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Launching Successful International PPC Campaigns: Trends, Translation, and Taxation

Updated: Jul 8, 2023


Launching Successful International PPC Campaigns

Approaching International PPC Campaigns


Approaching International PPC campaigns can be an exciting experience for any business. Typically it represents a point in the business' journey where expansion and profit are at a level for things to increase. Overall, it highlights a massive shift in the overall business direction.


When understanding this period from a paid search perspective, it is crucial to know how to align paid search strategies with those of the business appropriately. That being said, this can often be easier said than done. Whilst many paid search professionals understand that international expansion requires more thought than simply duplicating campaigns and changing location targeting, a knowledge that the initial first step can take time to distinguish.


Speaking from personal experience, it's a process I have encountered across various clients in various sectors and truth - it never gets easier! With client pain points differing on a case-by-case basis, there's always a challenge around understanding which task to tackle first.


To simplify this process and bridge that gap, I've broken the approach into three smaller entities: trends, translation and taxation. Sharing a clear understanding of trend data in the region as well as an understanding of how language can differ from region to region, is undoubtedly essential. As well as this, understanding how taxation differs concerning how billing occurs can significantly impact discussions around international planning and can help give you a tremendous initial steer.


Trends

Arguably the most crucial aspect of understanding regional campaigns is understanding the fundamental principle that search trends differ from region to region. While this might seem an actual point, I have been in far too many meetings where people can’t understand that audience intent can differ depending upon the region.


A prime example is revealing search data between intent in Germany and Austria. Whilst linguistically, they share the same official language, there are dramatic shifts in search intent over the same period for specific products (with t-shirts highlighted in the examples below). We have to consider population volumes (which can impact data volumes). The overall popularity trends below differ, indicating that popularity spikes are inconsistent across the two countries.


Search intent in Austria


International PPC Campaign Trends - Austria

Search intent in Germany


International PPC Campaign Trends - Germany

As a result, ironing out how keyword volumes, buying trends and market fluctuations differ (unfortunately, some additional desk research!) is crucial at the planning stage to avoid massively skewing forecasting.


Translation

Another key element when considering international growth is translation. The standard process goes that agencies will typically outsource translation services, but finding a good one is worth its weight in gold. I feel that a great deal of focus is placed around copy being a direct translation rather than taking marketing aims into account - this is what a great translation agency can do.


When addressing translation, it’s crucial to carve out time for an immersion period with the translation service to discuss overall campaign aims so they can have input on which wording they feel would work best. With this, I’m not talking about sharing revenue targets or wider data-led KPIs but more information on the funnel and what you hope to achieve.


It should also be noted when discussing translation to remember the impact that translation can have on character counts, which again makes the immersion process so crucial as the translation team will need some degree of autonomy.

In addition, it’s important to remember that translation also extends to keyword selection. Building off our earlier point, if we know that trend data differs by region, this will directly impact keyword strategies. As a result, take time to understand synonyms and keyword choice, as this can impact direct performance and adverse keyword selection and search query reporting (namely exclusions).


It should be noted, however that the above only applies to content which is being shown to non-English speakers. There is also an opportunity to test English copy/keyword content to your audience but bear in mind that this will likely have less of an impact on native speakers.


Taxation


A topic that is hugely underreported to clients is the topic of taxation. Whilst it is standard for taxes such as VAT to be added to invoices, what is less typical is additional taxes such as digital services tax (or DST).


Taxes and tax legislation differ by region, but in Turkey and Austria, where an additional 5% tax is added on top of VAT, this can accrue a significant extra cost in higher spending accounts.


As a result, whilst I’m not recommending that we all become accountants - we should make clients and or ourselves (if we’re working in-house) aware of this additional cost. Not only does this help build trust through transparency, but it also helps avoid awkward conversations once that first invoice has been billed. More information on this can be found here.


Conclusion


In summary, taking that first step into international paid search campaigns can be challenging. Understanding what to take into account and how to do so can be tough, but by addressing the three T’s covered above you’ll hopefully make that first step a little easier and set yourself up for international success!

About the PPC Expert


Fraser Andrews, Head Of Paid Media at HDY Agency. Skilled in Google Ads, Bing Ads, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook advertising, he has over 6 years of experience in the performance media industry.


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