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Proven Spanish PPC Keyword Research & Google Ads Targeting Tips

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Ready to explore the different aspects of paid search advertising to the Hispanic market in America, Latin America, and throughout the world?

To start, here are key things to consider about Spanish PPC:

  • Google Ads shows ads based on a user’s browser preference. Those using Google in English may see different ads than those whose web browsers are set to Spanish. This can be advantageous or disastrous, depending on your target market’s behavior.
  • Keyword research enters a new realm with Spanish PPC. You’ll need to evaluate keyword volume and difficulty in relation to a consumer’s geography and preferred web browser language.
  • In many cases, there is no way to compensate for local knowledge. Those using broad or generalized methods in advertising to Hispanics waste marketing dollars and leave much more on the table. When it comes to Spanish PPC, it’s best to partner with those who understand the nuances of language as well as local cultures.

Now, let’s take a closer look at actual cases and instances.

Use the following Spanish PPC tips to enhance your future Hispanic paid advertising and marketing campaigns.

Troublesome Issues with Google Ads Language Targeting

Missed Opportunity

Google Ads considers a browser’s set language preference, which can result in many missed PPC opportunities.

It may appear counterintuitive to consider using English ads to target Spanish speakers. However, in some cases, what’s counterintuitive can lead to PPC dollars.

In a recent campaign I worked on, potential consumers were not seeing ads because the campaign did not target consumers with their browsers set to English – even some Spanish keywords did not trigger campaign ads!

In some cases, Hispanic consumers will make a search in English or use their web browser in English because many American keywords don’t have a translatable word in Spanish.

One of our software keyword campaigns had 600 keywords.

Only 7% of the original English keywords had an equivalent keyword in Spanish!

Aleyda Solis mentions a similar incident happening with a Dutch-to-English campaign when she recently spoke with Yoast about international SEO.

Be flexible with language targeting.

Consider some Hispanic consumers outside the U.S. use web browsers in English.

Wasteful Words

In some cases, English-based campaign keywords are irrelevant when targeting consumers using Spanish-based browsers.

In one campaign, we saw that keywords that were more investigative or informational in nature were less relevant.

Keywords related to transactional or commercial intent became the sole focus.

The whole section of keywords shown above was cut from the Spanish PPC campaign. This proved to be more effective.

Don’t assume you need to use as many keywords in your Hispanic PPC campaign.

Many times, you need to use broader variations.

Lopsided Multilingual Performance

In a particular segment of a Spanish PPC campaign, English-based searches triggered 24% of ads and Spanish keywords triggered 75% of the campaign ads.

It was a misstep to include so many English-based words in the Spanish campaign, especially when the campaign did not target those using browsers set to English.

In some cases, you may have to rethink your Spanish PPC strategy or comprise an alternative set of keywords.

Furthermore, after English-to-Spanish translation, you may find that a majority of the exact-match terms are brand-related.

Partner with a marketing team that knows the Spanish language as well as the culture in Spain, throughout Latin America, etc.

A Keyword With Multiple Aliases

Contrasting Value

Let’s consider the keyword: “network performance monitor.”

Here are some quick stats on the keyword in America:

And, here’s what the keyword data looks like for Mexico:

This is what data estimates look like when targeting a consumer in Mexico with their browser set to Spanish (results).

There’s low volume with medium competition.

Here’s data related to targeting a consumer in Mexico but using their browser in English.

The search volume is significantly higher!

Consider all of the possibilities in leveraging your keyword in English as well as in Spanish.

Be comprehensive with Hispanic keyword research.

Consider how a given keyword’s stats may fluctuate depending on a consumer’s location as well as their web browser preference.

Hidden Options

Want to see something interesting?

Let’s take a look at keyword variation options when we set the planner to target a Mexican consumer, using an English-based browser.

Few options exist for keyword variation.

But, what about if you switch the browser’s language to Spanish?

We get a lot more options for keyword variations!

The decreased competition resulted in lower CPCs for Spanish keywords. This helps develop new ad groups.

Use Keyword Planner to further define your Hispanic PPC campaign.

You may find it useful to discard English-based words while taking notice of suggested Spanish terms.

Lengthy Variations

In a mini-experiment, our company analyzed about 100 keywords related to a client campaign.

The Spanish translation keywords were about 19% longer (in character length) compared to English variations.

This happens a lot throughout the software industry.

Consider how a Spanish-translated keyword looks on the page, especially where character length is important.

High Income

It can be highly profitable to consider household income when targeting Hispanic countries.

Wealth distribution is drastically varied throughout LATAM. Based on the degree of inequality in wealth distribution measured by the Gini coefficient, Brazil was the most unequal country in Latin America as of 2017.

The Gini coefficient measures distribution of income (0 represents absolute equality and 100 equals the highest degree of inequality).

Given fluctuations in Latin America’s state of affairs, it’s beneficial to further define particular elements, such as household income, when comprising a Hispanic PPC campaign.

Make Friends With Localized Content

Questionable Google Translations

Google Translate can be incredibly useful, but it can also be misleading.

Let’s consider selling piggy banks to Hispanic consumers.

That was easy enough. Now, as part of my Spanish campaign, I will use keyword variations of “huchas.”

The word, “cepillo” is suggested, but that translates to “brush.”

“Ahorros” translates to “savings.”

Lastly, “economias” is suggested, but that translates to “economy.”

Hence, this is an ineffective and misleading way to go about keyword research for PPC and content marketing campaigns.

If you’re not a native to a specific country, then you’re going to spend a lot of time aligning the best keywords for your campaign.

Even those speaking the same language may use different words to make a search.

Let’s continue with “hucha.”

If we used that term to target Spanish speakers around the world, we would be hugely successful in Spain… but not so much in other Hispanic countries.

Per keyword planner, search volume for “hucha” is high in Spain and low in Mexico. Furthermore, if we take a look at Mexico, we see the term “hucha” is used in limited parts of the country.

However, it’s much more popular (and profitable regarding Hispanic PPC) in Spain.

There’s no general way to exact Hispanic PPC.

Success relies on the localization of content and understanding of local culture.

Tailored Mistakes

Even well-intentioned ad attempts can fall flat with Hispanic consumers. In a dated campaign, H&M’s Mexican website did well in helping users calculate pesos to dollars, but misfired in sounding local.

They use “vaqueros.” This does not resonate with buyers in Mexico, who would use “jeans” or “mezclilla.”

Also, local brands would use a different category system, keeping it simple with “formal” and “casual.”

Be sure that keywords, PPC ads, landing pages, and dedicated sites relate well in relation to specific Hispanic countries, regions, and locales.

Customer Journeys

Understanding the customer journey is among the vital PPC trends for 2021.

For example, how should one go about finding the data to inform a customer’s journey for PPC marketing in Latin America?

Brazil and Mexico are the larger ecommerce markets, yet ecommerce and mobile use in Peru, Argentina, and Colombia have grown significantly in the past decade.

In fact, as of 2018, 58% of those in Peru owned a smartphone—up dramatically from 8% in 2012.

Therefore, Hispanic PPC campaigns need to focus on individual countries and rising trends.

Brands that capitalize early on in emerging markets will have a huge advantage over competitors who are late to the party.

Speaking of journeys, Burger King capitalized on an element of Mexico City culture.

Using infamous Mexico City traffic to its advantage, BK used a mixture of real-time billboard updates, GPS tracking, and couriers on motorcycles to combat traffic-jam hunger.

This shows a deep understanding of the local market, its pain points, and the inherent opportunities.

When it comes to the customer journey and sales cycle, view each Hispanic country as its own microcosm to explore.

PPC efforts may prove effective in one locality or region and fail in others.

Spend time understanding local culture and dialect to properly align ads with the customer journey.

10 Key Takeaways for Your Spanish PPC Campaigns

Spanish PPC begins with choosing the right keywords.

But after that, it’s a matter of knowing how to use them.

Let’s review 10 key Spanish PPC insights from above:

  1. Identify the role of language targeting within your strategy and its impact on campaign structure. Don’t dismiss the notion of targeting consumers in English and Spanish.
  2. Limit the number of ad groups and keywords at the onset of a Spanish PPC campaign. Managing a limited number allows you to pinpoint quick wins and easier translations.
  3. Evaluate the viability of your Spanish PPC campaign by translating keywords first, identifying inexistent ones, and conducting keyword research in each targeted language.
  4. Research your keywords bilingually to identify volume variations. If you are targeting Latin America, do it per country. Think local versus using a generalized approach.
  5. You may benefit from spending time with Keyword Planner and seeing whether it’s more profitable from an ad-spend perspective to leverage more Spanish keywords.
  6. Consider how keyword translations look on the page and vary in character length for page titles, campaign slogans, and dedicated websites, .
  7. What do keywords tell you about the status of the market you are targeting? Consider household income in relation to the economy of a given country.
  8. Do not rely on basic translation tools for English-to-Spanish PPC efforts. It’s best to partner with those experienced with individual cultures and language preferences.
  9. Reassess your landing pages and web copy. Are you telling a story that resonates with the targeted audience?
  10. Overall, how does your Spanish PPC campaign fit in with a broader attempt to target Hispanic consumers? Be sure PPC capitalizes on consumer behavior and seamlessly fits-in with their buyer journey.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, January 2021

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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5 Tips to Boost Your Holiday Search Strategy

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Student writing on computer

With the global economic downturn, inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges, and uncertainty due to the Ukraine war, this year’s holiday shopping season promises to be very challenging. Will people be in the mood to spend despite the gloom? Or will they rein in their enthusiasm and save for the year ahead?

With these issues in mind, here are five considerations to support your search engine optimization strategy this holiday shopping season:

1. Start early.

Rising prices are likely to mean shoppers will start researching their holiday spending earlier than ever to nab the best bargains. Therefore, retailers must roll out their holiday product and category pages — and launch any promotions — sooner to ensure their pages get crawled and indexed by search engines in good time.

Some e-commerce stores manage to get their pages ranking early by updating and reusing the same section of the website for holiday content and promotions, rotating between content for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine gifts, Fourth of July sales, etc. This approach can help you retain the momentum, links and authority you build up with Google and get your holiday pages visible and ranking quickly.

2. Make research an even bigger priority.

With all the uncertainty this year, it’s vital to use SEO research to identify the trending seasonal keywords and search phrases in your retail vertical — and then optimize content accordingly.

With tools such as Google Trends you can extract helpful insights based on the types of searches people are making. For example, with many fashion retailers now charging for product returns, will prioritizing keywords such as “free returns” get more search traction? And with money being tighter, will consumers stick with brands they trust rather than anything new — meaning brand searches might be higher?

3. Make greater use of Google Shopping.

To get the most out of their holiday spending, consumers are more likely to turn to online marketplaces such as Google Shopping as they make it easier to compare products, features and prices, as well as to identify the best deals both online and in nearby stores.

Therefore, take a combined approach which includes listing in Google Shopping and at the same time optimizing product detail pages on your e-commerce site to ensure they’re unique and provide more value than competitors’ pages. Be precise with product names on Google Shopping (e.g., do the names contain the words people are searching for?); ensure you provide all the must-have information Google requires; and set a price that’s not too far from the competition. 

4. Give other search sources the attention they deserve.

Earlier this year Google itself acknowledged that consumers — especially younger consumers — are starting to use TikTok, Instagram and other social media sites for search. In fact, research suggests 11 percent of product searches now start on TikTok and 15 percent on Instagram. Younger consumers in particular are more engaged by visual content, which may explain why they’re embracing visually focused social sites for search. So, as part of your search strategy, create and share content on popular social media sites that your target customers visit.

Similarly, with people starting their shopping searches on marketplaces such as Amazon.com, optimizing any listings you have on the site should be part of your strategy. And thankfully, the better optimized your product detail pages are for Amazon (with unique, useful content), the better they will rank on Google as well!

5. Hold paid budget for late opportunities.

The greater uncertainty and volatility this holiday season mean you must keep a close eye on shopper behavior and be ready to embrace opportunities that emerge later on. Getting high organic rankings for late promotions is always more challenging, so hold some paid search budget back to help drive traffic to those pages — via Google Ads, for example. Important keywords to include in late season search ad campaigns include “delivery before Christmas” and “same-day-delivery.” For locally targeted search ads, consider “pick up any time before Christmas.”

The prospect of a tough, unpredictable holiday shopping season means search teams must roll out seasonal SEO plans early, closely track shoppers’ behavior, and be ready to adapt as things change.

Marcus Pentzek is chief SEO consultant at Searchmetrics, the global provider of search data, software and consulting solutions.

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Google Home App Gets an Overhaul, Rolling Out Soon

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Google Home app

Google refreshes its Home app with a slew of new features after launching a new Nest gear. This makes it faster and easier to pair smart devices with Matter, adds customization and personalization options, an enhanced Nest camera experience, and better intercommunication between devices.

This revamped Home app utilizes Google’s Matter smart home standard – launching later this year – especially the Fast Pair functionality. On an Android phone, it will instantly recognize a Matter device and allow you to easily set it up, bypassing the current procedure that is often slow and difficult. Google is also updating its Nest speakers, displays, and routers – to control Matter devices better.

Google Home App New Features

  • Spaces: This feature allows you to control multiple devices in different rooms. Google has listed a few things by room: kitchen, bedroom, living room, etc., although it’s pretty limited right now. Spaces let you organize devices how you see fit. For instance, you can set up a baby monitor in one room and set a different room’s camera to focus on an area the baby often plays. With Spaces, you can categorize these two devices into one Space category called ‘Baby.’

Google Home app Spaces

  • Favorites: This one is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to make certain gears as a favorite that you frequently use. Doing so will bring those devices into the limelight within the Google Home app for easier access. 

Google Home app

  • Media: Google adds a new media widget at the bottom of your Home feed. This will automatically determine what media is playing in your home and provide you with the appropriate controls as and when needed. There will be song controls if you listen to music on your speakers. There will be television remote controls if you’re watching TV. 

Google probably won’t roll out this Home app makeover anytime soon. But you can try it for yourself in the coming week by enrolling in the public preview, available in select areas.

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