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Pay-per-click (PPC) is used by businesses worldwide as a way to get customers to their websites where they will (hopefully) purchase some of the goods or services they have on offer. Many businesses may only consider having their PPC campaign in English, missing out on valuable revenue from a significant number of internet users whose first language isn’t English.
According to internetworldstats.com, although English is number 1 in the ‘Top Ten Languages Used in the Web’, it actually only accounts for barely over a quarter of internet users. Other languages such as Chinese, Spanish and Arabic also account for a large proportion of internet users. By only having your PPC campaign in English, you could be missing out on business from nearly three quarters of internet users worldwide. Why miss out on business from the vast majority of the world by only having PPC in English?
Multilingual PPC can be used as a ‘gateway’ to see if it would be viable to take your business abroad. Through analysis of how many clicks you’re getting, you can understand whether there is enough potential interest in what you’re offering to justify the expense of expanding into a particular part of the world. There’s no point in translating your website into Portuguese, for example, if the Portuguese people would have absolutely no interest in your product or service. PPC can be a useful way to gauge this and stop a potentially costly mistake.
There are a significant number of people around the world who speak English as a second language. However, you shouldn’t assume that this means you won’t need to translate your PPC campaign into their native language.
In a study carried out by the European Commission, 9 out of 10 internet users in the EU said that, when given the choice of languages, they would always visit a website in their own language. In the same survey, 42.3% of Europeans said they would never buy products or services on the internet that were in a language other than their own. As many Europeans speak English (at least as a second language) this study shows the importance of using multilingual PPC.
In another survey carried out by the Common Sense Advisory, reported by the Harvard Business Review, 56.2% of consumers said that having information in their own language is more important than price.
As with website localisation, it’s important to make sure that you don’t just directly translate your content, but that you ensure that any regional issues such as colloquialisms and abbreviations are taken into account. What works well in one language may, when directly translated, not work well in another.
By making your PPC campaign multilingual, you are tapping into a huge amount of potential customers that you could have missed if you’d run your campaign solely in English.