A Definitive Guide to B2B Advertising
B2B digital marketing spend is increasing much faster than traditional advertising spend in the industry, turning our attention to more creative and impactful ways to run these campaigns. 1 Keep reading for our step-by-step guide to running a successful B2B campaign.
1. Determine your campaign goal
One of the first things you need to know when running an advertising campaign is why you’ve decided to advertise and what you’re hoping to accomplish. Are you trying to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your site? Sell a product? That goal will determine what KPIs the campaign should focus on. It is helpful to set measurable benchmarks: a 0.2% CTR, $100 CPA, etc., giving you something specific to optimize towards.
2. Define your target audience
You probably already know your business’s target audience, or the people most likely to become your customers. However, now that you’ve determined your campaign’s goal, is there a more specific niche you’re trying to reach? Maybe you’re running a special for a particular product or service, or you’re looking to expand into a new market. These are all factors that go into determining who your target audience is for a campaign.
3. Find the best channels to reach your audience
There are many digital avenues to choose from when deciding where to post your ads, so put some thought into where your audience is going to be spending their time, or where they might go to look for your product. CMOs surveyed by Gartner said social and search advertising ranked highest in terms of online budget allocations for 2022, with 10.1% and 9.8% of their budget, respectively.2 However, this doesn’t mean that other placements won’t be beneficial to your campaign. Choosing the right placement is just as important as choosing the right audience.
When you think of social platforms to run a B2B campaign on, you probably think LinkedIn, and in a survey done by MarketingProfs, 75% of B2B marketers make use of LinkedIn for paid media.3 While LinkedIn is a great option for B2B campaigns due to their arsenal of proprietary data on job experience, professional interests, and company attributes, other social platforms can also be beneficial for B2B campaigns. “Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok can be utilized for B2B efforts,” said Katelyn Duff, Chief Revenue Officer. “The social platforms suggested would be determined based on the target audience itself, the industry they are in, as well as other industry research.”
If the audience you’re trying to reach is spending more of their time on social sites like Twitter or Facebook, it might be easier to reach them there, even if they aren’t specifically browsing business-related content. “There is great value in exploring additional platforms for B2B efforts, especially given that we can still target individuals that hold certain job titles or functions across other social media outlets,” said Shalyn Mulholland, Vice President of Sales
Paid search, or PPC, is a great way to reach users who are actively searching for and possibly comparing products. With the right keyword list, you can target people looking for your product, a competitor’s product, or even just a solution to a problem your product solves. Paid search has the added benefit of putting your brand in front of a user at a time they are prepared to be seeing it, giving a higher likelihood of engagement than standard display or social ads.
Email marketing, native ads, and podcast advertising are all great ways to reach a B2B audience. Each placement has its strengths, so reach out to your sales representative to see what is the best fit for your campaign.
Keep in mind that running multiple placements will help you reach more people and achieve your goals easier, as niche targeting will limit your audience size. “Audiences are often much more granular for B2B than B2C programs, so forecasting avails in advance can be super important to ensure feasibility and to help determine what spend levels make the most sense to achieve desired frequencies,” said Mulholland.
4. Choose targeting tactics that help you reach your audience in a creative way
Using a variety of targeting tactics ensures you’re reaching as many relevant people as possible. “Division-D partners with a variety of premium B2B targeting vendors such as Bombora, Dun & Bradstreet, and HG Insights,” said Blair Michael, Senior Account Executive. “The ability to customize target audiences has been valuable to ensure our campaigns are reaching the correct audience.”
Account-Based Marketing allows you to target employees of a specific company. This tactic can be combined with other targeting options to ensure your ads serve to the exact audience you’re looking to reach. “ABM targeting has been a historically successful tactic for B2B campaigns,” said Duff. “With ABM, we leverage third-party data partners to match a job title list against a client-specified list of companies. We can then target those specific users.”
Conference targeting uses geofencing technology to target the location of a conference, tradeshow, or other event where the attendees are likely to be prospective customers of your business. Those same users can be retargeted after the event has ended. This way, users are exposed to your brand while in a relevant mindset and then reminded of it once they return home and have time to research your product and services.
Firmographic targeting creates custom targeting segments based on industry classification, functional area, company revenue, company size, job title, seniority, and more. “I often run Firmographic targeting when industry or job title requests are more granular than what we have third-party audience segments available for,” said Mulholland. “With Firmographic targeting, industry leaders Bombora and Dun & Bradstreet will build custom audience segments leveraging NAICS or SIC codes to ensure we are serving ads to professionals based on a wide range of business classifications and professional roles.”
Mail domain targeting serves ads to users based on the domains they have received emails from. Create a list of competitor sites, relevant newsletters, etc. to build an extensive prospective audience for your campaign. This is a great option for reaching people your competitors are already in contact with or people who are actively engaging in your industry.
5. Include a lead form
Include some sort of lead form on your website, whether it be for an email newsletter, trading contact info for a whitepaper, or creating an account with your business. First-party data is becoming increasingly valuable as third-party cookies are phased out and other privacy measures implemented. Having a list of emails, addresses, phone numbers, etc. ensures that you always have a way to reach the people who have shown interest in your business.
Division-D offers additional placements and targeting tactics not mentioned in this blog. Check out our B2B one-sheeter or set up a call with your Division-D rep for more information.
- Statista, 2022. “Change in digital marketing spending and traditional advertising according to B2B CMOs in the United States as of August 2022”
- Gartner, 2022. “The State of Marketing Budget and Strategy 2022”
- Statista, 2021. “Leading paid social media platforms used by B2B marketers to distribute content worldwide between July 2020 and July 2021”