6 Main reasons B2B marketers should use Facebook ads.
It is common to think that B2B advertisers should use LinkedIn ads first. It makes sense since LinkedIn is a business network, but Facebook is actually a better channel for B2B advertising.
What Makes Facebook better than LinkedIn?
While LinkedIn is great to target people based on their job titles and employers (Facebook can do it as well), it still lacks focused targeting abilities. Furthermore, there’s no decent tracking of the results, whereas LinkedIn launched a conversion tracking pixel as recently as the second half of 2016. Before that, you couldn’t gauge your ad’s performance on the LinkedIn dashboard, beyond impressions and clicks.
Facebook, on the other hand, has better targeting abilities, greater traffic volumes, a better variety of ad types and, is generally, more cost-effective than LinkedIn. In addition, Facebook has a very efficient optimization algorithm that helps scale your campaigns and keep them effective.
1. Use everything Facebook knows about the users to target the right businesses
Yes, Facebook knows a lot about their users and has great targeting settings for B2B advertising. It sounds weird since Facebook is a social media network and not at all about business networking, as LinkedIn is. Yet Facebook has B2B targeting options which are more accurate than LinkedIn and get better results.
Demographic targeting – Target people according to their work and industry
Through demographic targeting, users can be accessed according to their household, education, employment and more. Click on “Work” to find powerful B2B targeting options.
Employers – The employer is what people put as their workplace on their Facebook profile. As I indicated Oribi as my employer.
Industries – Target users by the industry they work in.
Tip: Since this is a broad segmentation, use the audience insights tool, to choose categories. For example, only 10% of our users fall within the Healthcare and medical industry (It’s probably less, considering our product is an analytics tool). This is an indication for us to exclude this industry from our campaigns.
Job titles – Target users by job title. Click on “Job Titles” to start a manual search. Once you start typing Facebook will suggest related job titles.
Office type – Target users by the type and size of the office they work in. Relates to small businesses only.
Tip: If you’re trying to target freelancers or small business owners, Home office is a great way to do so. It’s a very large audience that effectively targets SMBs, especially when combined with lookalikes.
Interests – Target people by what they care about
Interests is a powerful targeting option on Facebook. Interests targeting will reach users based on the pages they liked, things they share, ads they clicked on, etc.
Brand names – Target users who liked the Facebook pages of brands related to what you are offering. For example, if your target is social media managers, use brands like Sprout Social and Hootsuite. Facebook will suggest relevant sites.
Tip: Use your competitors’ brand names as an interest to reach users who are likely to be interested in your offer. To avoid your competitors’ employees viewing your ads, exclude users indicated as their employees.
Business and industry – Target general categories of interests, although this is less accurate than targeting specific brands.
Behavior – Find the right users by their activities
Behavioral targeting is based on the activities of users, on and off Facebook. Activities include purchase behaviors, their devices used, amongst others. The user’s activities off Facebook is based on data from 3rd party companies.
Facebook behavioral targeting has a section specifically for B2B advertising.
Company size – Target users by the size of the company they own or are employed by.
Industry – Similar to the industries section in demographics, with different segments, and based on the 3rd party companies’ data.
Seniority – A very broad segmentation to target.
Small business owners – Target users who are likely to be small business owners according to their digital activities, such as purchase behavior.
Job role – A higher level of job titles, based on 3rd party data.
Facebook page admins – Target users by their purchase behavior. If your offer is related to business marketing, maintenance, repairs, and operations this might locate your ideal audience.
Purchase behavior – Target users by their purchase behavior. If your offer is related to business marketing, maintenance, repairs, and operations this might locate your ideal audience.
Custom audience – Choose exactly who to show your ads to
Create your own audience based on your existing customers. A custom audience can be created by tagging your website visitors or app users, uploading a list of your customers (Email, phone number etc.), or according to engagement with your site and videos.
How to use custom audience for B2B targeting?
Remarketing – By using the Facebook pixel on your site you are able to tag your visitors. Create remarketing lists to expose your ads to already engaged users, who might not complete your required action.
For example, if you’re advertising business loans which require users to sign up and include their bank details, a list can be compiled of users who visited but didn’t signed up or didn’t add bank details Relevant ads can then be presented to them. Existing customers can also be targeted for new products, or to introduce a blog post.
Other great uses of remarketing lists include those users who accessed your blog or used search campaigns (If they searched for it, the need it). Time is a good tool: create lists of users who visited in the last 7, 30 or 90 days, or according to the time spent on your site or watching your video, and use different ads on them.
Tip: Do not skip on remarketing. A pre-engaged user, who already visited your site, is more likely to convert than a prospective audience. Use your video, to target prospects, using remarketing to target those who watched it but did not convert.
Lookalikes – Find similar users to yours
With lookalikes, Facebook helps you to reach similar users to yours, without any additional settings.In order to create a lookalikes audience, you first need to create a custom audience to use as the lookalikes “seed”, meaning Facebook will find users similar to the users on that list. Once your seed is set up you can create a lookalike audience based on it. Make sure your seed potential reach is greater than a 1,000 to ensure the quality of the lookalikes list. A lesser list may lead to inaccuracy of the lookalike audience.When creating lookalikes, choose the level of accuracy from 1 – 10. 1 is the highest in accuracy, but smaller in size, and so on.
How to use lookalikes for B2B targeting?
Create a seed based on your best customers. Using your top customers as a seed will get you the highest quality lookalikes audience for what you are offering. For example, if you are advertising small business loans create a seed based on the customers who were approved and actually took a loan. Using a seed as such will probably lead you to other relevant small business owners.
If your top customer’s seed is smaller than 1,000, you can use lookalikes based on lower level users, such as users who just signed up.
You may mix lookalikes audiences with other targeting settings, such as interests, demographics or behavioral targeting.
2. Significantly increase your B2B reach
Facebook has a larger audience and can provide B2B advertisers with more impressions than LinkedIn. People spend more time on Facebook than on LinkedIn, regardless of their work type. Not only that, the majority of impressions on Facebook are from the age range of 25-44, which is an age range sought after by most B2B advertisers.
3. Grow your creativity with more ad types
Facebook has a larger and more useful variety of ad types to test than LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s sponsored updates work similar to Facebook’s news feed ads, and they are actually the only worthwhile ads on LinkedIn, all other ad types waste time and budget. Facebook, on the other hand, have very powerful ad types that can be very useful for B2B advertisers.
While LinkedIn is unable to utilize video ads, Facebook constantly improves theirs. Video ads get many views since they are auto-played on users’ news feeds, you can also retarget users who watched a certain percentage of it.
Originally created for e-commerce advertisers, but can definitely be used in B2B advertising. Carousel ads are created by a few images at once, where users scroll sideways to see them. Obviously, it was made to give e-commerce advertisers the ability to feature a few products at once, but B2B advertisers can use them in creative ways too.
There are many creative ways to use carousel ads, to display different features on different carousel cards; create one long image divided by the cards which will cause users to scroll to see more. Blogs can be showcased by using the cards to display different blog posts with links that lead directly to them.
Get leads directly on the Facebook news feed without sending users to your website. With lead ads, you can collect the user’s details like name, email, phone number, etc. Create a lead form with the details you need, and when a user clicks on the ad your lead form will pop up, pre-populated with his details if Facebook has them. If not, the user can manually fill them in.
You can connect your leads directly to your CRM system, or just download them directly from Facebook.
Create a slideshow from a set of images. Slideshows are effective if you don’t have a good video, or to target regions with a slow connection.
4. Choose what to pay for, and pay less to get it
Online marketers are measured by their ROI and cost per acquired user. By using Facebook ads correctly, users are sourced at a lower price than LinkedIn, and you get to choose what to pay for, such as conversions, clicks, impressions, video views and more. LinkedIn currently offers a limited choice between CPC or CPM.
Pricing – Tell Facebook what to charge you for
Facebook allows you to choose what to optimize your ad sets for, and how to be charged. For example, if you use a conversions campaign, you can choose to optimize for conversions and get charged for impressions. You can also use the same objective and decide to be charged by clicks.
Price – Pay less to reach your goals
When measuring your cost per acquired user across channels, Facebook will most likely to be cheaper than LinkedIn. When done right, Facebook is more cost effective than LinkedIn. Using the right targeting, pricing and creatives will get you killer results, even for B2B.
5. Use the power of the Facebook algorithm
This is one of Facebook’s great features. When running campaigns, the Facebook algorithm will optimize traffic according to your settings. For example, if you’re using a conversions campaign Facebook will optimize to get you more conversions. The same goes with any objective you choose. It can be video views, clicks, impressions and much more.
Tip: When optimizing for conversions choose the highest value action for you, like “completed a purchase”. You will need around 20 – 30 conversions per day for the algorithm to pick up the signals to optimize by. If you have less than that, it’s worthwhile considering a different action to optimize for, like “sign up”.
6. Take control on where to show your ads
A placement is a platform the ad is displayed on. LinkedIn offers no selection between mobile or desktop traffic, and your bids and budgets are aimed at both simultaneously. But what if you don’t want your ads to appear on mobile? Or maybe mobile traffic is worth less and you don’t want to bid high on it.
Facebook offers the choice of placements, and you can set the bid and budget for it. You can choose between desktop or mobile news feed, desktop right side ads, the audience network (3rd party mobile apps) or Instagram.
Tip: Split your ad sets by placements, and use only one placement per ad set. Mobile traffic is much more available and cheaper than desktop traffic, therefore you can use a much lower bid to acquire it. Splitting ad sets by placements will also give you the ability to test the quality of users you get from each placement.
Final piece of advice
Add Facebook to your B2B digital media mix. Don’t let the fact that it was traditionally better for B2C to keep you from trying it. Test the different types of targeting and ads Facebook offers. Good management of your Facebook campaigns will reward you with great results in both price and volumes.
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