Google Advertising for B2B: The Recipe for Success
Just five years ago, paying for advertising through Google Ads was strictly the realm of B2C marketers. Over the past five years, more B2B marketers have discovered the potential of this marketing channel. If you are one of them, are you getting everything you can out of your ad budget? Here are strategies and best practices that help you maximize the number and the quality of the B2B leads you generate.
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Like search engine optimization, Google Ads revolves around keywords, and you need to think the same way your B2B clients would when they are looking for your services. Selecting keywords that work for you will make or break your Google Ads campaigns.
Once you have selected your keywords, consider how you would like them to be matched with search queries. Google distinguishes between broad, phrase, and exact matches. In that order, they connect your ad loosely (broad match), moderately, or tightly to a potential customer’s search.
If you considered Google Ads a few months ago, you may have come across a category called broad match modifier. Since July 2021, this has been merged with the phrase match category, making it easier to choose the best option for your business.
To identify the type of match you are looking for, you need to use the correct notation or syntax.
- Broad match: keyword — this will include searches that relate to your keyword but don’t necessarily include the exact words
- Phrase match: “keyword” — your ads will show on searches that include your keyword’s meaning, including any implied meanings
- Exact match: [keyword] — specifying this category gives you the greatest control over who sees your advert. The ad will be shown on searches with the same meaning or the same intent as your keywords.
Negative matches allow you to further refine your keywords by telling Google what not to target. The goal is to avoid showing your adverts in search results that are similar to yours but cater to customers looking for different products and services.
Ringostat will help to increase the effectiveness of ads
- 20+ reports to help you measure the effectiveness of ads. Analyze the performance of ad campaigns and reallocate the budget to boost the most successful ones.
- Understand how to optimize ads. Reports will show you the work of sources, channels, campaigns, and keywords. Audio recordings of conversations will help you understand the information that might be not clear for users.
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Your landing page is where you are directing users that click on your PPC adverts. Apart from the actual advert copy, this is the most important component of your PPC activity. The experience your landing page provides is one of the key factors that determine how many people will see your advert. Several elements influence this score:
- loading speed;
- relevance of the information provided;
- ease of use and intuitiveness;
- responsiveness to different devices.
In principle, your advert can lead prospective buyers to an existing page of your website. However, in many cases, it pays to design a bespoke landing page. This is the safest way to ensure the ad and the page are closely related; in other words, prospective buyers get what they are expecting.
For example: if you are offering a free demonstration of a newly-designed tool in your advert, your landing page should make it easy for users to schedule that demo. Simply telling them more about the tool and forcing them to search for a chance to make an appointment will negatively affect your quality score.
Test Your Landing Page
Remember that landing pages are not static and test their performance regularly. Google Ads allows you to test your landing pages at different levels, starting from the campaign level and drilling down through ad groups to individual ads and extensions. You can also test your landing pages effectiveness for individual keywords.
More than 50% of all internet searches are conducted on mobile devices. If your landing page is not optimized for small screens, you will lose out on potential sales.
Apart from looking good and being easy to navigate on a tablet or mobile phone, your landing page needs to load fast. Most mobile users lose patience with a page that takes longer than three seconds to load, according to Google. Because of this impatience, Google is recommending advertisers use the Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) format.
This video is a great summary of why a responsive landing page can make or break your ad campaign.
If you continuously see your competitors’ adverts showing at the top of search engine results pages, this is a good indicator that Google Ads is working for them.
If you are still unsure about the effectiveness of paid search engine advertising within B2B environments, consider the numbers. Five years ago, in 2016, U.S. businesses spent $4.28billion on digital advertising, according to Statista. By the end of 2021, this number is projected to triple. By 2023, it is likely to exceed $14.5billion.
So, how do you compete on Google Ads? You could target competitor keywords. But this is likely a rather expensive strategy. Instead, there are different options to help your business utilize competitor keywords, including custom audiences and YouTube adverts.
Google Ads’ custom audiences feature was created to help you reach your perfect audience. Your business can use this feature to create an audience of people who have previously searched for your competitor’s keywords. Once you have specified ‘People who searched for any of these terms on Google’, a window opens and allows you to enter your chosen keywords.
Alternatively, you could create an audience consisting of people who have previously browsed your competitors’ pages. Picking up from the example above, you would choose ‘People with any of these interests or purchase intentions’ and then select ‘People who browse websites similar to’. This allows you to paste competitor URLs.
If your competitors are successfully using YouTube videos, placing ads for your company in their videos is an option. Google’s placement targeting allows you to handpick exactly where your adverts will be running. This could be competitor videos or videos where your customers have spent time. Views and conversion rates for these adverts are high compared to the budget necessary to get started.
This is not the only option when it comes to targeting your video campaigns. Content, prospective customer interests, and demographics are alternatives.
Depending on your campaign goals, you need to choose a bidding strategy. For consumer goods, direct sales are often the goal. In that case, a conversion would be a suitable metric. Conversion also works in a B2B context. However, if you are looking to create awareness, perhaps measuring clicks or impressions are better options.
In either case, you need to choose between manual and automated bidding. No matter the size of your business, it’s worth considering Smart Bidding. This automated bidding strategy helps you save time and money with the help of four benefits.
- Machine Learning: algorithms compute a wider range of parameters to determine how the value of your bid will affect the number and value of conversions.
- Bidding With Context: to optimize your bids, you can add context to them, such as the searcher’s location or the device they are using. Smart Bidding offers more choice than manual bidding.
- Customize performance controls: choose different targets for different devices and adjust settings to your business goals.
- Transparent reporting: Smart Bidding gives you access to detailed reporting tools that help with assessment and troubleshooting.
We reached out to 6 experts and asked them to share their best advice on B2B advertising via Google Ads.
Hilda Wong from Content Dog thinks strategic remarketing is one of the crucial elements of a B2B advertising campaign’s success.
“While remarketing is profitable when done correctly, most companies fail to do it correctly and achieve undesirable results. 96% of visitors to your website aren’t ready to make a purchase.
Remarketing efforts generally allow you to:
- keep you on top of the mind even if they shop around or check out competitors;
- those who aren’t ready to buy will continue to provide value;
- convert lost leads with convincing social proof or a good deal.
Since you’re dealing with the B2B sales cycle, you can’t expect visitors to convert right away. Make sure you are there to help them every step of the way”.
Ad Copies Matter
Brice Gump from Major Impact Media suggests focusing on writing good ad copies.
“Here are some steps you can take to optimize ad copy.
- Before you decide to publish or promote the product, embrace the problems with it as well. This will help grab the attention of the researcher.
- Always be specific when mentioning numbers, as users always love reading up on exact statistics; it drives curiosity.
- Keep the content simple and remove any fluff. It helps you get directly to the point and save the users time as well.
- Using social proof can be the ultimate source of credibility. List your awards and note all the number of clients you have worked with to gain the trust of new users.
Video Ad Hacks
Another interesting hack from Yezan Sehwail of Userpilot:
“If you’re using videos in your ads (which I recommend you try), you should be using captions so that the audio can be read without any sound. Many video ads are seen while on the move or in a place where the viewer can’t turn their volume up. For this, the viewer will need captions to understand what is being said in the ad.
Make sure your audio is able to be turned into auto-captions, and do whatever it takes to make your auto-captions as effective as possible. It’ll make a big difference!”
Don’t Forget About Quality Score
Oleh Vertinskyi from Qarea thinks that quality score is usually underestimated:
“You can obviously go the route where you outbid, out-target, and outsmart your competition for those top two ads. But as soon as you introduce a budget limit you’re going to start losing those top positions. The focus of your ad strategy should be on the content of your landing pages.
Getting your Quality Score higher not only makes your ads more likely to convert and cheaper to run, it also often makes your pages show up naturally in Google search results based on your optimization. Working on the back-end, on the things you have direct control over, is the 20% of marketing work that brings in 80% of the success.”
Track Your Conversions
Anet from Andava thinks that measuring the impact of Google Ads on your business is crucial.
“It’s a significant mistake not to have a mechanism to track the progress of your Google Ads campaigns. Conversion tracking gives the data you need to scale your campaigns and budget. Conversion tracking is necessary for automated bidding methods like “Maximize Conversions”, which improves your campaigns using advanced machine learning. Decide what counts as a lead when setting up your campaign, whether it’s a phone call, a form fill-out, an event sign-up, or a direct purchase from your website.
The final sales process for many B2B companies occurs months or even years after the initial customer engagement. Your conversions will be leads rather than sales in this case. With a powerful integrated CRM, you can track those leads and attribute closed sales to your efforts at the end of the sales cycle”.
Use Extensions to Win Free Ad Space
The marketing director of Green Building Elements, Sarah Jameson, emphasizes the importance of extensions.
“Adding extensions is a simple Google marketing strategy. For free, you’ll get additional real estate, a 10-15% higher click-through rate (CTR), and a higher Ad Quality score. These are informational tidbits that you might attach to your ad to make your selling pitch more effective.
Furthermore, when targeting competitors, you should allow site links to drive users to a competitor comparison page that includes their brand keywords, improving the quality score for advertisements that bid on competitor brand keywords. This is also a fantastic approach to explain why your brand is superior to brand X to clients”.
If your business is not yet taking advantage of the power of Google Ads, it’s time to give it a try. B2B marketing and sales have shifted quickly towards digitization and automation over the past few years. This development has been accelerated by the pandemic, and the transition is here to stay.
By choosing high-performing keywords, creating user-friendly landing pages, and engaging in profitable bidding strategies, you can make a difference to your organization’s bottom line. Considering competitor activity is helpful, too. However, the key to long-term success is regular review and adjustment of your B2B Google Ads strategy to ensure continued high performance.