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Old 09-28-2004   #1
Chris Sherman
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Extending your Search Marketing Campaign to Europe

Search marketing is increasingly global, but a local focus is still vital to achieve your goals. What does it take to have a successful search marketing campaign in Europe?

In today's SearchDay article, Search Marketing in Europe, Patricia Hursh reports on a recent panel at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose, offering an account of what it takes to have a successful search marketing campaign in Europe.

Heads-up all of you search marketers based in Europe: Please share your own comments, insights and tips about running effective SEM campaigns in your region.

Chris
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Old 09-28-2004   #2
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Good with som focus on this

First, I want to say that it can truely pay off to market here in Europe. You may be surprised by the volume and quality of the search users you can actually gain here. As an example, I am servicing several clients that gets over 100,000 visitors a month just from searches done in Danish! Imagine what larger countries like Sweden, Holland - or even Germany and the UK can bring. And the pricing is definately better. I have just set up a new client that will do (when I'm all done) approx 200,000 AdWords visitors a month (only in Danish!) at an average of just above 11 cent. I would not be able to do that for a similar client on the US market. Not even close.

In addition to what has been said in the article, I think there are a few more things to point out:


- LEGAL issues. In many of the Northern European countries we have very strong consumer protection and marketing laws - and as all such laws they apply to companies that market to our contries - not just limited to companies actually being here.

- TAX and Custom. You will most often have to collect VAT for products you sell in Europe - and the VAT are different for each and every country. I am not sure about the specifics in the regulations but I urge you to check up on it before you start selling as you could be liable for the VAT value! Also, be aware that most European countries collect an import tax on goods you send and believe it or not, here in Denmark there is actually a tax on top of the tax as a service fee to collect it! This way your products may end up being a lot moe expensive than your European competitors.

- CULTURE is not the same in USA and Europe - it's not even the same througout Europe. Be very carefull with humor and historical references.


I will have to run now, but I'll come back and add some more later ...
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Old 09-29-2004   #3
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Top European SEM firms?

Hi Mikkel (and anyone else reading this):

Does anyone know who the top European SEM agencies and/or technology providers are? I've heard of WSPS/BidBuddy, but not much beyond that. Any help is appreciated.

Thanks, merci, gracias, danke,

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Old 09-30-2004   #4
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Very simple question: Therere are NO (good) cross European SEO/SEM company that cover all regions well. Not that I am aware of, and I think I would have seen them

What regions are you targeting? Scandinavia is one thing, UK another, Germany all different, and then comes france, spain, Holland, Belgium etc, etc ...

In terms of marketing there are no Europe! What we have is a bunch of highly independant countries with their own language, their own laws and their own cultures, traditions and limits for what you can do.

I have done SEO for clients acroos Europe. I can do all system optimisation , work out strategies etc, but when it comes to keywords in so many languages I must give up - or get help
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Old 09-30-2004   #5
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If it's not a silly question - was anybody at the SES panel from Europe?

Simply because there's a lot of generall high-cloud corporate level speak in the entry - but there's no real substance in terms of practical realities.

And it's the practical realities that are important.

A couple of clues here - the USA has a far more developed internet economy. Internet awareness has been a mainstay of America for years. Europe is still playing catch-up, but years behind, and many businesses remain ignorant not simply of why the internet can empower them, but also the how the internet can empower them.

Also, living costs over here are pretty high and can increase overheads tremendously - not to mention high taxation for welfare policies as well. For example, the difference between the US and UK webhosting markets, particularly with regards to servers, is pretty incredible - with costs in the UK typically around 150%-250% of US costs.

The US seems to be more easily driven by consumer-driven business models, and open to new developments. Here in the UK, it often seems the case of companies trying to deliver as little as possible for the most money.

Oh - and as to the core question: "What does it take to have a successful search marketing campaign in Europe?"

Companies that sell auto-submission software seem to be doing pretty well here in the UK using aggressive telemarketing campaigns.

Just my 2c from a small UK business.
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Old 09-30-2004   #6
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One of the three marketers was European-based. Another one was US-based but specifically had experience with reaching to Europe, which is an important perspective to have as well. After all, most in the audience were from the US. They need to have background from someone based in both places, because the experiences can very. The third marketers from IBM was also US based but well experienced on positioning the site in Europe and throughout the world. In addition, the three search engines on the panel were all Europe-based.

To me, the key issue is that a 1 1/2 hour panel cannot cover the many things involved with marketing in Europe. It really serves more as an eye opener. Our London show spends two days specifically looking at Europe and involving Europeans -- and that's not enough. I always tell people that if they are serious about Europe, they need to get out to one of our shows in Europe to learn more. But there was so much demand for something that we decided to try and offer at least this eye-opener.
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Old 09-30-2004   #7
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very good post, I, Brian. The problem is that each country in Europe is so different - in everything. Some countries, like Finland, has a 100% Internet penetration. In fact, I believe all 4 Scandinavian countries are on a top 10 list of countries with the highest Internet penetration. On the other hand you still have countries in the former eastern Europe and in the south where penetration and online spending is much lower. Germany is probably somewhere between it all

So, you have large countries like Poland, that may not have such a large penetration (and spending money) yet, and smaller regions like Scandinavia with good penetration and lots of money to spend. It's a trade off between number of users and value of each. For each type of business it makes sense to look at what regions may serve you best. Most companies focus on a limited number of countries here - not them all.
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Old 09-30-2004   #8
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European SEM market sizing

Thanks for all your replies. Here are a few more questions:

1) Anyone care to guess how many ppc advertisers there are in Europe who spend US$50000+ per month on PPC? And what % of those are in the UK, Germany and other countries?

2) Are the large PPC advertisers in Europe to the point where ppc optimization is as or more important than basic stuff like having the right/fullest keyword list?

3) How do average CPC's compare to the U.S. market? My understanding is CPCs are still much lower than in the U.S., but would love to hear opinions as to what the delta is and what the rate of increase is in average CPCs quarter over quarter.

4) Who are the top 5 SEM (moreso than SEO) agencies in Europe in terms of spend under management?

5) What does the SEM tools space look like in Europe? In the U.S. we have 5-10 serious players in the SEM tools space, but what about Europe? The only European-based tool I've heard of is BidBuddy, but it doesn't seem like a tool that would compare to what we have over here in the U.S.

6) What PPCSE has what market share in Europe? I hear things are even more concentrated between GOOG & YHOO than here in the states, but does anyone think differently? ESpotting is there, but from what I hear their market share is declining; are they like FWHT over here = the only real Tier II PPCSE that large advertisers consistently spend on?

Thanks in advance for all your thoughts!
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Old 09-30-2004   #9
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The problem with the questions is that you ask them in general for Europe and the fact is there is no Europe - only a lot of different countries. Even within a relatively small region like Scandinavia the search market in each individual country is very different.

IF you ask questions about size and tools you will most likely end up with the majority of answers to point at UK companies, tools etc. UK is the biggest single market here, so they are most likely to stick out - at average. But it's also very likely that those same companies or products have no reach or impact at all in a bunch of other European countries. So, one that is big in UK may be completely invisible in Scandinavia or Spain - or the other way around.

The single biggest mistake US companies make is that they think there is one Europe. Europe only exsist on maps and in the mind of some piliticians - not in most Europeans daily lifes, feelings and actions.
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Old 09-30-2004   #10
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Indeed, I think the original SES panel effectively emphasised the need to understand that there are differences, and to learn them - not least on the cultural and linguistic aspect. It's a good starter position to start from, but obviously there's a lot of ground to cover from there.

Personally, if I were looking to promote SEO services in other European countries, I might do far worst than outsource at least some skills to any design and marketing companies already within the markets there. Working with local skills as directly as possible to access those markets could make for a good lever into understanding, and working profitably, within specific national markets.

Possibly off-topic, possibly referenced at the meet, is this now somewhat infamous article on Microsoft's major cultural blunders abroad:
http://news.com.com/How+eight+pixels...4-5316664.html
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Old 09-30-2004   #11
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Europe needs to be micro-targeted!

Mikkel is absolutely right to keep making the point that you can't talk about Europe. It's also true that development of the internet is behind the US in "Europe" - but that varies significantly from country to country.

We specialise in multilingual campaigns and undertake the campaigns from one office as far as we can - using partners only where its unavoidable (eg for Greek). In our view that makes it much easier for clients to manage.

However, it is true that most of our work focuses on English, French and German - then Dutch / Italian. Bear in mind we work mostly for English-speaking companies looking to target certain countries of Europe with a multilingual site.

You have to have considerable local knowledge to achieve this which is why we've recruited our team from continental Europe - although they now work in the UK.

Some observations which might be useful? You can't choose five big companies that 'do' Europe - it's far far too complex and diverse for that.

Your campaigns need to flex between organic / PPC to capitalise on the opportunities.

For instance, like Mikkel said regarding Scandinavia, it is possible to run very effective and relatively inexpensive PPC campaigns in France very successfully - and it may be worth using this tool rather than organics in the first instance.

France was relatively slow to adopt the internet because they had longer standing alternative electronic directory in every home called 'Minotel' provided by France Telecom. However, the pace of growth there is now exponential and they are rapidly taking to the medium. There are great opportunities to market in France - and good PPC prices to be had.

Germany has a much wider range of search engines to target than other countries (Google dominates - but there are a great many alternatives!). In some sectors PPC costs we've experienced are actually way higher than in the UK (especially Google!) and it can be wiser to use a broad spread (Overture - Mirago, for instance). But organics here are important and acheivable - but just like French, you've the accents to think about and that produces great complexity (eg we have a keyword with 11 spellings which produce different results because of accentuation).

Belgium is tricky - which is why I started a thread on this - but noone came to our aid. The problem is Belgium is small - has three official languages - French, Flemish and German - but also uses English. Pay per clicks don't seem to work so well there - Google.be is available in four languages - but Belgians also use search engines from the Netherlands and France - so how do you geo-target the organic results? The best answer seems to be to treat Belgium as two separate entities - Flanders and Wallonie - which is pretty much how the Belgian government tends to see things too.

We've had particular success with sites in the Netherlands - but again local knowledge is essential. Dutch seems to keep up with a wider range of alternative equivalent keywords than English (ie one English idea - can be translated in many different ways) - which means more effort is needed to target them all.

I'll stop there because this post is too long already - the main point is you need to micro-target "Europe" . Good luck!
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Old 09-30-2004   #12
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Great input, Andy - I think we now managed to make the americans confused on a much higher level

Honestly, Europe is a mess. I'll be the first one to admit that
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Old 09-30-2004   #13
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Different and the same

Thanks Mikkel. Funny how we're supposed to be different (we both just said it) and yet we're the same.....now that'll really confuse.....
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Old 09-30-2004   #14
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I love the fact that most US marketers think the US is the leader in all things online.

Just as local search in the US is going to show the differences of advertising to regions - and print and tv ads are different for the North, South East West etc., Europe has always been aware of this

We are advertising now in UK, Spain and Germany and are pushing into Italian, French, Portuguese... and Arabic (what about the African market???)

Languages need to be adapted to country (remember South America).

And Asia is fun... we have three Chinese languages, Japanese and are looking into Korean and Malay!

International perspective helps focus the subtleties of region etc.
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Old 10-03-2004   #15
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Confused american

First of all, thanks to you all for your adamant refusal to talk about European SEM in the Europe-is-one-market way I'd hoped to have your responses phrased - point taken.

For background, I spent 95-96 in Paris helping start Netscape's European business, so I'm well aware of the fact that Europe is a fragmented market for now and the foreseeable future. We were headquartered in Paris then, and France never made up more than 10% of our European revenues. I also remember all the begging and pleading we did to try and get country-specific versions of browsers, server software and ecommerce apps out (mostly too little, too late, but that's another story).

Let me rephrase my questions a bit in light of your comments:

1) Anyone care to guess how many ppc advertisers there are in UK and Germany who spend US$50000+ per month on PPC?

2) Are the large PPC advertisers in the European country(ies) you work in to the point where ppc optimization is as or more important than basic stuff like having the right/fullest keyword list? In some instances the field is so wide open that have a big keyword list is all you have to do to be extremely successful in search; that's no longer the case in the U.S., though.

3) How do average CPC's in the European countries you operate in compare to the U.S. market? My understanding is CPCs are still much lower than in the U.S., but would love to hear opinions as to what the delta is and what the rate of increase is in average CPCs quarter over quarter.

4) Who are the top 5 SEM (moreso than SEO) agencies in Europe in terms of spend under management? I think it's still a fair question; forget about what European country they're in.

5) What does the SEM tools space look like in Europe? In the U.S. we have 5-10 serious players in the SEM tools space, but what about Europe? The only European-based tools I've heard of is WSPS/BidBuddy in the UK and esearchvision in France.

Thanks for your thoughtful responses - I appreciate it
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Old 10-03-2004   #16
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I hope the answers to all those questions are posted... though I think you may not get them all answered. Though worth a try... you could do some of the research also and post the results and may get others to share.
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Old 10-04-2004   #17
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Can you clarify the brief?

Let's see if we can go some way to helping - but first you have to help us by being more specific.

What do you mean by 'Europe'?

There might be a chance of answering who the top 5 biggest SEMs per country are - by saying Europe - you're giving us the option of twenty odd countries - or perhaps more importantly a dozen languages to choose from. If you were more specific, by country, we might have a chance?

On tools, again it looks like you're talking specifically about bid management. But there are many tools which are in use in the US which originated in Europe - Web CEO, IBP, Index Tools - to name just a few. They tend to have targeted the US and often are only availabe in US English. So, we use European tools that look American!!!

Equally, many of us use American tools over here - Go Toast now bought by Atlas (Australian of course), BidRank, Apex Pacific etc. And it's entirely possible to work with American companies such as Did.it.com for instance.

There's also an Australian company which operates in the UK called Hitwise which gives excellent market share type data to rival Nielsen.

Going back to the question on bid management tools - we use one and I know of at least two other UK tools besides Bid Buddy and there are others on the continent too. Generally, though, evolution is a little behind the US - but not so far behind.

On your question on do we just target a list of phrases! Forgive me, but your question comes across as very arrogant - which you probably didn't intend. Don't forget that many of us travel to SES events and work with companies all around the globe - in fact many speakers are European including Mikkel, Mike Grehan, Barry Lloyd, Sylvain Bellaiche et al. So we're well aware of strategic questions - and I doubt you'll get a really sensible answer to this.

In fact, my retort is, what do you do when the search engines 'normalise' spellings differently depending on language (e.g. Google normalises different accent spellings of Germany words both organically and on broad match, but when the language concatenates different stems to create a long word - the normalisation drops out. This means short words are OK, long words can present additional complexity).

Accents are a major issues for certain languages - especially French and German. Something like 50% of French people drop accents when they search. Mikkel could no doubt tell you similar stories for Denmark / Scandinavia.

And what do you do when the PPC engine is not on your bid management system - Netsprint (Poland) or Qualigo (Germany). Although to be fair, it's generally true that Europe is becoming increasingly google-overturised.

And what do you do, when the pay per click concept hasn't really taken off in a country - say Portugal for instance.

And when you're trying to compare cost for a term with the US - what do you want to compare? If you want to buy a term that you'd obtain in the US for say $5 throughout Europe you've really got an issue. Let's assume you just want UK, France and Germany. You'll probably get that term in the UK for half that say $2.50, it'll probably cost you .50 in France for a single equivalent term. In Germany it'll probably be $2 - but there'll be five different phrases for the same idea. So you end up at $13.

The figures I'm guessing at because I don't even know the phrase yet - but the point is you're buying across a population of what 300 million? We could target a larger population with with mulitple layers of complexity that would add cost and to get to the same level of generated clicks you'd actually have to spend a higher average than in the US - even individual bids would be lower. Translation costs? Management costs? Time?

Please help by:

1. Specifying which countries - Europe leaves it way way open.

2. Respect the fact that all of the PPC magic does not sit in the US!

Have a good day!

Andy

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Old 10-04-2004   #18
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Very good post, andy!

I'd like to ad a comment on the questions of what companies are biggest. Nobody realy knows that - just as well as nobody knows in the US. If you ask Marketleap, iProspect, did-it.com or Positiontech you'll get one answer and if you ask Brett Tabke, Oilman or WebGurilla I am sure you'll get another. Who is right and who is wrong? The fact is nobody knows.

I am not even sure how you would investigate it. For example, I own a couple of companies in Scandinavia. There is NO WAY you can find out what our revenue is. We only give minimum reporting to authorities (which, off course, others can gain acces to) that does not even include revenues. I could tell you we revenue $10 million or 20, for that sake, and there would be no way for you to find out if I am telling the truth or not.

Google and Overture could tell you who their biggest advertisers are but I am sure they wont Also, they may not know who is in fact manageing the accounts.
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Old 10-04-2004   #19
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Points taken

Andy,

Point taken on me sounding arrogant; you're right that my question #2 might come off as arrogant, and right again that that wasn't my intention. The reason I asked that specific question is that I've heard from a number of our advertiser clients that exact refrain - that bid prices are so much lower in the European countries they operate in that there's sufficient low-hanging fruit to be had from simply having the most expansive exact-match keyword list, such that spending time focusing on bid optimization, better ad copy, tier II-III SE's and landing page optimization is not yet as important as it has become in the U.S.

Mikkel, it's actually a fairly straight-forward exercise to know (with a 5-10% margin of error) who the largest 500 ppc advertisers and agencies are here in the U.S. One merely needs to have active Google & Overture accounts with sufficient amounts of keywords in place.

I really, really, really do not mean to be arrogant or blind to the multifacted European market; I'm married to a French woman and we speak 100% French at home, and I live a very French existence here in Silicon Valley. In all likelihood I'll be at SES Stockholm, though, and will be happy to eat my words some more over ****tails at the event
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Old 10-04-2004   #20
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Quote:
Mikkel, it's actually a fairly straight-forward exercise to know (with a 5-10% margin of error) who the largest 500 ppc advertisers and agencies are here in the U.S. One merely needs to have active Google & Overture accounts with sufficient amounts of keywords in place.
I think you are wrong. Again you forget that the market in Europe is not like the US - it's not one but many. So even if you did set up tons of keywords to grab some kind of info this way, you would have to multiply that efford with the number of languages spoken. In Scandinavia alone you would need 4 languages and we are only less than 30 million total.

Besides, I don't think you are right about the way you think you can analyse the market. Let's take Denmark as an example (just for the reason that I know this market extremly well - living here). The majority of the major brands that I manage in PPC engines leaves to trace back to be. You would not be able to find out that I am behind them.

So, how would your analysis show that I am (or not) the biggest PPC agency here?
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