International search marketers may love the globetrotting feel of skimming though a paid-search account covering many corners of the globe. Anyone working in smaller sized markets will tell you that it has its unique challenges. And it’s not just about understanding the languages and local customs.
Here are top three reasons why it’s particularly challenging to work with international search marketing in smaller regions.
1) It’s a numbers game without the (big) numbers
US or UK based advertisers might jump up and down if they manage to improve their search sales volumes by 1%. However, if you’re working a small to medium sized account in Denmark (total population 5.5 million), that extra revenue might equate to incremental revenue that will buy you a couple of rounds in the pub. It’s progress, but nothing spectacular.
While I might have slightly exaggerated above, it hits the issue on the head for smaller markets. The relative effort of gaining that extra one percent is simply too big. This is — in my view — the main contributing factor to why small markets aren’t as evolved as their larger neighbours when it comes to search strategies and tactics.
2) There are no local tools
Closely related to the first issue of lower numbers, comes the second issue – there’s a big lack of good tools for search marketers. Competitive tools such as HitWise, Compete, and Spyfu (to name just a few), are not of much use if you’re trying to break into the search market in Finland.
For tool providers, there’s either not enough money to be earned, or a general lack of data available to be analysed. And any new fancy tools and techniques that actually are being launched are often hampered by small sample sizes that won’t lead to statistical significance anytime soon, thus failing in practical application.
3) Google is all
While this is true for most markets, when you’re looking at smaller country like Norway (population 4.9 million), if you can cover more than 90% of all searchers through Google, that extra few percentages on Bing is not a big incentive. There are of course also local search engines such as Kvasir, but again the numbers are small, and in this instance you can even get into its remnant inventory through AdWords.
I get the point, now what?
So is it all bad news for marketers working in these regions? Definitely not. The share of search marketing as a portion of overall marketing spend is steadily rising, and with many times very low CPC and high conversion rates there are opportunities to be had for search marketers, affiliates and brands alike. But it will require a different approach to your big spending US campaigns.