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5 tips for starting international PPC

My Post (15).pngBe ready to watch for nuances of your targeted regions and adapt your strategy on a regional basis as you begin to track performance.

Expanding marketing efforts beyond your home country can be an exciting step. However, branching into new regions with PPC entails much more than simply copying your campaigns and changing the geographic targeting.

Don’t rush into setting up international campaigns until you’ve thought out budgeting, channel allocation, account structure, localization, and unique regional concerns. In this article, I’ll expand on each of these points to help you establish a framework for beginning to target other countries.

Budget for different costs by country

CPCs and CPMs to compete in ad auctions vary widely by country. You can get a rough estimate for projected spend in Google search by adding your keywords to Google Keyword Planner and setting the region to the country you’re planning to target. However, these estimates can be off, and you’ll get the best idea of average CPCs/CPMs once you actually start running a campaign and see actual figures.

In addition, costs for customer acquisition also will likely vary by country. If you’re just starting to advertise in a region that’s not familiar with your brand, you can often expect higher CPAs.

However, you might find the opposite to be true if CPCs are lower in that region. I recently launched a LinkedIn campaign in Latin America for a client, and we found that CPAs were less than half of our averages in the United States due to significantly lower CPCs.

Also, pay attention to CRM data to measure lead quality. While they may be cheaper in a region, a lower percentage of prospects may actually be the right potential customers. You’ll ultimately want to look at metrics like cost per qualified lead and cost per completed sale to determine what CPAs to aim for in your campaigns.

Research top channels by region

Consider what search and social channels people use the most in the regions you’re looking to target. Targeting Google alone will exclude a significant number of users in several countries. For instance, Yandex covers 44% of the search engine market share in Russia, and Baidu has 66% of the market share in China.

StatCounter is a good site to start for research (with the caveat that no stats are going to be 100% accurate), as well as talking to contacts on the ground in regions you’re looking to target. Representatives at ad platforms may be able to assist in providing stats on regional usage, as well.

Plan for account structure

Separating campaigns by country, or by overarching region, allows you to better control bids and segment out reporting. This tactic also prevents countries with cheaper CPCs and high volume from cannibalizing spend, giving countries that may have higher CPCs, but quality leads, a chance to perform.

Separate geographic campaigns also allow for more accurate usage of time-based bid modifiers. If you lump the Europe and the US into the same campaign, and lower bids during the night in the US, you’re effectively also lowering bids during the workday in Europe. Keeping those regions in different campaigns allows you to apply hourly bid modifiers without worrying about hurting performance in time zones several hours away. – Read more