Pay-per-click. It’s a reasonably budget-wise advertising strategy if done correctly. It will certainly pay for itself if the bid price is reasonable, the right audience is reached, and solid sales are generated. On top of this, it also provides great analytics so can easily be tracked.
Huge enterprises with equally huge audiences (eg Coca-Cola) don’t use PPC, because, with their huge advertising budgets they can blanket advertise to the whole world. They don’t need to target anyone specifically – they just show everyone their logo or translated slogan and that is enough.
For businesses that do need to target more specific audiences, PPC can be a good answer (especially if they localize).
What is Localization?
The term has a couple of meanings.
The first is if a business is using PPC advertising to target people near their brick and mortar business (a franchise, a retail store, etc.). In this case, PPC advertising can be geographically or demographically targeted at consumers with nearby zip codes, appropriate income brackets, gender, etc. In this way, businesses can target consumers who are likely to come into that specific establishment or shop.
This is the first type of localisation – targeting ads locally. But there is another type of localization.
If a business has expanded its target customer base to foreign languages/regions/countries, then localization refers to translating and localizing all of their content. This includes their websites, blogs, social media posts, and advertising. By translating into those target languages, and ensuring that language, visuals, etc. are all culturally appropriate for those audiences, they can vastly improve their results.
Benefits of Localization
Whether a company is geo-targeting locally, in a different part of the country, or overseas, there are some clear benefits for localizing PPC accounts.
1. Searchers use keywords.
People often use keywords to search for businesses and products in their own locale. On top of this, foreign-speaking searchers prefer to search in their own languages (although many do so in English).
If you are engaged in PPC advertising, you should be checking your search queries and keywords by looking at the relevant reports. When you do this, you may find that your competitors are using search terms in foreign languages for foreign-speaking audiences/countries. If so then you would be wise to do the same. Even if they are not, you would still be wise to do so. You want your target customers to believe that you value them – and nothing says this more than by literally speaking their language.
It would also be wise to not just use keywords but to localize your entire ad in the language of those consumers. Certainly, you can use Google Translate as the simplest method of translating your PPC ad copy. Even if you do this though, you will probably want to run any translation by a native speaker of the language. Phrases in foreign languages often have different word arrangement, and you don’t want to look foolish or lacking in attention to that kind of detail.
2. Consumers Want Local Services
Obviously, if a consumer wants a carpet cleaning service they will conduct a search for local services. After all, the cleaners will have to come to their home with the equipment. This helps local companies when local keywords are used in search.
Similarly, there may be a software development company in California whose target customer base is small business owners all over the country (or planet, for that matter). Certainly, if the software is somewhat complex requiring collaboration between company experts and the customer, someone will be sent to do that job. This makes the concept of popping up in local search is a good one.
These two examples of companies will do well to localize their ads both for locales and languages. By doing this these ads become a great way to get qualified traffic.
Companies do need to be careful, however, that potential customers do not see this strategy as a “bait and switch.” This means presenting yourself as a local company in ads, only to show yourself as something else on the landing page. Experimenting with different wording on both ads and landing pages may be called for until the right combinations are found.
PPC is a cheap form of advertising if companies can keep bids relatively low. The benefit is that those who do click on an ad are probably more serious about a product/service than those who are the recipients of wide-ranging expensive “old media” campaigns.
Radio advertising, for example, can be somewhat productive (especially as commuters listen in their cars). However, when websites or phone numbers are provided in a radio ad, how are people supposed to remember them? Also, results from radio ads are hard to track for the advertiser.
TV, on the other hand, is generally so expensive that it is just for the “big boys.” So, that leaves digital advertising (or mailers – that end up in trash cans).
The great thing about PPC campaigns is that every lead can be tracked to its source. If a PPC campaign is working (and companies do have to give it some time), then a business can easily tell and continue running. If a specific PPC campaign is failing, it is easy to see and revise and/or dump it.
To put it another way – if that software California software company is not getting traffic and leads in Missouri or Spain, it will know.
4. PPC is a Good Complement to Other Marketing
Companies have many tools available for marketing and sales. Given the technology available today, digital marketing has become a true science. Consumers can be segmented into specific audiences; they can be targeted and re-targeted; their purchasing behaviours can be tracked (even though that sounds creepy to some) and their demographics can be known.
All this gives marketers a much more efficient means to place advertising on the web – on social media, through email campaigns, through direct paid advertising, and, yes, through PPC. It can be used to reinforce and enhance the other campaigns that marketers are already running.
By analysing results from other types of campaigns, PPC ads can be used to locally or demographically target where it is likely to be effective. For example, imagine a TV ad across a whole state of county drives lots of people to a specific branch of your carpet cleaning business. To take advantage of this you could then create a PPC campaign just targeting the neighbourhoods around that branch (as you already know people in that area are interested in your brand).