Google Adwords in Foreign Countries and Languages

A lot of U.S. PPC advertisers would like to reach beyond the United States and even beyond English-speaking countries. But how does one do that? If you want to advertise in Spain, do you run English ads? Spanish ads?

The answer is both…sometimes. If you have a country where the native tongue and English are both used, then you may want to consider targeting two languages with your search engine marketing efforts.

Let’s use France as an example. You want to target people in France who search Google using English, but you also want to capture those searching in French.

Here’s what you do:

1) Create a campaign just targeting France. Use English keywords, English ads, and send the traffic to the correlating landing page, which should be in English. Easy enough. Same as you do in the U.S.

2) Now comes the tricky part. Create a separate campaign for France again. Set the target language as French. Use French keywords. Write French ads. Send the traffic to a French landing page.

While the concept seems simple, the execution is not. Especially if you don’t speak French. You need to translate all your keywords and ads. And also make sure they flow. You wouldn’t click on a Broken-English PPC ad, so don’t expect people to click on a Broken-French ad. On top of that you need a strong French landing page.

So the key key here is having a good translator. As you know, creating tail versions of your keywords is difficult enough in your own language, but you’re going to need a lot of help when using a foreign language. Also, there is the whole challenge of optimizing the campaign. Running search query reports to find negative keywords. Testing and editing different ads. Tweaking landing pages. It can be done, but a search engine marketer needs to be very careful.

This is why I highly recommend separate campaigns for separate languages even if you are targeting the same country. For one, you should have a good handle on the English campaign. Two, you’ll be able to differentiate which campaign performs better, the native language or the foreign language. And three, if you are having difficulties with the native tongue, you will at least get some exposure with the English campaign.

One last thing to mention regarding this issue. Quality score. Landing page is part of your quality score. So if you are sending French ads to a French landing page, that helps. However, what if you slap a French landing page on an English site? According to Google that may play a factor in your quality score.

There may not be much you can do unless you want to have separate web sites for different languages or even microsites. That may not be feasible. However, I just want to make you aware of the fact in case you are struggling with lower Q-scores in the foreign language campaign.

Like I said, the theory seems simple enough, but the execution is a different matter all together. Not to say it can’t be done because many people are doing it. However, take the time to get it right and hedge yourself with an English-campaign as well.

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2 Responses to “Google Adwords in Foreign Countries and Languages”

  1. what about using a different language…but same homepage.

  2. Chris Gollop says:

    I think that’s what the article is explaining. If you use the same landing page you’d need to get it translated well as users would just click straight back if they end up on a page that is different from the the language they clicked in the ad.

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