With an average click-through rate of 2.41% on Google (and even lower across social platforms), it’s easy to see why companies are wary of investing lots of money into their B2B advertising efforts.
The reasons traditional B2B advertising campaigns aren’t often cost-effective include:
- Targeting the wrong audience
- Distributing the ads through the wrong channels
- Offers not consistent to where buyers are on their journey
- Insufficient analysis on advertising performance
When you combine those problems with the high costs associated with advertising placement, you start to see how advertising might not deliver the results or ROI you want.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
There are ways to improve the effectiveness of your advertising without breaking the bank. In fact, with the right tactics you can decrease your spending while seeing better results.
Let’s look at the ways you can start launching killer ad campaigns that drive more revenue and keep your costs in check.
Identify the Right Audience
The best way to help your advertising campaigns hit the mark — and be cost effective — is to laser-focus on the right audience. Advertising campaigns that cast a wide, unfocused net can spend a lot of money without making an impact.
Focus on in-market accounts
Choosing the right audience requires understanding which of your target buyers are ready to buy, and focusing your ad spend on that audience.
The good news is that your buyers are constantly giving off signals when they’re interested in services like yours. Some of those signals include:
- Visiting your website
- Researching topics related to your industry or products
- Reading third-party review and industry sites
All of those signals add up to provide a comprehensive look into a buyer’s state of mind and where they are on their journey.
If a target account isn’t researching solutions at all, they’re unlikely to buy from you. They’re simply not ready or interested. But those who are researching will be receptive to your advertising.
Here’s the tricky part: Most of the buyers performing research don’t fill out forms or raise their hands, so how can you know who they are?
This anonymous research occurs in what we call the Dark Funnel™, and with the right technology, you can shine a light on all of this information.
When you uncover all of the previously hidden signals your buyers are giving off, you’ve suddenly discovered a crystal clear picture of who you should target with your advertising.
Deliver the Right Message to the Right Person at the Right Time
The real power that comes from a technology that uncovers this information is the ability to create dynamic segments.
For instance, if you know you have a large audience that’s researching a specific product on your website, you can create advertising that speaks directly to that group.
Dynamic segments also allow you to quickly shift accounts to different messaging campaigns depending on their buying signals.
Because B2B sales cycles are typically long, buyers shift from different stages of their journey, especially as different members of buying teams begin to engage. With a minor bit of sleuthing, you can hone in on important members of the buying team and target specific members with ads based on their interests and roles.
The types of content you deliver should differ based on where someone is in the buying process. When you leverage a platform that constantly monitors buying signals, you can let automation take over to target buyers based on specific criteria — and prioritize which audiences will have the biggest impact.
Nailing the timing of your messages helps you spot revenue moments: times when buyers are ready to shift toward deeper engagement, and are most likely to respond to direct outreach from a sales rep.
Instead of targeting your advertising at audiences based on arbitrary information, use real-time data on what your prospects are interested in and when they’re ready to buy.
Choose the Correct Channels
Once you’ve determined the audience for your ad campaign, it’s time to choose through which channels you’ll distribute the ads.
There are a handful of options that most businesses choose for their digital advertising:
- Search engines
- Banner ads
- Social media
All of these channels have their time and place of ideal use. An ad during a YouTube video should have different goals and messaging than one that appears during a Google search, for instance.
Understanding the unique characteristics of each channel (and your audiences’ relationship with them) is key to choosing the right channel — which increases effectiveness and reduces costs.
Are your buyers spending more time reading third-party review sites, or are they spending more time watching videos related to your industry? Using a platform that gives you the answers to those types of questions makes it much easier to identify the right channel.
Simplify How You Target Ad Inventory
If you’re distributing across different channels, then you’ll also have to manage different budgets across different platforms.
That can get unwieldy very quickly as you will need an employee responsible for monitoring the performance of your ads across all channels while fine-tuning your budget to ensure you don’t overspend for the results you receive.
The best way to control your spending is to utilize a demand-side platform (DSP) to manage your advertising campaigns.
A DSP is a tool that helps users place their ads through the platform’s network of placement options and can automatically optimize the cost of the campaign based on expected results.
Instead of logging into multiple platforms multiple times a day, users can utilize the DSP like a command center to monitor all of their campaigns at once and quickly see how much they cost.
Control Your Spend
Advertising campaigns can quickly head toward a negative ROI when costs aren’t being tightly controlled.
The average cost-per-click for a B2B search ad is $3.33. At that price, your budget can quickly spiral out of control if you haven’t set tight parameters, or focused your campaign on the right audience.
When targeting B2B buying groups, it’s important to focus your spending only on the people who are most likely to be involved in the purchasing decision:
- The people who will use your solution
- Their managers
- Key executives who will approve the expenditure
What you don’t want to do is target every single person at a target company or at a corporate HQ. You’ll waste money targeting hundreds or thousands of people when there are really only a dozen or so true decision makers worth targeting.
By honing in on decision makers, you control your budget and also ensure that each message is reaching someone who can influence the decision to purchase your solution.
Analyze Ad Performance
The only way to know if your advertising is effective is to study the numbers. Metrics like click-through rate, cost-per-click, cost-per-impression, and conversion rate are all great, but they only tell the story in broad strokes.
You want metrics that show how you’re actually influencing pipeline — deals, not just leads — and driving revenue for your business.
The advertising platform you use should be able to tie your campaigns’ performance to how they drive buyers to take the actions you want.
These are the kinds of metrics that will help you determine the real value of your ad campaigns:
- Performance by channel
- Ad engagement by account
- Messaging and creative performance
- Pipeline influenced
- Revenue driven
Performing analysis on your campaigns helps you fine tune future campaigns and uncover what mix of messaging, channel, and target audience works best.
Advertising is still an effective method of engaging with your target buyers. However, to maximize ROI and eliminate waste, you need to leverage the right strategies and technology. Take your campaigns to the next level by guaranteeing your ads reach the right audience in the right place.