For many companies, international or global paid search campaigns offer growth opportunities that might be difficult to replicate with domestic campaigns, especially where those campaigns are already mature.
However, setting up and managing global paid search campaigns isn’t as simple as translating your ad copy and hitting ‘go’; you need to take into account the intricacies of the countries you’re targeting and reflect them in your advertising.
Global Paid Search Management: Best Practice
There are many ways to manage international search campaigns. And, naturally, everyone has differing opinions on best practice. But these essentially boil down to two main options: keeping all your international campaigns under one ad account, or managing them separately, segmented by country.
There are strong arguments for and against. It can make a lot of sense to separate each country into different ad accounts - a single account would mean a mash of time zones, languages and currencies all in one place.
But is it necessary? There are clear benefits to having all your account data in one place and it can improve efficiency when optimising the account. Of course, in this case you need to be aware of what to look out for.
Below we weigh up the points for and against the varying management styles to help you decide which best suits your business.
Keeping all your client’s data in one place allows for ease of management, as it can save time switching between accounts. Having one account with all your spend and optimisations can help you understand the bigger picture when reporting at top level and ensures nothing gets missed.
To help reporting at lower levels such as ad group, effective use of consistent naming conventions can help you filter between different countries more easily.
Being consistent will enable you to set and save a campaign filter for all campaigns that are targeting a specific country. This means you can quickly flick between country performance more efficiently than digging out each campaign in your MCC.
The same result can also be achieved by adding country labels at campaign, ad group, ad and keyword level.
Differences in time zones can cause big issues if you are regularly using countdown timers, ad schedules and automated rules. But as long as you are aware of the time difference between the one you have set for your account and the target country there shouldn’t be an issue.
Settings such as countdown timers, ad schedules and automated rules are all optimisations that do not need to regularly be changed. As such, differing time zones do not warrant the need to separate countries.
And remember that if you do set your ad scheduling incorrectly, you can always pause your ads throughout key trading hours!
Possibly the most compelling argument for separating ad accounts out by country is currency. If you’re running an account for a business that is set up to trade in local currencies and is required to be billed in that currency, then the accounts have to be split.
However, if your team is based in a single country targeting international markets then both account management options are back on the table. In this case the decision should be made based on the reporting requirements.
On the flipside, the best argument for keeping everything together is budget control. Everyone in the industry is aware of the tendency of both Google and Bing to overshoot daily budget in an attempt to maximise account performance.
While this is useful if you are operating with strictly discreet budgets, separate accounts are likely the best approach. This approach will allow you to set monthly insertion orders (IOs) confident in the knowledge that it will only be spent in the desired country.
A one account set up needs a slightly more fluid approach to the budget to allow for cross spend that will arise across any given month. This can be managed, but not guaranteed.
So should I split or run within a single campaign?
There are strong arguments for and against single or multiple account setups for international management of paid search campaigns. Of course, your preference could just boil down to personal preference or account size.
Depending on the size of your account, whether spend based or physical build size, it may make sense to separate your account by country. This would help to split the mass of data into manageable chunks and keep spend in the right place.
If, though, you have your main market in one country with a few countries acting as side pots it would save you a considerable amount of time to have it all in one place.