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This week’s PPCChat session was hosted by Natalie Barreda and the  discussion was about paid search tactics for B2B, generating traffic for your business, targeting your audience, remarketing strategy for B2B advertising and more.

Here is the screencap of the discussion that took place.

ppcchat discussion

Q1: What tactics do you use for B2B that are different than what you would use for B2C?


oh man where do I start… There is no shopping or ecommerce. Most sales take place offline. You’re feeding a pipeline that almost always feeds into some kind of CRM. There are many nuances to search – you have to test and try things to hone in on your audience. and eliminate B2C people searching for the same thing  – @Mel66

B2B gets less mobile budget, and ad dollars are focused heavily 8 am to 5 pm, and almost no presence 10 pm to 6 am – @JonKagan

Totally disagree with this approach. Volume drops off after hours, but you should not stop spending. People are searching at all hours for B2B. – @Mel66

I originally went the “pull back off hours” approach, but then tested it out and started seeing great results (at a cheaper CPC) during off hours. Esp. for B2B adv. who advertise to SMBs or Startup type folks. Audiences that don’t only work 9 to 5 – @nataliebarreda

Agreed. It’s possible to scoop up plenty of prospects who are thinking about business problems after their kids go to sleep. Especially on social. They maybe won’t buy, but they’ll read your whitepaper. – @PPCHartman

B2B purchase motivations are less about desire, more about pleasing a boss or avoiding monetary/organizational pain. Plus, if products are more expensive = a strong funnel is vital. Nurture, nurture, nurture. – @PPCHartman

Agree with the long funnel sentiments expressed. Looking to create awareness and familiarity as first step. Want to be among options in consideration. – @NeptuneMoon

I approach the fundamentals completely differently. B2B lends itself to more complicated conversion paths and much more intentional “driving down the funnel”. B2B is really about quality, and not just quantity – @nataliebarreda

PPC for B2B is almost always a MUCH longer funnel than B2C. You have to be thinking in steps to building that relationship, and coming through different channels. Search is probably not your moneymaker, but might be a strong last-click.- 



Q2.1: Have you ever worked with an advertiser who offers & wants to advertise both B2B & B2C services? How do you approach this?


Yes! We provide 2 different profiles for traffic. Plus different content on the ads and landing pages. – @kpals91



Q2.2: How do you direct generic traffic to the right side of the business?


At least 2 different landing pages, what’s better are two different services targeting the audiences specifically – @chriskos

Target specifically and be diligent in making sure undesirable traffic doesn’t match on the wrong side. Ad copy can be helpful for self-selection too. – @NeptuneMoon

Pray they have a good B2B-specific landing page? – @PPCHartman

Absolutely use faceted navigation on the homepage for non-cookied users – users will say “yes i am a business” Personalize CTAs and content flows based on pageviews – X-Number of B2B pageviews probably means they don’t need B2C. – 



Q3: How do you segment your targeting? (By vertical, industry, employee size, etc.) – what segments do you use and how do you actually do it?


If segmenting by audience for social, by characteristics of the company and the target persons position mostly. If segmenting by keywords, it’s specificity for the likely spot in the funnel. – @SEMFlem

Totally depends on client personas. We use job title targeting a lot. Other targeting totally varies. – @Mel66

To answer this one most generally – for me it is about common messaging. What groupings should see the same message. How it is split out varies by client. Tracking needs also factor in for my thinking. – @NeptuneMoon

Brand/Non Brand, Head (High Volume) terms, Top Performers, then we do it by age, HHI (Google), and device, on the surface. – @JonKagan

Rather than completely take client’s word for it, we flesh out a firmographic profile of who they’re reaching. Can do this by looking at current clients or getting some PPC going (at least gets Intent-Targeting nailed down). – @heyglenns

try to segment out by what is important to the client. For example, I have a client that is trying to go up-mkt so we’re focusing on accurately tracking revenue so we can at least optimize by where the bigger contracts are happening. Bigger contract = likely up-mkt – @nataliebarreda

First level of segmentation is always demographics by persona, second is buyers journey, third is topic/vertical/industry – @HeatherCooan

Depends on the lists available. Also so much is dependent on the size of the client – you can build awesome FB lookalikes if you have a big enough list for very particular services/products/interests. – @PPCHartman



Q4: Some folks have already touched on this a bit, but how do you utilize/structure your remarketing strategy for B2B advertising? What lists do you like to use?


We like to use time-based remarketing with content that follows the buyer journey. We also use social to create lists of people we know are in our target audience, and target them with GDN/RLSA. ABM is big in B2B too, so we use a lot of customer lists and create lookalikes from them. – @Mel66

We have found tons of success on big ecommerce clients with session quality based audiences on google analytics. – @andreacruz92

Utilizing purchased lists, current customer lists, lists from the pipeline & lately I’ve seen killer performance from Custom Affinity Audiences in display – @nataliebarreda

We use a lot of touch points. Interested in a certain product/problem? you’ll only be fed content about that product/problem. More general “our brand is great” stuff can be fed to noobs or to current customers to make them appreciate the service more. – @PPCHartman

Always a good idea to set up segments at the very onset of a marketing program. They have to build cookies to target! – 


Q5: What are your best/favorite upper funnel tactics to utilize for B2B advertising?


I love managed placements on GDN that are targeted to industries you’re targeting too. Don’t sleep on Quora either. – @NeptuneMoon

Content marketing in social. Create lookalikes. Create audiences in search for RLSA. Use to inform search ad copy. We have also had luck with GDN for awareness b/c CPCs are so low.  @Mel66

In-market audience targeting (display and search) with similar audiences layered in! Also, display ads with custom affinity audiences – @okhannahko

YES. I am 100% on the custom affinity audiences train. Building audiences based off company size, off competitors, off interests. SO MANY AUDIENCES. I feel like the Oprah of audiences – @nataliebarreda

B2B buyers tend to do a lot of comparison shopping, especially if we’re talking about expensive purchases, long-term contracts, and possible ongoing relationships. So provide a lot of buyer-oriented information, like case studies and white papers – @SEMFlem

Pimpin’ content. – @HeatherCooan

Pretty much this exactly. Pimpin’ content via the GDN. Add in custom audiences and you have a recipe for success. – @nataliebarreda

Whitepapers, guides, video courses, webinars. I’m to have some clients with bitchin’ content. – @PPCHartman

Webinars have worked well for us! Educational and filled with good content relevant to whatever industry you’re in – not just a sales pitch. – @kpals91

I love youtube and gmail for upper funnel b2b. – @JuliaVyse



Q6: Seems like we’re already going down this road, do you use paid search to promote content? Do you approach different types of content differently?


Depends on the client. I’ve had success promoting whitepapers on AdWords. Check out your SERP. See what others are doing on the same KWs. Don’t be the weirdo offering a free trial to someone who wants an answer to a question or is troubleshooting – @PPCHartman

Yes, esp for non-brand/short tail keywords. Use content to create remarketing audiences. – @Mel66

Use content on informational searches. Then, if the query contains “solutions, supplier, companies, etc,” then switch it up. – @SEMFlem

I’ve used paid search to promote blog content as a branding play/upper funnel tactic with broader keywords. For example, promoting blog content about home maintenance for a contracting company using keywords like “how to fix x”. Low conversion volume but high interaction rate. – @okhannahko

Last few years in our agency, content promotion has become a must-have. We qualify new biz opps by whether they come with content. – @heyglenns

I feel paid search is underused for content. It takes some keyword finesse to catch research/informational intent, but there’s a ton of opportunity there. – @ferkungamaboobo

yes, but not for B2B. I promote content for a travel site and they very like their audiences, RLSAs, sharing between channels. – @JuliaVyse



Q7: Typically B2B advertisers have more complex conversion setups than eCommerce (using Saleforce, Marketo, etc.), how do you measure success based off of what truly matters to the advertiser?


Don’t have a NEW idea for this, but urge everyone not to drop an OLD idea: gather ‘where did you hear about us’ input from field reps. Found it raises internal awareness on how paid campaigns contribute to sales. – @heyglenns

With a major caveat though – you can’t count on much more accurate detail than “internet”. People seriously have no idea any more detail. That is why tracking is so attractive! – @NeptuneMoon

This is a tough one. So many B2B clients do not close the loop between front end (search/social) and back end (CRM). Often cannot even tell which channel drove MQLs etc. – @Mel66

Then they need to have unique identifiers with that pass through to the record and ride all the way to closed won. – @HeatherCooan

great question! I look at lead volume – make sure we got the traffic – then lead quality, and iterate from there. Often lead quality has to come back from the client, who might not have Salesforce. You might need to manually upload call centre docs or lead results after the fact. – @JuliaVyse

We measure based on how they percieve lead quality (like by using reporting probability, lifetime order value-type stats) helps bunches. – @PPCHartman



Q8: Alrighty, here’s my last question – while search is definitely not the ideal tactic to use for Account Based Marketing, what tactics have you implemented that are “Account Based Marketing-ish”?


I use a mix of old school + ads. Ads promote executive briefings, workshops, events, etc. – @HeatherCooan


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