PPC marketers who run campaigns focused toward B2B audiences know that nuances of setup and performance can vary drastically from B2C campaigns. You’re attempting to reach professionals, often in tightly defined niches. Unfortunately, both clients and PPC managers often fall back on stereotypes of how these individuals are expected to behave, what timing is best to reach them, and what networks are optimal for driving leads.
In this article, we’ll address 4 common myths about B2B marketing via PPC and show you how ignoring these myths can potentially drive better performance.
Run Ads Only During Business Hours
Conventional marketing wisdom suggests that you should only show ads during normal business hours, with a schedule like 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. However, many B2B accounts often do see positive performance on weekends or late at night. In an always-on world of technology, small business owners and corporate executives alike may spend their time outside of work researching B2B services like what you’re offering. While the “rise of mobile” may be a cliche, it is crucial to remember that your audience is also using phones and tablets everywhere and not strictly working from a computer at an office desk.
Unless you possess clear hour and day performance data from a past campaign, don’t constrain the ad schedule when first launching a B2B campaign. Monitor results as you’ve accrued enough data to determine if you should pause or apply bid adjustments on weekends or “off” hours. You may even find that unexpected times have the best performance! See more about analyzing performance by time and creating ad schedules.
Pause Campaigns During Holidays
In line with assumptions about normal hours, many marketers suggest pausing B2B campaigns during holidays. Everybody’s out of the office picnicking on Labor Day, right? While performance certainly may slow on holidays for many accounts, this conventional wisdom once again doesn’t apply across the board.
For instance, in this example from a LinkedIn account, Columbus Day had the highest quantity of conversions for the month. While not a major holiday, you still may expect it to be a lower performing day with more likelihood of people being away from the office. Conversely, a slower business day for those still in the office may have led to people taking more time to research services.
Once again, don’t assume holidays aren’t going to be profitable for a B2B audience. Gather data in your account and use that to make decisions for future holidays.
Facebook Doesn’t Work for B2B
When expanding B2B PPC efforts beyond search, LinkedIn is often the first channel considered, as it’s naturally targeted toward a “business” audience. You may consider Facebook a more personal social media channel where people don’t want to be inundated with work-related advertising.
Actually, Facebook Ads can prove highly effective for B2B targeting, with much cheaper CPCs than LinkedIn. You’ll find a number of business-related audience criteria, including job title, company, industry, and more.
In addition, you can use custom audiences, matching Facebook profiles to emails or phone numbers. For instance, you can target a list of prospective customers who have signed up for a newsletter.You can also build lookalike audiences from custom audiences, including individuals with interests and demographic data in common with your existing lists. Finally, you can retarget to individuals who have previously visited your site (including subsets of people who have visited specific pages).
Keep Forms Short
Generally, conversion optimization advice recommends short forms with as few fields as possible. You don’t want to intimidate landing page visitors by requiring 20 different pieces of information just to download a whitepaper or request a demo.
However, when you’re targeting a niche B2B audience (for instance, C-level staff in IT companies) you may find forms inundated with people who don’t fit the proper audience persona. They may be junior employees when you only want senior staff or independent consultants when you only want to target enterprise-level companies.
If you find that a large number of unqualified leads are coming from a form with just a few fields, you may want to add more fields to increase quality. For example, if you only want people from companies with at least 1,000 employees, include a Company Size dropdown in which the lowest option starts at 1,000.
Fields like job title and company can help to exclude individuals who are not specifically looking for a business-related solution. Also, specifying “Company Email” can increase the likelihood of actually getting email addresses from company domains, as opposed to personal accounts.
Ending B2B Myths
If you’ve been defaulting PPC account management for B2B to any of these options, test running your campaigns at new times, using Facebook Ads, and creating landing pages with longer forms. You may be surprised by the results that come.
What B2B myths have you encountered that didn’t prove true in your PPC accounts? Share in the comments below!