B2B Paid Media Strategies: What You Need for Success

by Mary Davin | October 18, 2022

It’s easy to want all your paid efforts to go towards immediate, dollar-driving, lower-funnel campaigns. Those are the ones that usually have the $$$ attached to them when it comes time to review ROI. But if your goal is a sustainable, scalable, cost-effective B2B PPC approach, that won’t be enough. You’re going to need to be much more thoughtful and strategic.

Well-rounded B2B PPC strategies should focus on building trust and awareness with your entire audience, not just those looking to currently buy. According to LinkedIn, 95% of buyers are out-market, meaning they aren’t actively looking to make a switch or sign on to a new service. If you focus too much on just those looking to make moves, you’re missing the majority of your opportunities.  

To see stronger, more predictable results, you need a B2B paid media strategy designed to build, intrigue, and then convert. Here’s how to get started building your foundation for success.

The Basics of B2B PPC

Before you start diving too deep into the nitty-gritty of strategy, it’s important for you to keep in mind a couple of things that help to set the right foundation and expectations for B2B PPC campaigns. 

First, the buyer’s journey is often long and involves more than one decision-maker in the process. Depending on your product, it could take a lead over a year to go from the first touchpoint to new business for your company. In other words, if you’re expecting to see immediate revenue, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Secondly, the channels you use also impact how well your B2B PPC campaigns perform. LinkedIn is a preferred ad platform for B2B and gives you everything you need, from a detailed job title to demographic targeting capabilities. Beyond paid opportunities, LinkedIn is also a powerful source for B2B content marketing opportunities

Google search ads are often challenging for B2B due to keyword intent or low search volume terms., You’ll probably find that you need several moving pieces to tie together a campaign. For example, implementing a strong negative keyword strategy and speaking directly to your audience in ad copy can help drive more qualified traffic. In cases where search volume is low, leveraging competitor terms may be a worthwhile tactic to explore. 

And finally, it’s wise to approach any B2B PPC strategy with a testing mindset and refine your ad to collect your data. You can make adjustments to maximize your efforts so you can see what’s working and what’s not.

With those key points out of the way, let’s get into the basics of a successful B2B campaign. 

What Do You Need for a B2B Lead Generation Campaign?

When you’re launching a PPC B2B lead generation strategy, you need a strong foundation that’s made up of the right building blocks. Each of the below aspects plays a crucial role in your campaign and should work together to create the impact you’re looking for. Once you have each one of these down, you can then start moving them around into the right shapes and strategies that help you achieve your specific goal. 

Audiences

When it comes to B2B PPC campaigns, your audience is everything. It affects what you say, what you run, where you run—everything. 

Starting audience research with your first-party data is a significant benefit in your campaign that can fuel similar and lookalike audiences. You can segment your audience further to cross-sell your other product and service offerings. 

If you’re low on first-party data (or even if you’re not), advertising platforms themselves offer a variety of targeting tools that help you refine and segment your audience. For example, LinkedIn does an excellent job targeting audiences by job title, experience, seniority, skill sets, interests, and more. 

Google Display and Video aren’t as robust as LinkedIn, but it is starting to fill in more gaps for B2B campaign targeting. If you haven’t used the platform in a while, you should consider their new “company size” and “targeting” options that could help drive more qualified web traffic and generate leads.

As you navigate through campaign platforms and new ideas, ensure you’re always focused on your audience. Your primary goal is to ensure you’re always reaching the right people with the right message.

Platforms

Jumping off of talking about audiences, different B2B campaign platforms perform better or worse depending on what you’re trying to accomplish and the KPIs you set, and with what audience. Search is great for high intent. Display and social are great for awareness. Facebook is an old standard but has become more challenging due to a loss in audience signals. LinkedIn pulls in business information from your profile automatically that you can use in your targeting. 

Depending on what you’re trying to do, you’ll need to make sure you’re finding the right platform to do it on. And never assume, either. When you launch paid social media campaigns—even if you think you know where and how your audience behaves— it’s essential to A/B test to optimize faster and to avoid making costly mistakes.

Beyond focusing on which B2B paid media platforms are best, it’s more important to consider your audience. Where are your customers spending their time, and what is the best way to reach them? There’s little point in experimenting with a platform your customer base isn’t utilizing or doesn’t offer the audience signals you need.

Goals

The goals of your B2B campaign often vary depending on the funnel stage of your specific campaign and are really the bedrock to knowing if you’ve made a good investment or not. For example, you shouldn’t expect awareness campaigns to result exclusively in closed business. Nor would you judge remarketing campaigns solely based on the number of impressions served. The entirety of your campaign and each part of your marketing funnel requires tracking and measurement. 

Creative + Messaging

When an ad speaks directly to your audience and addresses their pain points, all while offering valuable solutions, you strengthen your ad performance and conversion capabilities.  Calling out to your specific, targeted audience in your ad copy can yield higher CTRs and better engagement. Pair that accurate messaging with creative assets and your ads are likely to resonate and make an impact. 

When it comes to finding the right creative, consider using video. 78% of markets say that video has led to an increase in sales. Use video’s versatility to create:

  • B2B how-to’s and tutorials
  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Brand awareness

Top 3 B2B Paid Media Strategies 

With the building blocks in place and your foundation set, it’s time to form them into your strategy. Below are three strategies that Silverback routinely sees success with across clients and industries when it comes to B2B PPC campaigns. 

Lead Generation Forms

Lead generation forms are a powerful way to quickly gather contact information and assess whether or not someone is interested in your product or service. They’re available on all major platforms, and we’ve found they tend to yield higher conversion rates due to keeping users in-platform and on task. 

PPC B2B lead generation forms are easy to measure and user-friendly for the customer. LinkedIn’s forms are auto-filled with the user’s information and reduce friction in the conversion path and speed along the process. 

Remarketing

Remarketing is effective in B2B paid media due to B2B’s longer sales cycle and need for multiple touchpoints. When the customer continues to show interest, you end up with highly qualified leads more likely to convert. But it’s not just about retargeting users who have been to your site. You can also retarget based on other ad interactions.

Ad interactions vary, but it could mean someone viewed your video, opened a lead generation form, or viewed an image ad on LinkedIn. They’re also highly valuable forms of data. Changes in the online ad privacy landscape mean users may opt-out of cookie-tracking, which lowers your audience numbers for traditional website visitor segments. Leveraging these “walled-garden” audiences is a great way to supplement traditional cookie-based segments to continue reaching engaged users. 

Additionally, having connectivity with your CRM can boost your remarketing campaigns. If a lead moves from MQL to an Opportunity in Salesforce, you can push that back into the ad platform to help better attribute accurate lead values and target the updated segment with new messaging.

Account-Based Marketing

Another B2B PPC strategy we’ve seen make an impact is account-based marketing. This is when our marketing team works with our client’s internal sales team to identify specific organizations and build campaigns around those key accounts. From there, we can target those users directly who are most likely to convert with more tailored messaging, creative, and offers. As a result of this more targeted approach, the sales cycle is often shorter and produces a more robust loyalty base post-conversion. 

This marketing-meets-sales process often proves highly efficient. We can quickly and effectively bridge the gap between both departments while tailoring ad content and communication to our highest-valued prospects. 

Simplify Your B2B Paid Media Strategy with Silverback

Figuring out how to build a PPC B2B strategy can be difficult when your business has too many moving parts, budgets, and goals. Working with an agency can help simplify the strategy and keep your team focused on what’s important. Contact us today to discuss your next PPC B2B campaign.

Mary Davin

Mary is an data-driven digital marketer with a background in paid media. She’s an Appalachian State University alumni and enjoys hiking, baking, and music.

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