How to structure your international PPC campaigns

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Hiba Zawaideh

PPC Account Manager


International PPC

When it comes to managing international paid search campaigns, there is no one ‘right’ way to structure your accounts. Instead, you will need to consider the KPIs, USPs, and audiences in each territory in order to decide what campaign structure best suits your account.

In this blog, I will run through the three ways to structure your international campaigns and what to consider when making your decision.

Country-specific campaigns

This campaign structure splits your paid search campaigns up by country, with the account structure looking like this:

  • Italy>>Brand
  • Italy>>Generic
  • France>>Brand
  • France>>Generic
  • etc.

Is this campaign structure right for me?

Splitting your campaigns up by country is useful if you have country-specific budgets, different USPs (such as free shipping or guarantees) or even different products available. Setting up country-specific campaigns allows you to tailor campaigns to best reflect your offering in each country.

You may also want to consider this campaign structure if you know your target audience is different in each country, as you can adjust the audience targeting to the demographic within that country.

Considerations when using country-specific campaigns

While there are benefits to using a country-specific campaign structure, there are several challenges that you will need to consider when deciding if it is the right approach for your account.

This approach can be difficult and time-consuming to set up and manage if you look after a large number of countries. At the very minimum, you will have two campaigns (Brand and Generic) for each country, which means the number of campaigns to set up and manage can escalate quickly if you are looking after multiple countries.

This becomes even more time consuming when you consider each country has its own budget and possibly even its own language.

It can also be limited as a long-term strategy if your ultimate plan involves expanding into multiple countries due to the amount of time it takes to create and manage these campaigns.

Region-specific campaigns

Another way to split your campaign structure is by regions, e.g. EMEA, APAC, Americas, with the campaign structure looking like:

  • EMEA>>German>>Brand
  • EMEA>>French>>Brand
  • APAC>>English>>Brand
  • APAC>>Chinese>>Brand
  • etc.

Is this campaign structure right for me?

Organising your campaigns by region is useful if your budget is set by region, if you have region-specific messaging, or if you want to target region-specific keywords or audiences.

Considerations when using region-specific campaigns

These campaigns have similar challenges to country-specific campaigns. While there are fewer regions than there are countries, each region contains multiple languages they will need to be broken into, which can mean the time needed to set up and manage these campaigns will be even more consuming.

Another challenge to this approach is the duplication of work due to languages being present in multiple territories (e.g. having multiple German campaigns).

Language-specific campaigns

This approach involves splitting campaigns by language, with the campaign structure as follows:

  • English>>Brand
  • English>>Generic
  • German>>Brand
  • German>>Generic
  • etc.

Is this campaign structure right for me?

This is an ideal campaign structure for those who are in, or are looking to expand into, numerous countries. It allows for easier and quicker campaign management, including adding in new countries and typically has a shorter set up time than the other two structures.

Another benefit of this method is the inclusion of more countries within each campaign allows for more data to guide the automated bid strategies.

Considerations when using language-specific campaigns

One challenge to using language-specific campaigns is reporting limitations; depending on the data required, there may not be enough detailed insights into the performance of specific countries.

Because campaigns are executed across all countries which use the same language, it may not be an appropriate choice for accounts where the messaging, keywords or USPs differ between countries, or if the budget is drastically different by country.

While weighing up the pros and cons of each structure in relation to your unique KPIs, goals and strategy will help you to identify which campaign structure is best suited to your account, you will also need to take into consideration the countries and cultures you are working in (for example, to identify if the messaging needs to be country-specific or language-specific). Mother tongue digital marketers are able to marry up these internal and external factors to identify which campaign structure is right for you.

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