the language may be able to spot direct translations that don’t quite make sense and decide not to use your business. If you’re going to embark on a PPC campaign in another language, it’s important to make sure that you get your message across to your customers – otherwise, what’s the point?

3. Research search engines

When you think of search engines and PPC you may instantly think of Google. But for a successful multilingual campaign, you should do your research about which search engines are most used in the particular country you’re targeting. One of the most used search engines in China, for example, is Baidu, whereas Yandex is popular in Russia.

4. Research your keywords

Again, it’s important not to directly translate your keywords but to understand what keywords your target country’s citizens are more likely to use. And don’t think that just because words in a certain language have accents on them, your customers are going to use the accents when they search. It may be that you have a list of keywords with accents and a list of keywords without, so that you can capture all of your potential customers.

5. Enlist the help of a professional translator

Getting a native professional translator to check over your content, including your keywords, ensures that you’ve made no mistakes in your translations. Having a native professional translator working on your translations from the very early planning stages of your multilingual PPC campaign can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. As we touched on earlier, there’s no point in running a PPC campaign that uses ineffective keywords or content that just doesn’t make sense to the reader.

6. Make sure you understand the local market

What may be a benefit for customers in the UK, that makes your company stand out from the rest, may not be relevant in a different country. If, for example, one of your USPs is that you offer free delivery, but this is the norm in the country your PPC campaign is going to run in, it’s not going to entice potential customers to click on your ad. At best, you’ve missed out on a chance to show your more relevant USPs to new customers – at worst, your business could just end up looking silly.

7. Seasonality

In the planning stages of your campaign, make sure to bear in mind any national holidays or festivals in the countries your PPC campaign will be running in. Not only can it be useful to tailor your copy to these events, but it can also mean you’re forewarned of any potentially quieter times of year for your product or service. Also, it may be obvious to some, but summer in New Zealand or Australia is not at the same time as summer in the UK, so be aware of what you’re advertising and when.

8. Is there a market for what you’re offering?

This isn’t specifically to do with PPC campaign tips, but before you embark on your multilingual PPC campaign, you should do some market research in your chosen countries to decide whether there is a market for what you’re offering. You could save a huge amount of time and effort by not launching a multilingual PPC campaign that, because of local market conditions, just wouldn’t succeed anyway.

9. Make sure you understand local law

It’s important to ensure that your campaign is legal in your target countries. Just because Google says it doesn’t go against their policy, it doesn’t mean you’re not breaking a local law.

10. Consider using professional translation services

Using a company to translate and localise your ad copy and keywords can save you a great deal of time and money by making sure your translations are up to scratch from the word go. Especially if you are targeting more than one country. Just using Google Translate to translate your content could seriously scupper your chances of a successful campaign.

Multilingual PPC isn’t just about translating your English keywords and ad copy into different languages. You should also spend time researching the market you’re looking to expand into and understanding their culture and traditions and how your product or service would fit in. Who would your target customers be and what do they want?

It’s also important to make sure that your keywords are thoroughly researched for your chosen market, your website is localised and your ad copy is translated to a high standard. Add all of these ingredients together and you’re well on your way to a successful multilingual PPC campaign. If you’d like to find out more or talk to one of our SEM specialists, please get in touch.

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