Most B2B businesses get advertising all wrong.
The B2B landscape is changing — the end of third-party cookies is impacting our targeting, the buying cycle is getting even longer, and the pandemic has drastically shifted where we work — and it looks like those changes are here to stay.
Growing a B2B business has never been more difficult — but that doesn't mean there aren't opportunities to leverage. Let's talk about what B2B advertising really means and then cover a few strategies organizations can use to grow in 2022 and beyond.
Below is a table of contents to help you skip through if you're focused on a specific section.
Note: Leadfeeder is a B2B marketing tool that tracks which companies visit your site — and where they go. Sign up for a free trial and see how we can help you reach your goals.
What is B2B advertising?
B2B advertising refers to paid marketing efforts (like LinkedIn or Google Ads) targeting other businesses, rather than consumers.
B2B advertising includes promoting physical products, software, or services. If you pay to reach other businesses about your offering, you're in B2B advertising.
Unlike B2C, B2B advertising has to find the decision-makers and convince them to make a purchase. Consumers often make purchase decisions fast, while businesses tend to take it slow — sometimes as long as a year.
This is partially due to the cost of business products and services, but also due to a larger number of stakeholders involved in the buying cycle.
If you want to buy a new pair of slippers, nobody's stopping you.
But if you want to buy a new marketing tool, you need to talk to your marketing director, find out if there's room in the budget, then get IT involved to see if it works with your current systems — it's complicated!
And that makes B2B advertising more complicated than ever.
What's the difference between B2B marketing and B2B advertising?
These two phrases get used interchangeably, which kinda grinds my gears.
Here's the difference — marketing is any effort to promote or grow your business. Advertising specifically refers to paid marketing initiatives, such as Google Ads, Twitter Takeovers, or paid LinkedIn messages.
Advertising also tends to have metrics more closely tied to sales and revenue, such as clicks, conversions, and impressions, while marketing looks at a wider range of metrics, including traffic, brand mentions, and engagement.
TL:DR: Advertising is the paid ad portion of marketing, essentially.
Future-proofed B2B advertising strategies that drive growth
Tired of wasting time generating huge lead lists that never convert? Looking for ways to increase your AOV and close the big fish? Here are three B2B advertising strategies to drive real growth (i.e., actual revenue), rather than vanity metrics.
Account-based advertising is the new lead gen
The B2B buyer journey is no longer conducted by one or two individuals — and hasn't been for a long while.
Today, six or more people are steadily consuming content and making decisions about what to buy — and many of them might sit outside your circle of influence.
Focusing on engaging and retargeting individual leads when the typical process involves at least six people (and a lot more in enterprise) means you’re leaving the job of influencing the buying committee up to one internal individual in your target company.
Do you trust them to close the deal?
Account-based advertising gets you in front of the entire buying committee earlier in the process, so you can control the narrative and identify earlier when they are ready to convert.
Using a tool like Leadfeeder, you can track when they come to your website, what acquisition sources brought them there, and track buyer intent signals in real time.
Looking to build or refine your account-based strategy? This webinar with Casper Rouchmann from United Fintech covers detailed strategies you can leverage to improve your ROI.
Go all-in on LinkedIn advertising
In the US, B2B companies spent $5.09 billion on display advertising in 2021. Do you know where most of that spend ended up?
LinkedIn makes up the largest share of the US B2B display advertising budget, with advertisers spending 32.2 percent of the total spend. That's up from 27.1% in 2020.
LinkedIn ads offer multiple objectives and more than 200 targeting options — including the ability to upload your audience from your email list, for example.
LinkedIn ad targeting options include:
Demographics (location, language, etc.)
This allows for laser-targeted B2B advertising. If you want to target the marketing director at a specific company (or specific types of companies), you can do that.
LinkedIn advertising also allows you to send targeted direct messages using the same targeting options. You can even create drip message campaigns to engage them in a conversation — automatically.
Pro tip 1: You can use LinkedIn advertising as part of your ABM process by targeting people at a specific company or uploading a list of your total addressable market.
Pro tip 2: You can actually export lists from Leadfeeder that are ready and formatted to be uploaded to LinkedIn as Account Lists, and this enables you to run account-based retargeting campaigns.
As third-party data comes to an end and we move to a cookieless world, retargeting and using DMPs becomes less effective.
The good news? None of these changes affect IP targeting, so this workaround lets you stay laser-focused on your target audience.
IP-based advertising uses IP addresses, which are unique to each company to target ads.
For example, say you want to target workers at Microsoft in Washington. Using IP advertising, you can target devices on their IP address (which are generally publicly available using WHOIS or a ping command.)
How to use Leadfeeder to inform your B2B advertising strategy
B2B advertising is getting more challenging. The good news? There are plenty of tools and advertising strategies to reach B2B buyers at the right moment.
Leadfeeder is a B2B marketing tool that tracks what companies visit your website using IP and domain lookups. We filter out bots and known ISPs and then let you get fancy with our custom filters.
Want to see visits from companies in your city? Or those in a specific industry? You can do that.
Want to see if Susan from your favorite coffee shop visited your photography website?
We can't do that, you weirdo.
We can sort site visitors so you can focus on the most qualified accounts, see what pages they visit, and how long they stayed on site. Then, you can use that data to power your B2B advertising efforts. #winning.
Note: Want to try Leadfeeder? Sign up for a free 2-week trial today.
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