Global advertising: it’s a big commitment

Yesterday I talked about the sheer scale of the potential in search engine advertising. If you missed it, take a look, if only because I rather liked the illustrations. Another common mistake is to underestimate the implications of the geographical reach. For those of you who only market in the UK, it’s not an issue. But we work with many advertisers who sell products worldwide, and it’s not uncommon to be asked in a planning meeting by the MD, almost as an afterthought, if we can extend a UK advertising campaign to cover, say, continental Europe, and “actually, thinking about it, all the major English speaking countries. Oh, and the Middle East too, please. Will an extra £250 a month be enough?”.

Hang on there a minute. That’s like saying: “You know that £1,000 we were going to spend on an advertising campaign in the UK’s World of Widgets magazine? Could we include 150 other magazines in that budget too?” Well yes, but your adverts are going to be very small.

Of course it’s quite possible to try. But a search advertising campaign which runs worldwide and doesn’t have a serious budget will be diluted to an extreme degree. Imagine if you want the ads to run in 50 countries, and expect to do that with a monthly budget of just £1,000 – which is the sort of thing many companies try to do. That’s £20 per country. (I doubt you’d expect much response from a £20 magazine ad, by the way).

Breaking it down further, that’s £1 per country per working day. Now, let’s say a click costs £2, and let’s say you can get a 5% click-through rate (because your ad is really on-target and great). That means you can afford for your advert to show 10 times a day in each country.

If you’re just advertising against one or two very specific terms, which are only searched-for 10 times a day in each country, you might just about get away with that. But understandably, advertisers want their ads to show against dozens, and probably many hundreds of different search terms. The result is that the ads either just get shown randomly once every 10, 20, or 30 searches, or they show for the first 20 minutes of each day until they get their click and the budget is exhausted. Global advertising is a big commitment.

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