5 Key Steps to a Successful International Advertising Campaign

Advertising campaign: “A coordinated series of linked advertisements with a single idea or theme,” where advertising is defined as “the activity or profession of producing information for promoting the sale of commercial products or services.” (BusinessDictionary)
International advertising campaign: “A coordinated series of linked advertisements with a single idea or theme,” but with the help of Google Translate 😉

As an actor in a changing world, you are more connected than ever and you want to use the web to expand your business internationally. You already manage your own AdWords campaigns but aren’t sure what strategy to apply internationally. No need to panic! Index will guide you through this perilous but rewarding process thanks to 5 tried and true key steps. Also, as continuing support for you, we will be recommending useful tools throughout this article. To discover our secrets to success, it’s right this way …

Let’s begin with a brief overview of the current world situation. Today, it cannot be emphasized enough, it is essential to be ambitious, to think ahead, to see beyond borders. No, this is not a utopian ideal. This vision is entirely possible. For thirty years now, economists, sociologists, politicians, and marketers have had one word on their lips: globalization. The processes of trade liberalization and internationalization of transactions have changed the marketing landscape. In addition to exporting products or services, it is now equally necessary to export your ads.

If you’re thinking of moving into new territory and are ready to conquer new customers through your AdWords advertising campaigns, you have the right attitude! But, as the saying goes, “the future belongs to those who prepare for it.”

Here are the 5 key steps our agency recommends to help you get there (with a no-migraine guarantee):

  1. Conduct market research

Nobody said to jump in with both feet right away. First, a preliminary phase is needed: market research. Here, there are two possibilities. One is that you don’t have a concrete idea of which market you want to open up. The other is that you already know which country to target but you’re not sure which strategy to use.

In the first case, we strongly recommend focusing on markets culturally similar to yours in terms of language, religion, or geography. Then, it is important to evaluate the demand for the products and services you offer. Consider the following random situation. You are a company that markets maple cookies and you want to start selling them in the United States. However, in conducting your analysis, you discover that people there don’t have much of a taste for maple syrup. In fact, your products will not be particularly well received. So, it’s goodbye to maple cookies in the US. Time to find a new, more friendly, market.

Another key factor to be taken into account is the competition already present in your target market. At this point, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Who is your competition? What is their market share? How long have they been active? In short, the kinds of questions to help you decide if the results will be worth the effort.

These studies are long and require an excellent understanding of marketing practices. They may also require the funds to partner with a specialized agency. Many small businesses, however, don’t have the capacity for such partnerships. Google Global Market Finder, then, is a valuable tool for you because it helps you find audiences that are potentially interested in your product or service.

In the second case, you already know which market to target and just want to analyze your potential success there. If so, you can run a check using Global Market Finder or, to get a complete analysis of your audience, using Google Trends.

  1. Tailor your website to your target market

This may seem redundant, or a little basic, but many carefully prepared new market launches do not reach their intended audience because a company has neglected to align their website with their international ads. Imagine this scenario. As a Canadian business aiming to expand in Brazil, you analyze your market, you create, organize, and manage all of your ads accordingly. Then, a user sees your ad in Portuguese, clicks on it, and is redirected to a site in French and English. Disaster! The user doesn’t understand either of those two languages, wonders what in the world is going on, and bam, becomes an instant bounce rate statistic.

To avoid this scenario, here are some points that deserve attention:

  1. Export your experience, successes, and failures

In life, it is said that we must always learn from our mistakes, transforming our past failures into future successes. Well, the same can be said for marketing. Markets are never identical, but you can build on what has already worked in your own. Use the same structure and analyze your impact in the target country. This will save you time and money. Equally possible, a campaign that didn’t work in one country may be successful in another. As the old proverb says, “You never know until you try.” Working directly in AdWords using the free conversion tracking tool or your ever-present partner, Google Analytics, you can easily calculate the ROI of your campaign. If you’re feeling a little lost, this quick tutorial from Google is just what you need:

  1. Customize your campaigns

This is where you move on to the crucial step of preparing and launching your new international advertising campaign. To take action, follow this process:

  1. Structuring your account: the most common methods

As the studies of British academic Joan Woodward proved, there is no one “best” organizational structure because different structures work best under different conditions. The same applies to this phase of your campaign. Establishing a hierarchy of information for your account will greatly simplify creating your reports, preparing your budgets, and managing the account. We suggest one of the following methods, based on the Google model:

Obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages to each method. No method is optimal. So, go with your gut and experiment!

International development is no small affair, but a little help and some experience can point you in the right direction. The tools and solutions discussed in this article are suggestions from our experts, developed as part of our AdWords campaign management services. We would also like to remind you that there is no optimal solution that applies to most cases. We have found, however, that there are specific solutions for each company and campaign.


If you are also an expert in this field and would like to propose solutions to our readers on how to succeed in their international advertising campaigns, please do not hesitate to share your comments.