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Do Germans Google? International Campaign Considerations

By Stacy Binder in Media Strategy on April 2nd, 2013

Part 1 of a 2 Part Series

Just as every great building has to have a foundation laid first, so does every great international media campaign. Before you move into budget discussions and creative concepts, make sure you know your international audience inside and out in order to create the base for an awesome campaign abroad.

  1. Certification and Currency – Before you begin researching and setting up your international campaign, take a step back and make sure you have covered any possible higher-level interference.  There may be country-specific laws or regulations that may require you to obtain a local business certification or license. Also, consider that other countries may want to set marketing and advertising budgets in their native currency.  And issues around the fluctuating exchange rate may arise, so be prepared with a plan for that.
  2. Search Engines – Of course Google is the first search engine that comes to mind. It is the largest and most searched, right?  Or is it?  Consider that in countries outside the US, other search engines – like Yahoo! or Bing – may top Google.  It may be worthwhile to spend more of your media dollars in other, more popular engines.  Also, bear in mind that Google has country and region specific engines that you should probably invest in.
  3. Mobile Device Markets – While it is a good practice to think about the mobile devices your audience searches on, it is especially important when targeting international consumers.  Recently, studies have shown one in five Americans regularly search on their mobile phones. But as smartphones and tablets become the main source of Internet browsing for many developing countries, much larger mobile communities are developing. This may be an area that could warrant testing as it could prove profitable depending on your target market.
  4. Get in the (Time) Zone – It is pretty standard to think about targeting your display and search ads to show for specific zip codes, states, countries and regions, but geo-targeting doesn’t stop there!  On top of knowing where your ads should be showing internationally, you’ll also want to think about when they are showing.  Know your international market’s time zones – not only the relative time but, more importantly, know their culture and their purchasing patterns.  Not all cultures follow the typical 9-to-5 workday and many countries have different holidays and seasonality that should be considered when setting up when your ads will show.
  5. Keywords and Ad Copy – When selecting keywords to bid on and use in your ad copy internationally, be sure to factor in that country’s terminology and spelling.  To ensure that you look like a trustworthy company, it’s important to know the local lingo.  There may be several acceptable variations of a word’s spelling that you will want to utilize.  Also, it’s helpful to have a native speaker review copy to ensure that an ad’s meaning is correctly portrayed, as using incorrect terminology could be potentially offensive and detrimental to your international media campaign.
  6. Keep it Consistent – This final and very important step to creating your media campaign is to ensure consistency through all facets of a campaign for a consistent user experience.  If you decide to translate to the native language, it is important to translate all copy across all platforms, as well as have a live person fluent in that language if there is a call option. This will increase your conversions and decrease your abandon rates, as the user will be more engaged and trusting of your overall campaign.

Once you’ve got these areas covered, it’s time to move on to creative and development considerations for international media campaigns.

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