Last month, we explored the importance of launching paid search campaigns in different languages. In short: if people who don’t speak your native language buy from your store, your ability to target them with ads in their own language gives you a significant competitive advantage. But how do you actually launch new markets? For department stores who stock a range of products from different designers it can seem like a gargantuan task.

To launch paid search activity in a new market (Text Ads, Google Shopping or both), you need to be well prepared.  If you want to avoid AdWords creeping into your dreams whilst your launch date keeps getting postponed, here’s our step-by-step guide to help you get it right.

To keep things practical, we’ve based this guide on a real-life launch from one of our British clients who launched a new French account for their well-known department store.

By following the steps below, you’ll be well-equipped to take advantage of new, promising markets through your Text Ads and Google Shopping activity in no time.

Before you launch

Hold up! Before you dive in, there’s a whole lot of stuff that needs to be done. Launching successfully in a new market is all about preparation, so here’s how to get ready and set up like a pro.

1. Start early

Plan ideally two months in advance of the official launch date.  Make sure you have qualified resources in place, like a native speaker who can help with accurate translation and a multilingual website to receive traffic from the paid search activity.

2. Analyze

Be sure to analyze potential markets before making a decision. Ask yourself if it will be beneficial to tackle a brand-new territory, or go local in one of your most important regions. Look at performance metrics, such as clicks, impressions, CTR, cost and revenue, to help you make the best choice.

It’s crucial that you understand your company’s existing markets, as well as the new market you are attempting to enter. This involves evaluating any potential financial and economic implications of your expansion.

3. Keyword research

Start first with your brand campaigns, as these generally catch the most traffic and don’t need as much optimization as the others.

To build designer campaigns, you need to recognize all designers featured on your online store as keywords.

Finally, assemble your generic campaigns with the products you are selling online. This helps ensure that a significant number of search terms can convert.

You could also create long-tail keywords for your best-performing designers. For this task, you can take examples from pre-existing designer campaigns. Don’t produce long-tail keywords for every designer though, because they are more specific and tend to receive less search traffic. You can also use localized SQs (Search Queries) which are already performing well for existing campaigns in your native language.

Negative keywords are also important if you don’t want to spend money on undesirable search terms.

You might also want to translate ads from your existing account. Just remember to check if the name of your brand or designers have different meanings in the new language.

4.  Consider different designers

Align with every designer listed on your site regarding ad copy guidelines, so that any vocabulary that is specific to them can be defined. In the case of our client, we had to use the word “order” instead of “buy”, and “polyvalent” rather than “easy to wear”. The capitalization of letters might also be different in other languages, as well as the format of delivery costs.

Be careful with trademark issues too. Some designers may not whitelist you, thus prohibiting you from using their name in your ad copy. They might also request that you state clearly in the ads that yours is not the official website for their products.

Checking requirements like these goes beyond ad copy, including changes to elements such as ad extension or link structure. For instance, the word “shoes’’ used in a Final URL for our client had to be changed to the French ‘’chaussures’’. Cover all your bases.

Setting up the campaign

So, you’ve checked and double checked the preparations, and you’re ready to take this launch to the next level. Setup is one of those things that takes patience and a good eye for detail. Go steady and make sure you have the following covered…

1. Language

Don’t forget to change the language settings in the original account. You should exclude the new target language (in our account, the French one), from the original account settings. Failing to do this may result in your new Text or Google Shopping ads not displaying.

2. Bidding

Bid modifiers are an essential part of deciding where, when and how you want your ads to appear. Ads perform differently in each country, which means it’s necessary to alter their setup accordingly. There are different bid modifiers to look at when you make these changes: device, location, ad scheduling and RLSA (Remarketing List for Search Ads) – the impact of each should be analyzed to ensure the best performance in your new market.

To create the location bid modifiers in our own example, we made a geo analysis and added a positive bid adjustment for French cities generating high revenue and bearing a low COS. We added a negative percentage for cities performing badly. Paris, as the fashion capital, bears most of the traffic, and its bid was adjusted accordingly as you can see in the table below.

During launch

The show isn’t over once you hit launch; this is an ongoing process that needs care and attention to get it safely off the ground. Here are some tips to ensure your campaign stays on track once it’s live.

1. Tracking

Ensure new campaigns are tracked in your reports. It sounds obvious, but if they’re not included and set up correctly from the start, everything will be skewed. Check your existing report interface and template to make sure you’re correctly tracking activity.

2. Run SQRs

You should regularly run SQRs (Search Query Reports), using the results to help constantly build new keywords, adgroups and campaigns, and add negatives. The frequency of these queries will depend on the traffic your campaigns are capturing as well any additions to your website’s product offering.

3. Bid up aggressively

Push your bids – especially for mid and long-tail keywords – to drive as much traffic as possible through your campaigns at an early stage. This will make it easier for you to make relevant bidding decisions in the upcoming weeks.

Tip: Push designers or products which are important for your brand and revenue.

Also, be aware that new markets need more budget to gain traction, so prepare to funnel more spend towards these accounts to achieve best performance.

4. Analyze your bid modifiers’ performance

Regularly analyze your mobile bids, because it’s likely that their behavior in another language/region is different. To make changes on a bid level, don’t hesitate to optimize ad scheduling, which helps you manage the amount being spent according to performance and demand.

When helping our client expand into France, we decided after one month to increase the mobile bid modifiers for the designers that generated significant revenue. We also added ad scheduling with a higher percentage on Sundays – the day with the highest revenue.

5. A/B test new ad copy

To find the catchiest ad copy for your new market audience, make sure to test different USPs (Unique Selling Propositions). You can use the Lab Tab in Google AdWords to run different experiences and implement them if they show positive potential. The moral of the story: always experiment!

Little changes which might not seem relevant could make a huge difference, so play with  different Paths until you get the perfect mix.

6. Compare the performance of top areas

Here we can show from our own example how to compare performance of the top areas.

Clicks per category

Clicks_new_market

 

One month after  launch, we observed that the clicks in the new French account (FR/FR) increased by 2429% compared to the  original English one (FR/EN), which considerably decreased. We predicted this outcome, because the likelihood of people in France searching with French – rather than English – terms is higher. The English ads are still delivering a minimal amount of traffic for the small number of non-French searches still taking place.

Clicks per device

Clicks_per_device

We noticed a similar effect on different device levels, with mobile capturing the biggest cut of the traffic. From this insight, we could deduce that in France, French-speaking consumers tend to search using mobile, whilst non-French-speaking consumers search more actively on desktop/laptop.

Top Designers

Top_designers_new_market

The new French account also yielded more traffic thanks to the higher budget. We also observed the recurrence of one particular designer in both accounts, who appeared to be of French origin.

Conclusion

Looking at the results from our example with the UK department store, the launch of the client’s localized account was a success, triggering more traffic than the English one. We had to be patient when waiting to see any clear results, because when launching a new market, it can take weeks before the campaigns generate revenue.

Through our example, we also came to recognize that the top designers in one market may well perform differently in another new market. With this in mind, it’s important to stay on top of any bid optimizations that need to take place because of this divergence.

Keys to success

For search marketers attempting to expand into new markets, there are many steps to take, especially in the early setup stages of the account. The most important things to remember are:

  • You can’t be frugal – launching new markets requires extra budget to get them off the ground.
  • Experiment! – you have a lot to learn about your new market, and the best way to go about it is to test and experiment until you find out what works best.
  • Always employ negative keywords – you don’t want to waste money.
  • Focus on audiences and locations that yield the best performance – using bid modifiers to squeeze the most out of your top performers is a solid strategy.

If you’re thinking about launching Google Shopping activity in new markets, we’ve developed Camato to remove as many layers of manual work as possible. By automating campaign structuring and bid management, you’re left with more time to get to know your new customers.

Thinking of expanding into a new market? We can help.

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