How to tackle your PPC strategy in non-English speaking countries

Want to know more about having a successful PPC strategy in non-English speaking countries? In this blog, we will tell you all about it!
If you want to reach more potential customers, one of the steps you can take is advertising. Strategies and setups for these types of campaigns are largely the same. However, the costs per click on an ad vary a lot from country to country.
For example, compared to the US average costs per click on an ad, the costs of the same ad in France are up to 60% less. This means that you can reach more people with the same budget or save costs when still reaching the same amount of people looking for your services or products. This disparity also applies to certain verticals. The average costs per click on a keyword phrase like ‘hr services’ vary from 7,60 USD a click in Canada to 33,56 USD a click in the US.
Acknowledging these differences and taking them into consideration when setting up your PPC strategy abroad is very important if you want to keep costs in line while focusing on the best results possible. In this blog, we would like to give you a few tips on what to think of when you're setting up your Ads strategy abroad!

Local domain extension shows credibility

We cannot stress it enough. Having a local domain extension shows credibility and trustworthiness for locals looking for your services or products. For any business, small or enterprise, building trust with potential customers or business partners is key. When you have a local domain extension and landing page set up, this shows the customer that you know about how their business is done locally.

When Googling for services or products, Europeans are also more inclined to click on a search result with a local domain extension. While the ad copy itself is most important for creating a high click-through rate, a local TLD (Top Level Doman) does create instant relatability.

We advise to use country-specific TLD's like: .de,, .nl or even .eu if you want to create one website to service the entire EU. Make sure you do translate the content into several languages since there are differences within the EU on the level of English-speaking residents.

Money, money, money

It is convenient that most of the countries in Europe are using the same currency, the Euro. However, the European Union is not the same as Europe. Some countries that are in Europe and part of the European Union, are not part of the European Monetary Union. It's best to do some research before you start advertising to find out what currency you need to be using in your ads or landing pages.

Let's say the potential customers you want to reach are based in the UK, Norway, and Germany. Both the UK and Norway lie in Europe, but are not part of the European Union or the Monetary Union and have their own currency. Germany is part of the European Monetary Union and uses Euros. You can choose to share your price list in USD. However, people will generally not want to bother converting it to their own currency.

The fix to the solution is simple. Since you are creating landing pages for each language, make sure you also convert the prices to the correct currency. Obviously, exchange rates vary from time to time but it's good to give potential customers an indication.

Get to know your target audience

Without knowing whom to target, it can be hard to reach the right audience at the right time. Especially if you are not targeting end-users, but people within corporate businesses in a B2B setting. The ideal customer profile will look different for every business, but there are certain demographics that are specific to each country. These can be useful for you when setting up advertising to reach them.

Working hours

In the US, the standard workday is from 9-5, Monday through Friday if you work in an office setting. However, in some areas of work employees start later in the day and work until late. Knowing the working days and hours of your audience is important to be able to reach them at the right time. It's quite possible that you'll be able to reach them during their commute to work by public transport. Or during the day when they're at work scrolling through LinkedIn. Look at some of these characteristics of your ideal prospects and define the best time to reach them!

How do they search?

Across the globe, mobile usage supplants desktop use. Everyone has a mobile phone these days and uses it a lot. For calling friends, navigating their way through a city, and to search for a nearby pet store or coffee shop. Search queries are changing to more colloquial speech. Back in the day, you would search for "Give me the nearest pet store in my area". These days, a simple search query like "Pet store" already gives you a few of the nearest pet stores based on your actual location. This shift in a way of searching for information is important to take into consideration when advertising locally. Sometimes the so-called ‘local pack’ will show up if Google finds it relevant, which leaves less space for you as an advertiser to promote your service or product.

Celebrations and seasonality 

With Europe being a fairly large continent with a lot of different countries, cultures, and customs, it's imaginable that not all holidays are celebrated on the same day. For example, Father's Day is celebrated on totally different days during the year in Europe:

  • The Netherlands: third Sunday of June
  • Italy: on Saint Joseph's Day, March 19th
  • Norway: second Sunday of November
  • Germany: on Ascension Day, different date each year
  • Belgium: second Sunday of June or June 14th, in Antwerp it's celebrated on March 19th

The example above shows how much difference there is between a few countries in celebrating a day like Father's Day. If you sell products that could be a great Father's Day gift, it would be wise to learn more about the customs on Father's Day in the countries you want to advertise in.

Also, think about seasonality. In Northern Europe, it's much colder for a longer period of time. Searches for garden sets, swimsuits, and sunscreen might not peak until summer peeks around the corner. Where in the southern parts of Europe, temperatures are very pleasant throughout the whole year.

Allocate your budget correctly and set up a plan on how and when to reach your ideal customers at the right time within the right circumstances.

Usage of devices

We know that practically everyone has a mobile phone these days. But depending on age, country, and internet penetration, the actual use of a mobile phone or other devices vary. For example, the UK has an 83% smartphone penetration rate. This means that 83% of the total population has a smartphone. In Spain, this rate is lower. Only 74% of the population has a smartphone. In Italy, about 60% of all the inhabitants have one.

This shows that when you advertise in the UK, the number of people who will find your ad on their mobile phone is going to be a lot higher than in Italy. We know that mobile users are often comparing or browsing and that many people are converting through desktop computers. Segment your campaigns accordingly and do your research before diving into a campaign without any previous knowledge about the usage of devices in your target country. No country is the same!

Don't want to bother with your PPC strategy abroad?

We hope we inspired you to do more research on your possible target audiences before setting up your PPC strategy abroad. But if you feel overwhelmed, just don't have the time, or want to consult with local professionals within the digital marketing spectrum, give us a call! We will be happy to assist you, as we have done for North American companies for over 25 years.

If you’re looking to do sales in these countries, our digital marketing services can help you to reach out to the right people, increase your brand awareness and kickstart your sales. Together we will define the strategy, select the right target audiences and the right channels for your company and goals.

If you’re interested in more detailed information or the opportunities for your brand in Europe, then please contact me at

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