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Targeting Non-English Browsers to Produce Incremental Paid Search Orders

For a mature paid search program, it can often be a challenge to find wholly new opportunities for expansion. You can only build out so many new keywords and adjusting bids with different pushes and pulls can only do so much.

Targeting browsers with different language settings is one way you can add some truly incremental traffic and order volume to your program.

Users May Search in One Language While Their Browsers are Set to Another

Many US advertisers limit their paid search programs to targeting users with browsers set to English, and maybe Spanish, because they don’t have webpages optimized and translated for other languages. However, this strategy leaves a good bit of volume on the table.

There is a fairly significant amount of traffic within the United States and internationally coming from Google users searching in English while using a browser of a different language setting. As ads will only serve for users who have their browser language set to the ones targeted by a campaign, this means many advertisers lose out on searches made in English on browsers not set to English.

This presents an opportunity for savvy advertisers.

Targeting English Keywords to Non-English Browsers

For one advertiser, we increased monthly sales from non-brand keywords $30,000 while maintaining the same return on investment by building out new campaigns of English keywords targeted to all other language browsers besides English. This amounted to 1.4% of all non-brand orders through Google AdWords for the four month time period.


Two thirds of this traffic came from languages other than Spanish, so if you are already targeting English searches on Spanish browsers, you are still leaving the majority of the traffic on the table.

So, how should you go about capturing all of this incremental traffic?

Best Practices for Targeting Non-English Browsers

The simplest method you might think to use it to just target all of the other languages with your current campaigns. However, there are a couple of reasons why this is a bad idea:

  • First, the conversion rate of users that search in English using other language browsers is still significantly lower than those searching on English browsers, so bidding this traffic effectively requires a separate campaign.
  • The second reason is that Google will match broad match keywords that do not contain broad match modifier with search queries in entirely different languages. You can read more about that here.

Because of these reasons you would want to avoid the temptation of simply tacking on additional language targeting to your already existing campaigns.

The implementation I would recommend for most advertisers who only have an English website would be to launch two new campaigns: One campaign for branded keywords and another one for the top non-brand search queries limited to exact, phrase, and broad match modified terms.

You can slice and dice the language settings of your campaigns in AdWords UI however you want, but it’s easiest to just target all of the other languages at once if you only have an English website.


An important thing to consider at launch is that even if you are only capable of fulfilling orders for US domestic delivery is to check the setting  for “People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location.”


There is quite a bit of international volume from people on other language browsers searching to deliver to the United States. For many advertisers, these searchers also typically produce a higher ROI than those searching within the USA on non-English browsers.


But what about Bing?

Advertising on other language browsers on Bing Ads is both more complicated and more limited. Traffic volume is much lower, and advertisers are only permitted to deliver ad copy and landing pages in a particular language in countries where that language is supported.

It’s still possible to target non-English browsers using English language copy in the countries listed below, including India, Singapore, and Malaysia, with English as their ad language setting, but the breadth of opportunity is significantly lower than Google’s.



Growing a mature paid search account often times takes creative and outside of the box thinking, so continually experimenting, trying out new things, and having an in-depth knowledge of how ads are served by the engines is very important. This is particularly true of language and geographic targeting settings, which advertisers need to fully understand in order to target all relevant searchers.