If your product or service is of benefit to more than just English-speakers, then you’re going to need a multilingual paid search campaign. However, if you want your ad to be prominent in a global market, there are certain things you need to bear in mind (beyond the usual paid search considerations for your domestic market). Here’s a brief guide to setting up a successful multilingual paid search campaign.Do Your Research.
It’s vital to familiarise yourself with the market you’re planning to aim your paid search campaigns at. For example, although Google is pretty ubiquitous (owning 65% of the paid search market in 2015), it’s not the predominant Search Engine everywhere. In China, Baidu leads the way, in Russia it’s Yandex, and many local Search Engines have their own paid search portals. In addition, 30% of the world’s smartphone users are based in China – which means you need to ensure any paid search campaign is mobile optimised for that region. You may also need to check that your campaign is legal in your target country. Just because it complies with Google guidelines doesn’t mean it may not contravene some local law (e.g the sale of certain supplements or food items).Don’t Get Lost in Translation.
Strict, literal translations don’t always work out well – especially where idioms are concerned, as different cultures have different ways of expressing things. For example, the German equivalent of ‘to beat around the bush’ is ‘to talk around the hot porridge’! It’s essential, therefore, to make sure advert and landing page copy isn’t confusing to native speakers – you may also need to translate the whole of your website, depending on where you are trying to direct visitors. Ensure that you enlist the services of a native-first bilingual translator who is able to capture the spirit of your brand and advert and translate it for the target audience.Target According to Language and Location.
Ideally, you should be creating separate campaigns for each language and each country, taking into account different nuances. Also pay attention to whether different languages are spoken within the same country (such as Switzerland, where German, French, Italian and Rumantsch are the four official languages). Consider time-zones too – especially if your campaign is time sensitive or relies on a time element – Google works with the time-zone of your account, not the time-zone of your target country, so you may need to make some adjustments. Finally, make sure your message is appropriate for the region you’re targeting and that it doesn’t contain anything that may cause confusion or offence.Carry Out Multilingual Keyword Research.
Be wary of simply translating your keywords, since keywords and phrases can have multiple meanings when translated. A little research will guarantee you find the best keyword for the target language. It’s worth seeing what words your competitors are using that may be relevant to your campaign – but don’t take it for granted that they’ve got it right; simply use it as a guide. The best thing you can do once you’ve conducted your keyword research, is ask a native speaker. If anything jars, they’ll soon let you know.Bear in Mind Seasonality.
When planning your paid search campaign, find out if there are any national holidays or festivals in your target country – you may be able to leverage these. Alternatively, you may prefer to wait if you feel people’s focus is going to be elsewhere. Also, don’t forget what the weather’s doing (if it has a bearing on your campaign) – summer here is winter in Australia and New Zealand, and vice versa.
With a little research and planning, your international paid search campaigns should be as successful as your internal market ones.
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