Search Engine Marketing

How to Target Foreign Countries with Google AdWords

By March 31, 2014 March 8th, 2019 No Comments

In the majority of cases, a company’s products or services are limited to one country, however many people want to show ads in different countries, whether they be testing the waters or keen on establishing themselves as an international business. To save time, money and irrelevant leads, language targeting is essential in any Google Adwords campaign.

This feature allows business owners to target consumers who speak different languages in foreign countries. Most languages are covered but a full list is available when setting up this feature.

A language targeting tool has also been set up for businesses that wish to extend their reach. Adwords language targeting ensures that your ads appear in the correct language to suit the viewer. Although Adwords do not translate your ads for you, Google will only feature them to the people who speak the same language that you have selected in your AdWords targeting.

  • If you are targeting English speakers in France. You would select France as a location, English as a language and use English advert text and keywords within your ad group. Your ad will only show to people using, with English as their preferred language.
  • If you are targeting French speakers in France. You would select France as a location, French as a language and use French advert text and keywords within your ad group. Your ad will show to people using, when the French keywords are typed.
  • So you want to target French people in France, use French keywords, French ads and French landing pages!

After selecting the country and language you would like to target, Google will show your keywords to users with the language setting that matches. For example, Google will not show a Spanish written ad to a tourist in Spain when their language settings are English.

As we know, whether it be, or, all domains have a different default language attached to them. However, a preferences option is used to change this when a speaker of one language accesses a domain of a different language. This would also change the ads that they are exposed to e.g. our English tourist visits whilst on holiday, but changes his language preference to English (the default being Spanish). Google quickly changes the ads that they see which have been preselected by you, the advertiser as English speakers in Spain.

Whilst only a small amount of effort is needed to translate your keywords and ad, it is vital that you think about the language on your landing page too. Having an ad in a different language but a website with its original text would drive traffic initially to your site but quickly away when they struggle to navigate a foreign site.


It is a good idea to have a look at Google Trends before you set up language targeting. Google Trends will show you who is interested in your product through the search of your keyword, present a range of results including country, region or city, all of which can be targeted more effectively using additional analytic tools. It may come as no surprise that your ‘student supplies’ keyword is more in demand in the cities with the most condensed student population but it may flag up the areas that you hadn’t thought of or underestimated as an area to target.

Following the same example, if you target a university for a student supplies keyword, you could set a radius around the targeted university to also include the areas in which the consumer will live meaning you target only the population which is most interested in your products.