How to take your brand global through localised paid media

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Today we live in a world of borderless opportunities. Having a business strategy that includes a presence in multiple markets around the globe is no longer exclusive to the Nikes and Starbucks of the world, but is available even to brands operating on a small scale. By applying the principles of localisation and getting the most out of paid media platforms like Google Ads, Facebook and LinkedIn, almost any business can expand internationally to reach new audiences, diversify risk, or achieve greater efficiencies and economies of scale.

In this article we’ve spoken to Clickoo, a PPC agency specialising in localised, audience-driven campaigns since 2009, to pick their brains on how to take your brand to global markets through localised paid media.

1. Do your research

The foundations of a successful paid media strategy, no matter the language or location, lie in thorough market and audience research. To truly connect with your audience, you need to factor in a broad range of macro & micro insights.

We usually start with a top-level PESTLE analysis, including data such as GDP, consumer spending, environmental factors and legal considerations such as GDPR. Digital insights might come next, allowing you to see which platforms your audience uses and how; internet and smartphone penetration; as well as things like ecommerce delivery and payment preferences. For example, pay on invoice is one of the most popular payment methods in Germany, which you might not consider for your UK site. Platforms such as Google Market Finder and Google Trends can also give you an idea of the level of search demand in a category across different markets. 

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, look into the intricacies of culture and communication – how an audience thinks and feels, what motivates them and what they resonate with. This is vital to be able to create effective content, and leads us onto our next point:

2. Translation vs. Localisation

Translation tools such as Google Translate, or standard human translation services, can seem a cheap (or even free) way to quickly turn your English campaigns into international versions. However if you really want to make your brand blend in seamlessly with the local competitor landscape, we’d recommend using specialist linguists to ‘localise’ all your content to make it unique to your target market.

Localisation factors in the broader context of insights we mentioned above, and rather than translating text literally it adapts tone of voice, grammar, vocabulary and audience values, creating website or ad copy that makes your brand look native. This will inspire a greater sense of trust and relatability amongst your audience, driving consideration and conversions. Think about it – if you see a social ad that’s written in poor English, uses the wrong currency, or sounds irrelevant to you, you’re bound to carry on scrolling through your feed.

3. Tailor your PPC strategy

As well as adapting your content and creative, you should also look to tailor your technical paid media activation strategy to each specific international market. Using your research into seasonality, search trends and digital insights, you can start to plan out which platforms to use, as well as the type of ads, targeting, bidding strategy and seasonal or daily adjustments. 

For example, Google might be the go-to search engine for the majority of your markets, but if you’re looking to start paid search ads in Russia or South Korea, using Yandex and Naver could yield much better results. Bear in mind that holidays and national events also vary by country – talking about Bonfire Night might alienate your US audience in the same way as failing to acknowledge Thanksgiving. Adapting and localising your creative and technical strategy ensures your campaigns are as relevant as possible.

Start small, think big

The beauty of paid media platforms like Google Ads and Facebook is they typically require little investment to get started. You can start by localising a few campaigns in one or two key markets and test the waters, without having to employ a full-scale team in each new country. At the same time, keep an open mind and prepare to scale up when it becomes clear which markets present good scope for expansion.

As well as delivering PPC campaigns in 30+ languages from their offices in the UK & US, Clickoo can offer advice on things like logistics, compliance and customer service through their partnership with the Google International Growth Programme. When you consider that only 20% of the world speaks English and 3 billion people are predicted to come online within the next few years, there’s never been a better time to take your business global!

Words by Kelly

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