Paid search advertising isn’t used as often in B2B marketing as it is in B2C.
Running a successful B2B paid search advertising campaign in niche B2B target markets can be extremely difficult. This is primarily because B2B target markets are smaller, so defining profitable keywords can be challenging. In addition, even once you have found suitable keywords, turning them into conversions and sales isn’t always easy. However, when done right, B2B paid search campaigns can be instrumental in growing your B2B business through generating leads and ultimately, sales.
The key to a successful B2B search campaign lies in fully understanding the differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing. B2B and B2C marketing differ in a number of ways; from the length of the sales cycle, to the buyer journey and decision-making processes.
When it comes to paid online campaigns, ROI is a huge consideration and it’s important to remember the discrepancy in conversion value between B2B and B2C. Typically, the value of a customer is much higher for B2B businesses. The average e-commerce transaction is worth $85 to $120, so even when you factor in the potential for repeat business, B2C businesses might make $250 per customer. For B2B companies, however, the lifetime value of a customer is often between $20,000 and $200,000. This means that while cost per click and as such, cost per conversion may seem very high for B2B businesses, the potential for a good ROI on the channel is huge.
The main thing to bear in mind when it comes to generating leads through B2B paid campaigns, is that clicks are likely to cost more. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the channel isn’t profitable. Another important consideration for B2B paid search campaigns, is that you’re likely to see less direct conversions as B2B products and services typically are not bought and sold online, so you can’t see direct purchases or e-commerce sales.
There are certain things however, that you can do to ensure your B2B paid campaigns are as effective as possible in generating ROI for your business. The following are some of our most effective tips and tricks for B2B AdWords and other B2B paid search campaigns.
Tips for Paid Search Success From B2B Experts
Implement Comprehensive Tracking & Attribution
As the B2B buying cycle is longer and involves multiple touch points (8 on average before making a sale), customers are likely to be interacting with your brand through a variety of channels and campaigns before finally converting.
Tracking and attributing your leads, clients, and sales back to specific campaigns and keywords is one of the most important parts of your B2B paid search marketing strategy. Effectively tracking your digital lead generation campaign involves collecting data from multiple sources and pulling it together to get a clear picture of the performance of each of your campaigns and how they work together.
There is a range of different attribution models that you can apply to track the success of your paid search campaigns. Some of the most common are below:
- Last Click Attribution: Last Click Attribution gives 100% of the credit to the channel that brought the last interaction with the lead before they converted.
- First Click Attribution: Similar to Last Interaction, however, 100% of the credit is given to the channel that brought the customer to the website for the first time.
- Last Non- Direct Click: In many cases, customers will research and find a brand on a certain channel, then come back to the website by typing the URL directly into the search bar. The Last Non-Direct Click model helps to eradicate these visits by eliminating any “direct” interactions that occur right before the conversion. Instead, 100% of the credit is given to the channel before the direct interaction.
- Linear Attribution: With a Linear attribution model, credit for a conversion is split equally between all the interactions that a customer had with your business.
- Time Decay: Similar to Linear attribution, Time Decay attribution spreads the credit across multiple channels. However, with time decay, channels that were used closest to the conversion get more credit.
- U-Shaped Attribution: This type of attribution assigns more credit to the first and last touch-points, splitting the rest of the credit equally between any other channels.
By measuring the success of your paid search campaigns using the Attribution Model that makes more sense for your business’ unique buyer journey, you get more insight into how effective the channel is for your business.
In addition, if your business uses a CRM, you can categorise the leads generated from your paid search campaigns, and report on their lead status, for example, ‘closed, lost, ongoing’ etc, as well as assign any associated revenue to these leads. This can also give you a more in-depth analysis of the profitability of your campaign.
Don’t Forget About Bing Ads
It’s no secret that Google dominates the search marketing landscape. As such, most B2B marketers tend to put most of their budget into Google, overlooking other options like Bing. Despite Google being the prominent search engine, the power of Bing should not be underestimated. According to the latest data, Bing has a 33% market share in the US and a significant market share in other countries across the globe, powering six billion unique searches per month from 145 million active users. This gives marketers huge potential to reach their target audience. Bing is particularly effective for B2B marketers as most businesses use Microsoft OS on their hardware, with Bing set as the default search engine.
While Bing is unlikely to give you the same number of impressions, clicks and conversions as Google, bids on Bing tend to be lower, and the competition for keywords is lower. This means that cost per conversion is typically a lot lower on Bing.
Bing even makes it really easy to get set up, as you can basically copy and paste your current Google campaigns using its import feature. That being said, it can be equally valuable to build a campaign strategy specifically for Bing, taking into consideration things specific to the search engine such as search volumes, user intent, and demographics. Depending on the products and services that you’re promoting, the audience on Bing may work well for your business. According to the search engine, 40% of its network is 35-54 years old, whereas Google’s search audience is much younger. In addition, over one-third of Bing’s audience has a household income of over $100,000. For marketers who are promoting products and services to these specific target segments, advertising on Bing could have significant impact.
“I’m not going to talk about the death of keywords this year. In my opinion, they’re already dead, in a sense, as a primary targeting method. If you’re thinking about them first, you’re already behind.” Aaron Levy – Paid search expert.
In 2018, there was a significant shift in targeting from keywords to an “audience first” mentality, as paid search platforms improved their audience targeting and segmenting abilities for advertisers. Google and Bing are both pushing advertisers to use audience targeting and the options that they now provide can be beneficial to B2B marketers.
While keyword targeting is undoubtedly effective, the problem with targeting in this way is that the keywords you choose may not exactly match the search intent you’re looking for. Accurately gauging the intent behind a keyword can be difficult, for example, an insurance company targeting dental practices may use keywords like ‘insurance for dentists’ and ‘dentists insurance’. However, many patients who are looking for insurance that covers dental work may also use these search terms, which is where the confusion comes in and the ads may not match the search intent.
Paid search advertising is intent-based, in that you’re targeting people who are actively looking for a solution to their problems. But, with keyword targeting, you’re not targeting the potential customers, but rather the keywords. If the keywords you’ve chosen don’t reliably match the search intent you’re trying to target, you end up wasting a lot of money on the wrong clicks. This is where audience targeting comes in.
Audience targeting is all about targeting people and it’s the most commonly used type of targeting on social media platforms like Facebook Ads. With audience targeting, you’re not using the keywords that you think your audience is interested in, instead, you’re targeting people who actually match your customer base. Audiences can be created based on factors that match your buyer personas such as age, interests, income, behaviours and a variety of other factors. However, audience targeting alone may not be particularly effective for paid search campaigns.
Combining keywords with audiences is the best way to make sure your ads reach the right people. Search Engines like Google and Bing don’t have the same insight into their audience’s personal lives as social media channels like Facebook do. However, using the audience targeting options that are available is an excellent way to improve the targeting of your paid search ads.
You can also modify your bids based on the audience, which is a great way to analyse the performance of your campaign. Setting up targeting in this way allows you to qualify users before they get to your site by seeing which audiences are converting and which aren’t. You can then use this information to target only the traffic that works for your business, which will reduce your Cost Per Acquisition and improve the quality of the leads that are generated. Going a step further, you can even create specific audience-focused campaigns to give you more control over your bidding and CPA performance.
If you need help with your B2B AdWords campaign or other paid search campaigns, get in touch with the B2B Marketing Consultants at the Lead Agency. We’re a Google certified AdWords Agency and as such, can help boost your results on the channel.