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How to make your Google Ads campaigns work in overseas markets

Key take-aways

Google Ads is a great way to reach new customers online and grow your business. But what if you want to look further afield and find new markets abroad? In this article, you’ll discover how Google Ads and other Google tools can help you do just that. For example, we’ll discuss how to pinpoint the most suitable markets to enter, identify cultural nuances, and even the best way to structure your account.

1. Introduction to overseas expansion

2. Use insights from your own site and accounts

3. Localising your keywords, ads and landing pages

4. Look out for cultural nuances

5. Make the most of Market Finder’s free tool and guides

6. Get your international Google Ads campaign up and running

7. Pick and stick to an account structure

8. Enhance and improve how your campaign responds

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is an advertising service by Google for businesses that want to display ads on Google search results and its advertising network.

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Knowing how different markets behave online will have a big impact on your goals and what you can expect to achieve

1. Introduction to overseas expansion

If you’re already using Google Ads, you’ll know how it helps your business reach new customers online. Maybe you’ve also considered expanding your operation to reach new customers in overseas markets? If so, here’s a quick guide to getting started.

What is Market Finder?

Market Finder is a free Google service for businesses interested in expanding abroad. It provides detailed insights into which markets are best suited to your product or service, plus useful guides on how to prepare your business and market it online.

Learn more

2. Use insights from your own site and accounts

One of the first steps is finding out which countries have a high demand for your products or services. You can do that by entering a few quick details about your business into Google’s free Market Finder tool. Then, once you know which countries to target, it’s time to start attracting your target audiences.

3. Localising your keywords, ads and landing pages

To make sure your ads have a local feel about them, consider using a professional translator. You may need to change more than just the words though. Customer journeys vary by market, and your Google Ads ads should adjust to things like how potential customers search. This behaviour will influence the way folks connect with your brand—and you’ll want to have the right content in place to be ready for them.

4. Look out for cultural nuances

Things like colours and images on your site may need addressing. Think about your calls-to-action too. For example, you might want to be more deferential in countries where politeness is prized. Even the medium you use to connect with users could change for each market. For example, what works great as a video ad in one country might work better as a static image ad in regions where internet speeds are slower. The preferred web browser of one market might also affect how your landing pages are made.

5. Make the most of Market Finder’s free tool and guides

Knowing how different markets behave online will have a big impact on your goals and what you can expect to achieve. Market Finder's free reports and data will help you discover how people use the internet around the world, and create customised reports detailing online access and device usage in the countries you’re targeting. You can also take into account metrics such as online purchase behaviour, purchase breakdown by product, use of smartphones in online purchases, and others.

6. Get your international Google Ads campaign up and running

Like any marketing activity, one of the first steps is deciding your campaign goals. For example, do you want to sell more products? Grow customer loyalty? Engage with more customers? Or maybe just create a buzz around your brand?

Once you’ve set your goal, you’ll need to choose whether to go with search or display ads. The Google Ads Search Network reaches people when they’re already searching for specific goods or services, whereas the Display Network helps capture attention earlier in the buying cycle with a variety of ad formats. This network spans over two million websites reaching over 90% of people online.

7. Pick and stick to an account structure

Reaching new countries could make your accounts more complex, but you can manage that through your account structure. Whichever you decide, try sticking to it. Consistency gives you a strong foundation for control and specialisation, and allows for better reporting, budgeting, automation and account management.

8. Enhance and improve how your campaign responds

    1. Analytics
      Once you have a larger international expansion strategy in place, you’ll need to reflect that within Google Ads. Although no two markets are the same, replicating your home campaign structure can help gauge how new markets respond comparatively. But user value, competition and costs of goods sold can all vary, so take this into account when setting performance targets.
    2. Naming conventions
      Even if your naming feels simple, it gets trickier as you expand to one or two countries. Try using standard abbreviations in names, and things like country, language and targeting method should be in your labels wherever possible.
    3. Automation
      The more you expand, the more you and your team need to manage. Google’s automated tools can come in handy here. A consistently organised account will also help you take better advantage of tools like these because, once you put the framework in place, many day-to-day optimisations are taken off your plate.

For example:

    1. Automated bidding gives better, more informed bids, and saves time over manual bidding.
    2. Ad customisers adapt your text ads to what someone is searching for, on which device, in which location, or even the date, time of day, or day of the week.

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