Get more impressions for your Google Ads in international markets (no translations required)

“Choose the language of the sites that you’d like your ads to appear on. Be sure to write your ads in the language that you target, since AdWords doesn’t translate ads or keywords.”

That’s scary right? You don’t want to waste money showing ads to people when they can’t even understand the language. But here’s the thing. There’s a large percentage of people who search and use the internet in both English and their native tongue — German, Dutch, Spanish etc.

Take Germany for example. Wikipedia quotes from a EU report that about 50% of the population speak both English and German. But only 0.3% actually prefer English as their first language!

I noticed when I recently met some German friends that although they are fluent in English and consume a lot of the internet in English their Google language preference was set to German. When they searched in English, Google showed them English search results and German webpages if they searched in German. And we weren’t even in Germany!
Ads showing for ‘email marketing tool’ in Germany for German language on google.de in Ad Preview Tool

So why shouldn’t you advertise in foreign languages?

Now the thing to remember about Adwords is that even if you are targeting foreign languages you are still advertising for English keywords. And your ad will be in English. The risk of wasting moneys on clicks from non-English users is minimal!

Well what’s stopping you from testing it? If you want to check for search volume specifically for a particular language head on over to Google’s Global Market Finder.

GMF doesn’t show any volume for searches for ‘email marketing tool’ in English in Germany but here’s the volume for the same search term in German.

Best practice

Just clone a campaign for your best converting keyword group. Turn off all location options so that it targets the world. Change language targeting to one specific language — for example German. Run this campaign for a week and analyse what happens.

Here’s my prediction from my own tests:

  • You will get far more impressions for the exact same keywords in the foreign language compared to English — for some I got 3x!
  • The CTR and conversion rate will be lower for the country compared to its low-volume English counterpart but the numbers will be closer to the other high volume campaigns set up for US and UK.
  • CPC and CPA will be lower than the high-volume US and UK campaigns!

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