5 dos and don’ts of managing a new international PPC account


You’re a US-based PPC manager, and you’ve just been tasked with overseeing an international account for the first time. What do you do?

If you’re like many, the thought of managing international accounts gives you the sweats, but there’s also probably some part of you that’s intrigued.

Either way, taking on international accounts can definitely add some serious skills to your overall experience.

So the question is: How do you boldly go where you’ve never gone before?

In this post, I’ll walk you through a few dos and don’ts when tackling your first international PPC account.

1. DO treat the international account as a new client

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at your company or with your client for 10 years — the minute they ask you to manage their international account, you’re a newbie. And it’s time to start researching.

Go through the same process you would if you were onboarding a new client or getting to know a new employer. For my agency, that means a thorough interview process.

The key is to know that this is not a copy-and-paste job. Culture, volume, conversion rates and cost per acquisition all vary per location, and the strategies do, too.

For example, one client of ours who was successful in advertising webinars in the US via PPC wouldn’t even entertain the idea in Europe, as the sales process was completely different due to cultural differences.

2. DO consider brand recognition internationally

Flagship regions tend to do better with branded campaigns; it makes sense if a company launched in the US 20 years ago that it has more brand power than its international counterpart that’s only five years old.

In these cases, you’ll often allocate more of your budget to non-brand campaigns internationally to better preserve the overall budget and start to build awareness around the products or services themselves.

And speaking of brand, one thing to establish early on is if there are brand guidelines globally, or if you need to start creating them. Things like colors, logo usage and so on help set the stage for what’s “on brand” when you’re creating ads.

3. DO find out what PPC channels work globally

Much of this is trial and error, and it includes tapping into historical wins and losses of the advertising account plus understanding the advertising guidelines for the country you’re operating in.

For example, remarketing for one of our clients with locations in Europe and India has produced less-than-stellar results, while the US market relies on it heavily.

A lot of times, you’ll try what has worked best in your region on another market, like India, just to see if it sticks, and if it doesn’t, you now have a better understanding of the landscape in that country.

4. DON’T bet on your current landing page strategy

Just because your landing page strategy works well for a US market does not mean it will work in other markets. Obviously, there are language differences, but there are also cultural differences that impact persuasion and user experience.

For example, longer landing pages tend to work well for one of our UK clients, but not so for the US market. Again, a lot of what you’ll do is offer an initial strategy to your international team based on what you know works, and rely on the expertise of those who know their market best to tweak it, and then test, test, test.

5. DON’T expect the same results

If the international arm of the business is currently converting at one percent and expects you to boost that up to five percent, like the US is enjoying, set realistic expectations.

There are a lot of factors to consider when understanding conversion rates, including the budgets allocated to the international accounts, so it’s important to educate your global teams early on.

In sum, international PPC can be exciting and rewarding for global companies, but there are a lot of moving parts. If you have the opportunity, go ahead and broaden your horizons with international PPC. The lessons learned in your journey will benefit both your own skill set and the company at large.

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