How to approach Search advertising

A guide to being found by potential customers in global markets

1 Overview

The challenge

Creating a successful Search advertising campaign so that potential customers in new global markets can find out about your product or service means you have to understand the cultural factors and user behaviors in play. It’s about more than having keywords and ads in the right language (though, of course, that’s essential too).

Your aim

To create a search advertising campaign with Google Ads that works in maximizing keyword searches, conversions, and minimizing CPM costs, by getting to know each market’s individual customs, culture, and online consumer behavior.

How to go about it

There are 2.3 million Google searches per second.1 Be just a Google search away in any global market.

Google Ads has two main networks: Search and Display. The Search Network reaches people when they’re already searching for specific goods or services they want to buy. The Display Network helps you capture someone's attention earlier in the buying cycle, with a variety of ad formats across the digital universe. Here’s what you need to consider when you are planning a global Search advertising campaign.

2 Research and localization

Who are you talking to?

Google Market Finder should be your first port of call to find the new markets that are a fit for your business. So, you’re set up for success, knowing your business can compete there. Now, what’s your strategy for entry?

  • First, who are you talking to?
  • What’s the main language spoken, and are there any important dialects?
  • What’s the customer journey, and how do your potential customers search for related products?
    - How do they respond to advertising for products like yours?
  • What’s the competition?
  • What’s the cultural landscape, and what matters to your market?
  • What motivates these consumers to buy?

Search Network only or Search Network with Display Select?

A Search campaign is a good option if you: – Prefer your ads to appear near Google search results – Only want to reach customers searching for your specific product or service

A Search Network with Display Select campaign lets you also reach customers when they visit sites across the web. We recommend new advertisers to opt for a Search Network with Display Select campaign, which offers a wide variety of potential placements for your ads.

Search Network Search Network with Display Select
Ad placement Standard & All features
Google search results
Search partner sites
Standard & All features
Google search results
Search partner sites
Google Display Network sites
& YouTube
Ad formats Standard
Text ads*

All features
Text ads*
Shopping ads
Dynamic search ads
App / digital content ads

*Includes keyword insertion
Text ads*

All features
Text ads*
Image ads
Display ad builder ads
App / digital content ads

*Includes keyword insertion
Targeting Standard

All features
Remarketing lists for search only

All features
Remarketing lists for search only
Site category options
Bidding Standard & All features
Manual and automated bidding for the Search Network
Standard & All features
Manual and automated bidding for the Search Network
Automated bidding for the Display Network

If you’ve been running Search campaigns and are switching to Search Network with Display Select, you may notice an increase in conversions (15% on average) at a higher cost (15% in most cases).2

Going global is all about acting local

You’ll be implementing your Search Advertising campaign in the local language, talking to local people and bidding on local keywords. So localizing and adapting your strategy to fit is essential.

Find out more about Website Localization.


As other languages vary in length from English, Google Ads allows you to use additional characters on the Title and Description for ads targeting Eastern European and Asian Countries. (Just tick the character limits box in the ad copy tab while creating an ad copy.)

3 The components of your Search campaign

All in all, there are four key components to a Search campaign:

1. Ad groups:

Each of your campaigns contains ad groups. There isn’t a minimum or maximum number of ad groups to have in your campaign, but less is usually more, especially for new advertisers, as it’s more practical to not have too many ad groups, keywords, ads and landing pages to manage. Ad groups contain the keywords featured in your text ads and direct users to your landing page.

2. Keywords:

Google recommends 5-20 closely-related keywords per ad group, which lets you scale your campaigns when organizing them, and still serve relevant ad copy to searchers. When a potential customer types in the Google search box, that search query is matched with a keyword, which triggers your text ads (3 – 4 recommended per ad group), and directs them to the relevant landing page.


You can provide more information about your business, like its location, phone number or additional deep links into your website, by adding extensions to your text ads. Find out more about ad extensions.

Over time, you can expand and update these, based on the search terms that you find in your Search Query/Analytics reports. And continually test to pinpoint the best performers. Bear in mind that successful search advertising is not about the quantity of traffic, but the quality. Google Ads Keyword Tool makes it simple by determining keyword volumes and competition levels across many countries.


Remember to localize the translation of new keywords that you add as time goes on.

3. Negative Keywords:

Another key to a highly-targeted campaign is choosing what not to target. When selecting negative keywords for search campaigns, look for search terms that are similar to your keywords, but might cater to customers searching for a different product. For example, let's say that you're an optician who sells spectacles, more usually called "glasses". You add negative keywords for search terms like "wine glasses" and "drinking glasses".

But choose your negative keywords carefully. If you use too many, your ads might reach fewer customers.

Types of negative keywords

Negative match types work by adding synonyms, singular or plural versions, misspellings and other close variations, if you want to exclude them. For search campaigns, you can use broad, exact or phrase match negative keywords.

Negative broad match

For negative broad match keywords, your ad won't show if the search contains all your negative keyword terms, even if the terms are in a different order. Your ad may still show if the search contains only some of your keyword terms.

Example: running shoes

Search Could an ad show?
blue tennis shoes Yes
Google running gear Yes
blue running shoes No
shoes running No
running shoes No

Negative exact match

For negative exact match keywords, your ad won't show if the search contains the exact keyword terms, in the same order, without extra words. Your ad may still show if the search contains the keyword terms with additional words.

Example: running shoes

Search Could an ad show?
blue tennis shoes Yes
Google running gear Yes
blue running shoes Yes
shoes running Yes
running shoes No

Negative phrase match

For negative phrase match keywords, your ad won't show if the search contains the exact keyword terms in the same order. The search may include additional words, but the ad won't show as long as all the keyword terms are included in the search in the same order.

Example: running shoes

Search Could an ad show?
blue tennis shoes Yes
Google running gear Yes
blue running shoes No
shoes running Yes
running shoes No

When your ad might still show:

Your ad might still show on searches or pages that contain close variations of your negative keyword terms.

Your ad might also still show when someone searches for a phrase that's longer than 10 words, and your negative keyword follows that 10th word. Say that your negative keyword is "discount". Your ad still shows when someone searches for "nice clean hotel rooms in Los Angeles close to beach discount", because your negative keyword is the 11th word in the phrase. On the other hand, when someone searches for "nice clean hotel rooms in Los Angeles beach views discount", your ad won’t show because your negative keyword is the 10th word in the phrase.

4. Landing Pages:

Your text ad will contain an offer or call to action directing users to your landing page. This is where the influence of effective ad copy stops and your landing page takes over in influencing users to stay, interact and convert.

Landing page experience is Google Ads’ measure of how quickly and effortlessly your website gives people who click your ads exactly what they’re looking for. The experience you offer affects your Ad Rank, your CPC and position in the ad auction. Your ads may show less often (if at all) if they point to websites that offer a poor user experience.

Two crucial factors in getting it right are:

Relevant, quality content

Quality content including the keywords and phrases that you want your page to rank for is essential. Make sure that it’s also obviously directly connected to your ad and focused on encouraging users to take your most desired conversion action.


For the first time ever, in October 2016, mobile and tablet devices accounted for a majority of internet usage worldwide (51.3%), compared to 48.7% by desktop.3 So, the mobile revolution isn’t coming – it’s already here. Now, if users click on the ads on their smartphone and are taken to a landing page that’s hard to view and use, chances are that they will move swiftly on to a more mobile-friendly site.

4 Implementation

How to write an effective ad

When it comes to writing the text for your ad, Google provides you with some suggestions. But it’s good to think through exactly what you want to say beforehand anyhow. So how do you decide what makes a good ad for your business? Here are the 3 questions that you should always ask yourself – and define answers to – before you create your ad: - What do I have to offer? - What do I want to accomplish? - Who are my customers?

With those answers to hand, here are our tips for writing successful ads.

Highlight what makes your business, product or offer unique

Do you offer special menu items? A large selection of products? Tell people. Highlight features that make your business stand out from the competition.

Include prices, deals and exclusives

If you have something special to offer, make sure that your customers see it. People are usually searching to make a decision about something. Give them what they need to help make their decision.

Tell your customers what they can do

Are you selling? Tell them that they can buy. Are you offering? They want to receive. Strong verbs like Call today, Purchase or Make an appointment tell your customers what they can expect to do when they see your ad.

Include relevant search phrases in your ad text

Use keywords within the headline and description lines of your ad text. This can catch the attention of the people who searched for words related to your business, and it shows that your ad is related to what they want.

Match your ad to your website

Make sure that the promotions or products in your ad are also mentioned on your website. If visitors don't find what they expect to see when they reach your site, they may leave.


Create three to four ads for each ad group, and use different messages for each to see which does the best. Google Ads rotates ads automatically to show the best-performing ads more often.

Double check for common ad text mistakes

In order to make sure that all ads are high quality, every ad must meet high professional and editorial standards. That means no spelling mistakes, bad grammar, extra spaces, unnecessary capitalization or unclear URLs, to name a few.

Appeal to customers on mobile

Create ads devoted to people on mobile devices, using the mobile version of your website as a landing page and offering specials suited to a mobile audience. Bear in mind that your text ads can appear differently on mobile.

What to avoid

– Overclaims (claims that you can’t back up with facts) e.g. "the very best you can buy" – All copy being in capital letters – Too many (or any) exclamation marks – Saying "Click here". Use a different call to action like "Shop now" – A different display URL to your destination URL

What’s the character limit for each ad?

A text ad on Google Search has three parts: headline text, a display URL and description text.

Field Max length
Headline 1 30 characters
Headline 2 30 characters
Description 80 characters
Path (2) 15 characters each
How people see your ad

If the words people type into Google match your keywords, your ad could appear above the search results on PCs, tablets and smartphones. You only pay when people click – either to go to your website or to call your business. With over a hundred billion Google searches per month4, you can make sure that your customers notice your brand, consider your offerings and take action.

Adjust your campaign settings

Adjusting your campaign settings helps you tailor your campaign. The settings that you select will apply to all ads within the same campaign.

Setting Description References
Campaign name Enter a name for your campaign. Although Google Ads enters a default campaign name for you, you should choose a name that clearly describes the theme of the campaign so that you can easily find it in your account. Your campaign name isn't visible to your customers.
Campaign type The campaign type that you choose tailors the campaign setup to what's appropriate for your goals. You are choosing Search Network Only or Search Network with Display Select. You’ll also choose a campaign sub-type. If you prefer a simpler overview of your campaign and feature options, consider using the Standard campaign subtype. Select All features if you want to see everything about your campaign and feature options. Learn about choosing the campaign type that's right for you
Networks The Networks setting indicates where you want your ad to appear based upon the campaign type that you chose. For example, with the Google Search Network, your ad can appear on Google search sites and non-Google search sites (like CNN) that partner with Google to show search ads, called search partners.
Devices Campaigns target all types of devices; desktops, tablets and mobile devices. Later, you can choose to customize ads for different devices. Learn about types of mobile ads
Locations and languages Your campaign’s ads are eligible to show to customers in your targeted geographic locations, or to customers who have selected your targeted language as their browser’s language setting. We recommend choosing the language that you serve your customers in. Learn about location and language targeting
Bidding and budget Choose to manually set your bids for clicks on your ads or let Google Ads do it for you. Depending on your campaign type, you may see additional bidding options to choose from.

Your bid strategy controls how you pay for users to interact with your ads. Your bid limit is the most that you’ll pay per click for ads in an ad group. Your budget is the average amount that you’re comfortable spending each day on your campaign. The budget that you choose is entirely up to you, and you can adjust it at any time.
Learn how to set your bid and budget
Ad extensions Include even more information with your ads, such as location information, links to pages on your website and your phone number. Learn how to enhance your ad using extensions
Additional settings Here are some additional optional features to help you optimize your campaign:

Schedule: Set a campaign start and end date.

Ad scheduling: Choose certain days or hours of the week for your ads to show.

Ad delivery: By default, Google Ads shows your ads when they're more likely to get clicks or conversions, but you can choose to show your ads more evenly throughout the day.
Learn how to use ad scheduling
Language targeting your campaign

So users have a good experience, if your search campaign is to run in multiple languages, set up a campaign for each. In Switzerland, for instance, your 3 campaigns should target: – French language with French keywords and ad copies directing to a French landing page – Italian language with Italian keywords and ad copies directing to an Italian landing page – German language with German keywords and ad copies directing to a German landing page

Google will detect the user’s language preference and show them the most relevant ad copy.


Remember to allow for same language variants such as European Spanish versus Latin American Spanish.

5 Set goals, measure, learn, and grow

You've created your ad and it's up and running. Your next step is to find out how it's performing. Tracking statistics like clicks, impressions and click-through rate is a great way to start. It's also important to think about what you're trying to accomplish with your campaign, so that you can focus on the statistics that can help you achieve your goals.

If you're new to tracking your performance, start by clicking the Campaigns tab in your Google Ads account. The statistics tables on your Ads and Keywords tabs under the Campaigns tab provide a complete, customisable view of all of your data. You can keep the reporting simple, or dig deeper for more detailed insights into the success of your campaigns.

Set campaign goals

You can select goals for your campaign based on the actions that you’d like your customers to take – increased sales, lead generation or brand awareness, for instance. If you choose to use goals, Google Ads gives recommendations for features and settings that can help you meet them. But, of course, all campaign settings and features are available to you regardless of the goals that you choose now, so you can change them at any time.

Once your ads are running, you’ll get reports to see how they are performing – and make adjustments accordingly. You can also create different ads to see which ones perform best.


Instead of creating new ads, keywords, ad groups and campaigns each time you want to improve your account, you can simply copy them. For example, you could copy an existing campaign to use it as a template for a new campaign, or you could copy a keyword list from one ad group to another, so that you have a head start on building the new ad group’s keyword list.

Track clicks, impressions and clickthrough rate

To help you get comfortable tracking data for your ads running on the Search Network, we suggest monitoring the clicks, impressions and especially the clickthrough rate (CTR) of your ads and keywords. CTR is the percentage of people that clicked on your ad after they saw it. By tracking it, you can make sure that your ads and keywords are attractive to customers. Find these statistics listed in columns in your account's statistics table. If you don't see them, click the Columns button and select the ones that you'd like to enable.

Time zones and currencies

If the time zone in your new export country is ahead or behind, set your account in the local time zone. And if you won’t be around at weekends or for holiday periods, use Google Ads’ automated rules. To avoid currency fluctuations, it’s advisable to pay bills in the local currency.

The dynamic option

Opt for Google Ads’ Dynamic Search option and you’ll have consistent, highly targeted coverage of your website in every global market that you want to enter, without the need to create long keyword lists for every single product line or the need to change your website. Dynamic Search ads work by scanning the text of your existing websites and serving up ads on Google when a user enters a search term that matches your site. They work best for websites with high-volume or content-rich landing pages, and site content that is not updated frequently.

Helpful links

6 Sources

1: DMR, 114 Amazing Google Search Statistics and Fun Facts (April 2017)

2: Google Ads Help, About "Search Network with Display Select"

3: StatCounter, Mobile and tablet internet usage exceeds desktop for the first time worldwide (November 2016)

4: DMR, See above