Only 32% of B2B marketers used paid ads on social media as part of their marketing strategy in 20171. That means that many B2B marketers missed an opportunity to grow their brand awareness, increase engagement and drive inbound leads.
If you've read The Radical Sales Shift, you know that buyers are anywhere from 67% to 90% through their purchasing journey before they contact vendors, which means that you need to get to them before they are ready to buy. That’s where paid ads come in! I’m sure, like most of our clients, your organization has a team of subject matter experts on staff. The key to your marketing success is to harness that expertise to produce remarkable content and then ensure that it gets in front of your prospects. Paid social is one of the best ways to do that and here’s why.
You can target your audience
Paid social is highly targeted and unlike paid search, your prospects don’t even need to know what they are looking for. With paid search they need to have a problem that they are actively looking to solve. With paid social you can serve them up content based on interests and behaviours, which allows you to get to them early in the buying journey.
Depending on the platform (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), the criteria by which you can segment does vary but they all allow you to target. The product or service that you offer and who you are prospecting will impact which platform is the right one for you. With 6 million advertisers and 2.2 billion monthly active users, Facebook continues to be leading the pack. By the end of 2017, Facebook advertisers increased their spending 49 percent, to just shy of $40 billion2, but just because they are the biggest player doesn’t mean that they are the right option for you. With Facebook you can target based on behaviour and interests in addition to geography, but you cannot segment by job title or company name like you can on LinkedIn. That is why LinkedIn is still leading with many B2B organizations as the platform of choice as it’s been ranked the #1 platform for lead generation3.
But that’s not the end of the story. Facebook Messenger also offers ads and based on Hootsuite’s internal tests, it provides an eight percent increase in reach and seven percent decrease in cost compared to Facebook ads (read why Facebook Messenger should be part of your marketing plan).
The other platform gaining ground with ads is Instagram. They’ve grown to over 2 million active users and over 25 million business profiles, with ad revenues for 2018 projected to reach $5.5 billion4.
You can also advertise on Twitter, although we've found this isn't usually the right platform for B2B companies.
Regardless of which social platform you select, you can deliver your ads to a highly targeted audience. That means that your advertising budget is getting your content in front of the right audience. Be sure to write relevant and engaging content and apply great design principles for your ads to make them stand out.
It’s a cost-effective way to get leads
Social media advertising revenue is forecast at $51.3 billion USD for 20185. Facebook brought in $11.8 billion6 and Twitter brought in $575 million in advertising revenue in the first quarter of 20187.
Despite the huge revenues these platforms bring in, advertising on them is very cost-effective. One of the main reasons is the fact that it’s highly targeted. You don’t need to waste money displaying your ad to the entire world. You can ensure it gets in front of the right people. You can set up your campaigns to pay by impressions or by clicks. For B2B companies that are focused on lead generation, we find that pay-per-click works best. This way you send the prospects to a landing page where you can deliver your great content once they click on the ad. Assuming your ad content and your landing page content align, your conversion rate should be high making the cost you paid for the click worth it. If you find that your landing page isn’t converting, review the content carefully and also considering adjusting the form. You may be asking for too much information in exchange for the content piece. Think of the form fields as currency. You need to make the number of fields appropriate to the value of the content they are going to receive.
For B2B ads, Facebook has an average cost per click of $2.528. As we commented in our head-to-head test between Facebook and LinkedIn, most of our clients care about the cost per lead, which we found to be $20 for Facebook and $50 for LinkedIn. That cost does vary significantly by industry.
You get measurable results
According to Our Social Times, almost two thirds of those who responded to a survey rated their ability to measure social media activity as between ‘average’ and ‘very poor’9. This stat is shocking to us. At Mezzanine, our B2B marketers get giddy when they analyze data. One of the top reasons to use digital advertising is because you can calculate your ROI. The results of your ads are easy to measure and analyze. While each platform has its own reports, the data is all at your fingertips. You can quickly see the number of impressions, the cost per click and engagement levels of your ads. Based on this data you can continually adjust and optimize your campaigns to get even better results (another great advantage of digital advertising versus print).
If you are still unsure, then run a test for yourself. Make sure to start with the persona of your ideal prospect, then choose a platform and invest a small budget to promote your most engaging and relevant content and see what happens. I’m confident you will be amazed. But if you are like the 58% of B2B marketers who are struggling with their ability to measure the success of their social advertising, please reach out, we would be happy to help!
Social media is only of the many great tactics that you should include in your B2B marketing plan. Read about 16 others in our white paper, 17 Winning Marketing Tactics From the B2B Experts
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