Make Your Google Shopping Campaigns Multilingual

Portent Staff Sep 18 2014

Have you ever stumbled onto a new feature without even realizing it? It just happened to me recently when I told my boss Elizabeth that I had gotten a second, French language, PLA feed going for a client. She looked at me sideways and said “how’d you do that?” Considering she’s covered a PLA base or two (or million) I was pretty shocked that she was surprised.

She let me know that “No, Kiko, this hasn’t always been a thing”. Without even meaning to, I had stumbled into something new.

I’ll take you through the process I went through to set up Google Shopping campaigns in multiple languages and give you some pointers based on what I learned along the way. Once you know it’s there, It’s actually really easy to do.

Create and Upload Your Feed

What led me to my discovery in the first place is the fact that I have an e-commerce client with a strong presence in Canada. They serve versions of their site in both French and English. One of our jobs this year has been to expand our Canadian search campaigns to include both campaigns in both languages.

While I was updating their older PLA campaign setup to the new Google Shopping campaigns I had the thought, “I should duplicate this feed and upload it in French.” The information was all there, so I replaced titles, descriptions and URLs to reflect the French version of the site.

With my French spreadsheet ready to go, I created a new test feed, selected Canada as my country and French as my language.  This option wasn’t always there, but fortunately for me, it is now.

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After Elizabeth and I took a closer look, we realized that depending on what country we chose, we would essentially get their national languages. Here’s a quick rundown of the countries we found that allow for multiple languages.

  • Belgium – French & Dutch
  • Canada – English & French
  • Switzerland – German, English, French & Italian

The basic rule you need to follow is that is that, for each country or language you want to target, you need to have unique pages listed in that language & using the correct currency for the country.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s on a separate domain or a subdomain as long as it’s a unique URL and the data is correct. If you want more info, Google has a full rundown of the requirements for targeting each country here.

I uploaded my test feed, grabbed a cup of coffee, and checked the results when I got back (our feed is fairly small, you may have to go to lunch). After I had everything uploaded the way I wanted, I created a real feed and uploaded my products to it.

AdWords Implementation

I had everything set on the Merchant Center side so, obviously, the next goal was to set up my new French language Google Shopping campaign. At this point, I ended up taking one step forward, and two steps back, but I learned a lot.

It turns out that Google Shopping campaigns don’t actually have an option to target languages. For reasons I can only guess Google will give you the option of targeting a completely different country than your country of sale, but you can’t pick what language to target.

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Because that makes sense.

What that gave us was one Google Shopping campaign, targeting Canada, that included both French and English products lumped together. That’s not really ideal when it comes to writing promotional text or having to bid for both languages at once.

Thankfully, when AdWords introduced Google Shopping campaigns, they gave us the tools to work around this issue in Custom Labels. We did have to use one of our custom label spots, but we used that custom label to tag each item with the language it was written in. After we tagged them all, we re-uploaded both the French & English Feeds in Merchant Center.

Once the changes were live in our AdWords account, we got busy creating two separate campaigns. We used an inventory filter in the campaign settings so that each campaign only received products in the language we selected, one for English, one for French.

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With only a little bit of extra work we ended up with two campaigns targeting separate languages just like we originally intended. Until AdWords introduces language settings as an actual feature for Google Shopping campaigns, this work around will get you going.

So far, we have only tried this for Canada, but I’d love to hear from anyone else doing global e-commerce. Do you promote products in one of the countries that qualify? Have you tried promoting PLAs in multiple languages? How was your experience? Le me know!

Merci beaucoup!

 

**Photo By: Markus Spiske