Global marketing strategies have become increasingly important with the internationalization of business and globalization of markets. Even though they are characterized by centralized coordination to achieve scale and scope economies, localization is also becoming increasingly important as consumer demand varies across countries. As you enter new markets, your challenge is to strike the right balance between having a global strategy and local adaptation.

This blog will focus on exploring characteristics of the German market & will use market insights to give best practice advice for setting up and running German PPC campaigns.

Why advertise in Germany with Google Ads?

Germany’s high purchasing power and its high population also means a potentially higher reach and revenue with PPC activities. As a result, it doesn’t come as a surprise that more and more companies are considering expanding their PPC activities to Germany.

The German Online Market

Based on data from the IMF, Germany has the fourth-largest economy in the world. The country is also known for having the strongest economy in Europe and was ranked as the third-biggest online market in 2019.

Germany is the fifth-largest ecommerce market in the world. The total projected revenue for 2019 is 57.8 billion euros. It is the second-largest market in Europe after the ecommerce in the UK. It is viewed by many as one of the primary drivers of the digital European economy.

  • Revenue in the eCommerce market is projected to reach US$95m in 2021
  • User penetration will be 77.0% in 2021 and is expected to hit 82% by 2025
  • The average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to amount to US$1,500

Gooogle Ads rules in Germany

Google is by far the most popular of the German search engines, accounting for 95% of all searches in the country. Bing comes in at second place, with a 3% share of the search market, followed by Ecosia (a environmentally-friendly search engine that uses its ad revenue to plant trees) in third place at 0.7%.

As a result Google Ads will give you almost 100% reach within the german internet population. Most advertiser in Germany don´t bother with any other search engine other than Google.

Device Usage in Germany

Germany is wired and mobile. Most Germans go online regularly, use all of their devices to do so, and have made the internet part of daily life. Four out of 10 Germans have social media accounts, and active users are on their accounts several hours per day. A third of Germans have 4 or more connected devices, and more than 75% have smartphones.

Google Ads Agency insight:

We have experienced a higher CPA for mobile and a much lower conversion rate for some of our German campaigns. Some of our clients also see a much lower proportion of mobile and tablet traffic compared to desktop when comparing to their home country

Language for your Campaigns

Besides the online search and purchasing behaviour the language is another significant country characteristic that might impact your PPC activities. The number of German citizens who claim to be able to speak English is higher than 50% (Source: Google Fusion Table).

There is a difference between ‘you’ as the direct form and ‘you’ in the polite form, and it’s uncommon to use title case.

Think about having both English and German keywords, as many users in Germany speak English and might therefore search for English terms. Also think about extending your language settings to include English. Google recommends splitting out your campaigns by language, so you don’t risk having your ads show on sites in languages that are different to the language your ads are written in.

As the German language is much more difficult than the English language, don’t just try to translate your English keywords and ads. Generate keywords from fresh and consider that one English word often translates to several German words. This could also affect the length of your keyword list.

Think more carefully about using title case and whether to use the direct or polite form (both ‘you’ in English) when addressing users in your ads.
You might experience issues with your ad copy character count. ‘Summer sale’ for example is ‘Sommerschlussverkauf’ in German – this word would take up 20 of the 35 characters that you have available in each description line.

Google Ads Agency insight:

Generally speaking campaigns in english perform significantly better for B2B product and services.

Some clients who are running German campaigns are running ads in both German and English, and are bidding on both English and German keywords. This allows us to use English and German ads based on the user’s language settings, which helps to improve CTR. It also means that we can analyse the performance for each.

Search Volume for your Brand

The number of impressions you receive can really differ depending on how well known the brand is in Germany, so you can’t expect the same traffic as in your home country. You might want to use the Google Global Market Finder to get the estimated local monthly search volume for both countries.

Agency insight: We see much lower avg. CPCs for brand campaigns when the brand was less known in Germany, as there was less competition on the keywords. As a result, the costs and CPA were often much lower, although the conversion rate was also lower.

Conclusion

It has a very large number of online shoppers and high internet penetration, for example, along with one of the best logistics networks in the world. Growth has been consistent over the last decade and remains relatively stable.

Germany is an interesting market because it has several unique characteristics when compared to other countries.

But there are also obstacles. Chief among these is an unusually high return rate is certain sectors. With all of this in mind, there are excellent opportunities for retailers and businesses looking to enter the German market with Google Ads.