If you’re a multinational business, or looking to become one, then localisation is likely a concept familiar to you already. Going beyond translation, the aim is to make a brand’s content feel as native as possible in another language, so that it could almost be mistaken for a ‘local’ business. But did you know that the principles of localisation can also be applied to paid media advertising, or PPC? With 12 years of experience in international digital marketing, our partner agency Clickoo has coined the term ‘localised paid media’, and here they break down the fundamentals of what exactly that means and how you can use it to create effective, highly-targeted campaigns in any market around the world.
Our approach to localised paid media essentially comprises a three-step process: insights, strategy and optimisation. Data is the foundation of all our campaigns, UK-based or otherwise. We source a range of first- and third-party insights that drill down into your target market- including things like a PESTLE analysis, competitor, digital and psychographic insights, to find out how they purchase, how they discover and research brands, and how they want to be spoken to. Next comes strategy, where we combine this local market data with a brand’s business goals and our wealth of PPC knowledge to create a plan of action for each market. And finally the campaign management/optimisation segment continues to utilise local knowledge, as our adjustments are driven by changes in each local market, along with creative refreshes and search query reports delivered by native-language speaking paid media specialists.
At this point you may still be wondering what the actual differences are between a ‘localised’ campaign and a traditional, translated paid media campaign. Similar to localisation in content and branding, which Peak can help you with, localised paid media means adapting strategies and campaigns to the nuances of a market’s audience, rather than taking a blanket approach and replicating or translating word-for-word your primary market’s campaigns.
From a technical paid search standpoint, this might mean taking into account challenges with character limits – fitting a Google search ad headline into 30 characters to sell your product or service can be difficult enough in English, let alone German where words are on average a fair bit longer. There are also differences in capitalisation of words based on the grammar of a language, and thus ad copy best practice varies in each market. Date, time and currency formats, along with the order of words in a product title, will affect both ad copy and product feed optimisation; failure to localise any of these elements can be an immediate red flag for consumers looking for a ‘local’ brand.
A localised paid search strategy will also have to include new keyword research, as often there are multiple different terms or ways of describing the same thing in other languages, and it is wise to include as many variations as possible in your keyword strategy, at least initially while you gather data to determine the relevant traffic. On the subject of language, bear in mind also that things like formality, tone of voice, and idioms must be localised correctly to the target audience to avoid confusion at best, offence at worst. The infamous California milk board campaign is just one example of failure to localise – where “Got milk?” turned into “Are you lactating?” when the campaign was translated into Spanish for Mexico.
Another element we factor into a localised paid media strategy is customer intent, along with buying influence and motivation. It’s very easy to assume that everyone shops in the same way around the world, but unfortunately that’s not the case. In your home country you may have a very strong brand presence and a large existing customer base, whereas when you branch out into Portugal you find no one has heard of you. This will affect the purchase journey – you may have to focus on more upper-funnel campaigns, factoring in potentially higher CPC non-brand terms, a lower conversion rate, and a longer time to conversion. Different audience personas will also have different influences for purchasing, which can come into play with the creative side of the localised paid media strategy – ads targeting one market might focus on messaging around free delivery, whereas a secure checkout might be more important to consumers in another.
Looking from a top-level country perspective again, an important factor that you’d miss if you were to translate campaigns without proper localisation is seasonality, local sales and holidays. In France and Italy for example, you may find that B2B customers in certain industries shut up shop for the summer and marketing spend would be better assigned to other months of the year, while advertising for mothers’ and fathers’ day gifts could be at completely the wrong time if following a UK calendar in your international markets. The chances are, if you’re not creating campaigns to cater for local sales days such as French Days and Singles Day, then you’ll be losing out to local competitors. Keep an eye on their activity, pricing, and how they position themselves in the market, to gain insight into their customers and spot gaps that could let you gain an advantage over them.
Hopefully the above examples have demonstrated even a small portion of the depth and breadth of localised paid media, and why you can’t simply “translate your existing campaigns”. There are many more factors than these to consider, but even making some effort towards understanding and adapting to your local market will help you integrate your brand faster, and deliver more effective paid media campaigns. In simple terms: a higher return on investment! If you’re looking for a partner to help kick-start your localised paid media advertising, Clickoo can support with the insights, strategy and management of your campaigns across any platform and in 30+ languages. Get in touch to find out more.