About to launch your brand overseas? Test the waters with a global PPC campaign. Here’s why – and how to do it right.

You’ve done your research. You’ve decided which markets to target. And you want results. Fast.

You need a global PPC campaign.

Why? It’s the best way to test the waters in a new market. There’s a treasure trove of data you can use to inform your strategy, measure your progress and make adjustments on the go. And you can see tangible results in real-time.

In short, it’s an easy way to kickstart your international expansion – without a big upfront investment.

Here’s how to get the most bang for your buck.


Step one: Translate your English keywords?


Keyword translation just sets you up for disappointment. It won’t pick the best keywords for your brand because it doesn’t take search volume and intent into account. This means you could miss out on valuable keywords and waste your budget.

Opt for international keyword research instead. It’s the best way to make sure you’ve identified the most relevant keywords for your global PPC campaign. If you’re not convinced, check out our in-depth comparison of keyword research versus translation here.

Of course, even the best keywords will fall short if you’re using them on the wrong site. Although 90% of the global search market belongs to Google, Baidu dominates China with 70.3% of the market and Yandex controls 54.3% in Russia. Plus, marketplaces like Amazon are gaining market share, particularly for product searches.

When you’re paying for every click, it pays to advertise on the sites your customers use, so research your options carefully. And bear in mind the keywords you choose will be affected by the search engine you optimize for.


Step two: Translate your ad copy?

Wrong again.

A straight translation won’t create ad copy that sells.

Think about what goes into crafting your original ad: marketing acumen, keywords, character restrictions, to name a few.

More likely than not, your translator won’t have covered these topics during their training.

It’s also worth noting that some languages are simply longer than others. ‘Buy now’ may be seven characters in English, but it’s eighteen in French (‘achetez maintenant’). You’ll need creativity to work around any space limitations, while still producing effective results.

That’s why you need a wordsmith, cultural guru and digital marketing expert rolled into one. Because it’s not about translation. It’s about creating a target-language ad that’s as appealing as the original – while maintaining a strong Google Quality Score.

But you don’t have to start from scratch every time. Translation memory software lets you reuse previous work. Since PPC ads can be very repetitive, this is one idea worth borrowing. It means copy can be recycled between ads for similar products without manual copying.


Imagine clicking on an ad and ending up on a French landing page. Or a Chinese one. You wouldn’t spend long on the site. You wouldn’t be alone, either.

In fact, 59% of international consumers never or only rarely buy a product from an English website. So for maximum success in your global PPC campaign, you should localize your landing page for every market.

But if money is tight and time is short, you can find some wiggle room by considering the level of English in each market. In a country like Japan, with a low English proficiency level of 52%, localization into Japanese is essential. Sweden, on the other hand, has the highest English level in the world at 71%. You could launch in English here first, then invest in translation later down the line.

Whatever you decide, make sure your landing pages and keywords are in the same language. If not, your Google Quality Score will suffer and it’ll be more difficult to successfully bid for your favourite keywords. The solution? Only pair English landing pages with English PPC campaigns.


92% of global consumers prefer sites with pricing in their local currency. And 33% will abort a purchase if the only price available is in US dollars.

This makes currency the only factor more important than language. For your global PPC campaign to make any headway, you need to localize your prices. Before you do, don’t forget to set up integrated reporting so you can compare ROI across markets.

It’s also worth adapting your strategy to the most popular payments methods in each market. E-wallets like Alipay or WeChat Pay have a 62% market share in China, but only 4.2% in Japan. While Japanese consumers mostly pay with bank cards, ‘konbini’ payments at local convenience stores are also very popular. This means cash still pays a big part in Japanese e-commerce.


A global PPC campaign is a great way to kickstart your international expansion. Compared to other forms of marketing, there aren’t many upfront costs. But it doesn’t pay to cut corners. Treat each new market with the same care – not simply as an extension of your English campaigns. Your customers (and sales figures) will thank you.

Need help getting your campaign off the ground? Find out how we approach global PPC here, then speak to our expert digital team for tailored advice.


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

ABOUT Gary Reilly

Originally from Sydney, I'm an international digital marketer with a decade's experience helping global brands achieve their goals with integrated digital solutions. And I'm passionate about deciphering user intent to create relevant content that's accessible, visible and delivers ROI.

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