Creating Multilingual Facebook Ads: Challenges and Quick Wins

Flow Commerce has surveyed online apparel shoppers in 11 global markets. They found that 67% of those shoppers have bought something from companies in other countries in the last six months.

Another survey from CSA research has revealed that 75% of online shoppers in non-Anglophone countries prefer to buy online in their native languages.

Image source: shopify.com

For online store owners, those numbers mean two things: 

1. There’s a huge potential to drive sales from cross-border purchasing.
2. You can maximize your profits by reaching your potential customers in their native language.

Facebook advertising is one of the best ways to drive traffic and sales to online stores. According to a study of more than 60,000 Shopify stores by sixads, Facebook ads are among the top three sources that bring traffic to Shopify stores. They account for 22.08% of the total traffic.

That’s why, in this blog post, we will discuss how you can succeed with multilingual Facebook ads and drive sales from global shoppers. We will also tackle some of the challenges multilingual Facebook ads may offer.

Why your ads should speak the language of your customer?

To tap into a potential foreign audience, you need to speak their language. Ideally, you should translate and adapt your Facebook ads to each region, depending on the audience’s preferred language.

But what would happen if you ignore your target audience’s native language? Likely, you would just end up wasting your budget on ads that don’t convert.

Translating the ads to each country’s language can lead to an increase in performance. Let’s take PPC Hero’s case as an example. With their Facebook ad campaigns failing to hit daily budget caps, PPC Hero decided to target their potential customers in India with ads in Hindi. The results were mind-blowing.

When PPC Hero switched their ads to Hindi, their CPA decreased by 61%! The conversion rate increased by 36%. Wouldn’t you love to see such numbers in your Ads Manager? 

Challenge #1: It’s simply expensive

The more languages you add, the more expensive your ads become. For example, if your daily ad budget for the US market is $50, your monthly budget is already $1500. If you decide that you want to reach your target audience in some European countries, your ad budget will grow accordingly. 

Though, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your ad budget will double with an additional language. In some countries, advertising costs are lower than in the US – you may spend a few hundred bucks less. In a previous example, an additional language would cost you around $1200 per month. But it’s still not cheap.

Image source: adespresso.com

There are some markets like India or the Philippines where advertising costs are very low. In India, the average CPC on Facebook is just $0.12. However, people there usually don’t have enough buying power, so your ads probably wouldn’t convert, so it wouldn’t be a smart way to use your money.

It’s not just about translating one ad

Also, keep in mind that it’s not enough to create one ad for one product and then translate. To increase your brand awareness and drive sales, you need to have full-funnel campaigns. And for that, you need to allocate a budget. 

The budget needed would depend on the country you’re targeting, the number of ads you’re running, your products’ price, your industry, and more.

Below you can see how the average CPC in Facebook ads looks across all industries.

Image source: wordstream.com

The numbers vary from one industry to another, ranging from $0.45 per click for Apparel to a whopping $3.77 per click for Finance & Industry.

So, before branching out to different countries, make sure you have the budget to run your ads successfully in your primary country. If you are flush with cash, by all means, branch out to different countries. Just make sure you have enough budget to run that test properly, as running one ad with a $50 budget for a month would tell you nothing. You need to collect enough sales data to know whether you can make a profit in a specific country.

Challenge #2: It gets difficult to manage ads’ structure

The more languages you have on your website, the more complicated your ads’ structure becomes. As things build-up, it becomes increasingly difficult to look after your ads and optimize them.

When is the best time of the week or day to run your ads? What are the most suitable placements? Should it be a carousel, a video ad, or a single photo post? Should your ad be seen only by women between 25-45 who recently got engaged and like dogs? 

What if you’re testing several creatives for your ads and comparing different texts or visuals? And what if you’re trying to cover a full customer acquisition funnel with your Facebook ads? Just imagine the logistics of judging the results of the same campaign across different markets.

You get the point. It’s tough.

Challenge #3: Translations take time & effort

Imagine you want to run a Facebook ad campaign targeting only the US.

You will likely want to cover the whole user journey for multiple products that you sell. In such a case, you’ll probably have to create dozens of ads, each with unique texts and visuals. That’s already quite a bit of work!

Image source: unsplash.com

Now, imagine you decide to follow the eCommerce trends and go global. Say, you find out that targeting Spain and Germany can bring you great results. You’d need to remake all of your ads you’ve done for the US in German and Spanish. This means you’d need to rewrite each ad. Your work multiplies! 

And even though your school Spanish may be good enough for replying to comments under your social media posts, you probably won’t be able to write a good copy for ad texts. It’s always best to leave this job to the professionals.

Localization of your Facebook ads content will, unfortunately, be costly and time-consuming. It takes time to set up your initial campaign right. You’d need to plan in the time and costs to get the translation work done. Plus, you may want to consider having different creatives for different audiences. 

Challenge #4: More languages means more landing pages

If you have your Facebook ads translated to French, for example, you’ll need to translate your landing pages as well. Otherwise, you will waste your budget on users who will click on your ad but close that page straight away because of the language change.

Every additional language will add up to a new landing page. So, before you brainstorm an ad in another language, weigh your opportunities to offer a localized landing page. You’ll not only need to translate your menu names, delivery, and return policies but also each product description.

If you want to make sure you’ve done absolutely everything to make that sale, you’ll need to gather reviews in that language as well. Sounds like a lot of work? It sure is, so before starting with the translations, make sure it’s feasible for your business to do it now. If you don’t have enough resources to carry it through, consider leaving it for another time.

Challenge #5: People expect customer service in their local language

Image source: unsplash.com


So, you’ve successfully published an ad. There’s still one but though. 

What if your leads comment on your ad or leave a review on your store? What if they write you an email in that language? 

You certainly can continue your communication in your original language if you have no other choice.

However, research shows that at least 60% of people expect customer service to be in their native language when contacting a brand. Communicating with your customers in their native tongue leads to higher user satisfaction. According to a 2014 CSA report, the likelihood of repeat purchases increases when customers can access more language-local content.

As much as 84% of brands who improve their customer service see an increase in sales. Don’t know about you, but we like those increased chances a lot, especially because we know how hard it is to make that sale in the first place. 

Of course, hiring support staff for each language isn’t always feasible, and it’s definitely expensive.

Where to start from?

See if you can do a short „test drive“ for one language at a time. Don’t commit all the resources straight away. Look into hiring a freelancer, or maybe there’s already someone in your team who’ll be able to help with their school Spanish. Only after you see that there’s traction with your chosen language consider hiring someone permanently.

You could also start by translating your FAQ and any other parts of your website where you provide useful information about shipping and your brand. It’s a relatively easy and affordable first step you could take towards providing multilingual customer service to your clients.

Also, think about automation tools and apps to make your customer service more efficient.

So, how do you make it all work?

All of the challenges mentioned above have two main shared obstacles: they require extra time and resources. You can do a few quick workarounds, but you still need to work hard to find winning strategies for each country.

Here are a few strategies you can apply right away. 

Create multilingual ads with a language switch option on a landing page

It’s a great solution that could make your customer journey smooth and pleasant. Simply run a multilingual ad and land your leads to a page with a language switch option. Your task is to make it easy for your store’s visitors to change the language quickly. Use clear, large buttons for switching between languages. Once your potential buyers press on their preferred language, they will be redirected to the language-specific landing page.

Automate your Facebook ad translations

A relatively easy way to create a multilingual ad is to use Facebook Dynamic language tool. It lets you show the same ad in different languages. This tool saves you time because you only need to create one ad set. There’s also no need to apply separate language targeting.

Image source: jonloomer.com

To make the process easier, Facebook also offers automatic translations. Though such translations are not perfect and ideally would need to be reviewed by a human, they still can get your message across.

Image source: jonloomer.com

Though the workarounds above may not work as well as running multiple campaigns for different languages and directing people to custom-made landing pages, it’s a solid start. This way, you will save some money and time on numerous campaigns’ structure management and serve your multilingual audience too.

Want to learn more about scaling your online store with Facebook advertising? Connect with sixads on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube!

This is a guest post contribution by Julija Televiciute. Julia is a freelance copywriter at sixads, an app that helps online store owners to accelerate sales with easy ads. Specialized in copywriting, social media, and dog memes, Julija helps businesses get creative with ideas for content that creates value and sells.

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