In a post-globalization world in which companies big and small now operate internationally, it is important to understand how your marketing schemes have to change to adapt across national borders. Even the smallest niche companies may find an international audience with the right product, while larger service companies regularly work across international boundaries. In order to succeed in the process, it is vital to understand how differences can impact the effectiveness of international ads. Here are four tips to help you improve your international ad targeting.
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Use Distinct Campaigns for Each Country
First and foremost, the worst thing a brand can do is deliver content that reads like a copy-paste from that which is displayed in other countries. When you’re working across international boundaries, there are a number of reasons to set up distinct campaigns. For starters, it allows you to tailor the content being delivered to the distinct readers/viewers in different countries. Perhaps equally important, it allows you to track performance in each country. For example, if you’re running ad campaigns in America, Spain, France, and England, it would be helpful to know which tactics are working and where. What works in America may not work in Spain. Using separate campaigns allows you to tweak individual campaigns for greater appeal in varying countries.
Employ Both Location and Language Targeting
International ad campaigns aren’t always about targeting a foreign audience. For example, consider the situation of an American living abroad in Australia for a short period of time. A company selling life insurance to Americans living abroad would need to set up international ad campaigns that target Americans living in Australia based on the cities in the country with the greatest population of American expats and create content that employs terms common in American English rather than Australian English.
Conversely, that same company may be licensed to sell life insurance policies in both the United States and Australia. In this case, content should be targeted by locations where it is most likely to attract buyers and use language that speaks clearly to an Australian reader. For example, content should showcase knowledge of the difference in life insurance tax laws in Australia (premiums are tax-deductible) and America (premiums are not tax-deductible).
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Build Keyword Lists that Account for Linguistic Differences
On the subject of language, this is one of the greatest hurdles for brands doing business internationally. Believe it or not, it can even trip up brands working in English-speaking countries like England and Australia because the terminology can differ between the three nations. For example, plumbing brands that offer products for the bathroom need to understand the subtle differences in terminology when it comes to incorporating targeted keywords into content.
Marketing plumbing products or solutions for the bathroom can get confusing quickly. For example, the term lav or lavatory in England refers to any bathroom or toilet, while American use this term strictly for the bathroom on an airplane and wouldn’t think to use that term in searches. Similarly, the English use the term loo to refer to the bathroom as a whole, not just the toilet within. Alternatively, you may find that water closet is used. This refers to a public or private toilet without a bath in the room.
Understanding linguistic differences is one of the most important steps in international ad targeting. It is vital that the reader in another country isn’t confused by the terms you use, even when your audience in two different countries speaks English.
Don’t Forget About Different Time Zones
Finally, make sure that you take into account the different time zones. There’s nothing worse than spending money on ads that appear when your audience in one nation is awake and the other is asleep. As you tailor unique campaigns to different nations, make sure that you set different times for ads to display for times when consumers are awake and times when your brand can respond to inquiries quickly. On average, the time difference between Australia and the United States is 14 hours. For example, the Australian capital city of Canberra is 14 hours ahead of the US capital city of Washington D.C.