4 international marketing faux pas and how to avoid them

When you build your global business, you want to ensure that all of your PPC digital marketing efforts follow suit. It makes sense that what you are doing in one country in regards to your marketing translates well into another market, just like any language would. Unfortunately, this isn’t always plain sailing and there are a few simple mistakes that can easily be avoided.

Here we take a look at four common international marketing faux pas – and how to avoid them when launching activity in a new market.

1. Getting Lost in translation

We’ve seen countless examples where ad copy has been a word-for-word translation without any consideration of the sentence structure or local nuances. This will prevent a natural reading flow – and most likely prevent any potential clicks too.

This part seems the most obvious but is often overlooked. Not only is it important to target the dominant language in each market, but delve a bit deeper and adapt to other languages. Take for example the UK, where you might think to only target English as it is the official language of the country. However, it’s also important not to neglect Polish as it’s the second most spoken language in this market. Having this granular linguistic targeting within your account is important as the search could be coming from any one of these languages and you’ll want to capture your audience using a language they understand.

You might have the greatest product or service for your customers, but without the correct and localised translation, potential buyers will be deterred from purchase. You’ve worked hard to get the best sounding content and copy for your campaign, so don’t let this get lost in translation!

Get your creative translated by native speakers with a fluency and understanding of the language. Customers will be far more likely to engage with what you are offering if they can understand it well. At Croud we utilise our Croudie Network to ensure that we only use Croudies who are native in the appropriate language to ensure all of our copy reads well across the globe.

2. Thinking Google is the only option

It’s not surprising how many different search engines exist for different countries, and it’s important to remember that Google isn’t always the most popular one! Therefore, it is imperative to focus your PPC activity on the most relevant search engine for each particular market; be this Yandex for Russia, Google for the United Kingdom, Seznam in the Czech Republic, Naver in South Korea or Baidu for China. You need to be where your customers are – it’s no good investing in the wrong search engine when you expand internationally.

3. Not understanding the local market

A key factor to consider is creating campaigns that are hyper-localised – if this is relevant to your business. Take time to research and understand the locations surrounding your business as, by showing the user that you understand the area, you will inevitably create more relatable creative. This will provoke a response and engagement in the user as you are adapting to their environment.

This ties in with understanding local working culture and utilising ad scheduling – especially if you are B2B. The working week in Israel, for example, is Sunday to Thursday in most cases, whereas it runs from Saturday to Thursday in Djibouti and Monday to Friday in France. Tailor your ad scheduling to what works for the way your customers behave in each market to avoid missing out on potential conversions!

4. Neglecting competitor insight

Another important tip is to get to know who your competitors are. You may find that your average costs-per-click fluctuate depending on the competitor landscape. Keep a close eye on the auction insight page to help see where you stand against your competition in each market. You may see the same competitor across a number of markets but notice that they’re only pushing in one particular market. We’ve sometimes seen campaigns drive substantial spend just to compete for ‘x’ position. It’s all about the context of where your campaign fits within the landscape – so be aware and react appropriately to local competition by devising a comprehensive competitor strategy.


In summary, in order to excel in international digital marketing and avoid embarrassing faux pas, it’s all about going that extra mile to understand your customer’s identity and typical behaviour in each market you are targeting.

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to take the time and use local resources to understand how to be relevant to each market you are investing in. To find out more, or to speak to Croud about driving your international success, contact us. 

by Croud
21 September 2018



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