One issue I’ve seen with international PPC is how to keep track of your spend and ROI abroad compared to at home. When setting up billing, you can either choose to use the target market currency or use your home currency. There are pros and cons to both, though I don’t intend to discuss them too much here, as most advertisers would have already made a decision a long time ago.
What is critical is that regardless of the currency you select, Google’s (and maybe Bing’s) internal auction is converted to USD in order for AdRank to be calculated. So without actually changing your bids abroad, you are bidding more and less aggressively based on currency fluctuations and competitor currencies.
Below, I’ll share a dashboard that we use for international PPC clients at Brainlabs (my employer) to track these movements and make adjustments where necessary.
There are many reasons you may need currency data. Here are a few we thought of:
When analyzing your business across markets, it’s difficult to compare cost-related metrics unless everything is the same currency.
You might also want to check out the volatility of a currency before moving into a new market, especially if you’re going to need to convert money to make payments — if the exchange rate changes by 10 percent over the course of a month, you may end up paying much more at the end of the month than you would have at the start.
Like many of our clients, you may do the majority of your business in the country in which you’re based but have branched out to do some international business, too. Whether your operations are digital or otherwise, it’s usually preferable to have these international ventures use the local currency. For AdWords, this means setting up a different account in a different currency and getting billed for it at the end of the month in this currency.
It also makes reporting a bit of a nightmare — if you’re advertising in the US, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas and Bermuda, you have to manually look up the exchange rate for each of these each day just to know how much you’re spending. Using a currency conversion function makes this automatic, keeping the exchange rate current, so that you always know your total spend in US dollars.
Currency conversion software can cost anything from $5 to $1,000 a month, depending on how heavy your usage is, how frequently you want rates to update and how flexible you want to be with the currencies you use. In general, the more recent and accurate you want your data to be, the more you are going to pay.
Back in 2011, Google had its own finance service that retrieved exchange rates (and other financial data) for free, making it easy to perform currency conversions in scripts. The service itself has now been deprecated, but a method to access this data lives on through the GOOGLEFINANCE function in Google Sheets.
Now to the Brainlabs Currency Converter dashboard.
To use it, click on the File menu, and then “Make a copy….” Save the copy to your Google Drive, and then it’s ready to use.
The sheet has four pages:
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