Facebook is still primarily a leisure social network: people browse it to connect with their friends, find interesting news and, of course, check out cat pictures. Therefore, most marketers believe that advertising on Facebook is useless for B2B.
They’ll point to lower click-through rates for B2B Facebook ads, and higher costs per click, and go back to focusing on Google Adwords. Facebook is a great tool for B2C promotions, where marketers can offer discounts, promote sales and retarget buyers. But these tactics are not always suitable for the B2B crowd.
But guess what? Companies are made of people. And Facebook Ads are a great way to target them. You can find and target users by an incredible array of criteria, including the industry they work in and their job titles.
On its own, though, Facebook’s ad targeting system delivers killer results for B2C businesses, not so great for B2B. When you’re selling to business users, you need more detail about people’s interests, needs and pain points than even the most sophisticated ad targeting setup can deliver. Add in a survey of your target users, though, and you can deliver highly effective ads to exactly the right people.
Do it right, and there is simply no reason not to advertise a business product on Facebook.
In this article, I will share my experience of using a basic Google Form survey to market our team messenger online. What it helped us to do is understand who our potential customers were, crafting an ultra-granular Facebook advertising campaign and tripling our CTR.
What are the ingredients of a successful B2B campaign on Facebook?
Audience segmentation is the key to success with Facebook ads. Poor targeting is one of the primary reasons B2B Facebook campaigns deliver low CTR. The real value of Facebook advertising is that you can target a very granular audience with your ad, delivering a more powerful, effective value proposition. You can do this by creating unique buyer personas and targeting your ad copy specifically to them, using Facebook’s targeting system and Google Forms together.
Without a clear understanding of who our potential customer was in the beginning of our startup journey, all the sophisticated targeting options Facebook offered were pretty much useless for us. Our product was in development, so we could shape it in different ways. But what features would be the most attractive for prospects? We didn’t want to have to guess.
Eventually, we came up with a simple solution that worked out very well for us: asking our target audience questions to get meaningful answers. All we needed was a Google Form.
Before we begin: How not to do B2B Facebook advertising.
Here’s where we started out, before we carried out our survey.
- Cost Per Click (CPC) – $2.50
- Click Through Rate (CTR) – 0.05%
Our first attempt at crafting B2B promotions on Facebook is a pretty good example of how not to do it. Make sure your business is not making the same mistakes we did.
What did we do wrong?
- Vague value proposition: weak headline, and undescriptive ad copy.
- Unremarkable stock image: the image has nothing to with the product.
- Broad targeting: we used pretty broad targeting. We targeted Interests > Additional Interests > Slack (software) because we considered Slack to be our primary competitor.
Results speak for themselves: CPC was slightly more than $2.50, while CTR was below what we’d expected at 0.05%. Stay tuned to learn how we have managed to significantly improve these results.
What a B2B company should start from (survey creation and distribution)
By the time we started working with Facebook ads we had already completed our competitor SWOT analysis. We also had a detailed comparison chart outlining the features our competitors had – and the ones they were missing.
But we didn’t know the answers to questions like:
- Who is most likely to initiate using a team messenger in a company?
- How big is the average company where people use a team messenger?
- Which team messenger features are the most popular among those users?
- Which industries use team messengers the most?
- What kinds of companies are actually paying to use team messengers?
And many more insights we were curious about. We put together our questions in this google form.
Make sure to check it out and capture takeaways for your business.
Once the survey was ready, we had to choose a distribution channel. Being a B2B company, we decided to focus on LinkedIn as a major source for respondents. Our LinkedIn funnel had the following stages:
- Sending out invitations to people who might become customers.
- Asking people who added us to their network if they were interested in our product.
- Getting permission from those who expressed interest for a little favor—taking a short survey.
- Sending the link to a survey, with an explanation why this survey is so important to us.
- Last, but not least – sincerely thanking them for helping us, and assuring them that we won’t disclose any of their personal information.
We received more than 500 completed surveys. When we started processing the data, we realized we had valuable, sometimes unexpected insights we wouldn’t have known any other way. In fact, these results influenced many aspects of our product’s development, including our features, pricing, onboarding process, and of course, advertising strategy. Moreover, the survey impacted on our website design. We figured out what question our site should answer to increase conversions. So, we created a specific web page for this purpose.
Advertising optimization: Where the magic begins
After the survey, we were able to paint a clear picture of our potential customers. This is the summary of our research key findings:
- What customers of a competing team messenger hate the most about it.
- Users of a competing team messenger would love to switch to another communication tool if this alternative would have Feature 1 and Feature 2.
- Non-paying users of a competing messenger would never pay for this set of tools.
- The roles of decision makers who were choosing team communication tools.
To sum up: we had the perfect data to craft Facebook campaigns that integrated this information into our ad copy and design. Сheck out the following steps you can take today to boost your B2B Facebook campaign.
I. Adjust targeting by:
If you already know which specific companies you want to target, then this is a great tool to reach out to employees of these companies.
The majority of people fill in the job title field proudly, so you are sure to get a great pull for each ad. It is easy to create tailored ads for groups with different job titles. You can choose specific job titles, such as CEO, if they are decision-makers for your business industry.
Interests is a powerful targeting option on Facebook. It will reach users based on the pages they’ve already liked, things they share, ads they clicked on, etc.
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.
Target users who are likely to be small business owners according to their digital activities.
Find users by the size of the company they own or are employed by.
II. Test copy and creative
Start with a compelling headline, which is the first thing people see after the image. Then you explain your offer in the text, which is the sub-header you see above the image. Finally, you add in more details in the description, which is the small text under the headline.
Your message should be consistent across all three parts.
III. Focus on your product and service benefits
In your headline try to test the benefits your product or service has to offer. Your ads might also have different benefits for different buyer personas.
Furthermore, here are a few more additional suggestions for testing:
- Keep mobile and desktop placements separate. Use separate ad sets for mobile and desktop so you can track CTR based on the device (it will probably differ).
- Test bidding strategies. Examine different bidding methods to find out which reduces the CPC but still gets enough volume.
- Experiment with scheduling your campaign. Scheduling сan potentially affect your ads’ performance. The biggest difference is normally between weekdays and weekends. However, the time period of the day the ads are shown also influences the performance. Remember, the more people are on Facebook, the less they’re working…
Obviously, we can’t give you a clear answer about exactly which copy or images you should use. We can’t say which demographics you should target, when you should show your ads during the day, or what your max bid should be.
The answer to those questions only comes with A/B testing and tweaking.
But take a look at our ad copy after making use of the results of our Google Form survey.
Now you can see what changes took place after we implemented these recommendations in our ad copy.
- Cost Per Click – $1.40
- Click Through Rate – 1.5%
Our survey results indicated that many Slack users found Slack quite complicated. So we clearly stated that our messenger is more easy-to-use (it is!).
We also knew from our survey, that many Slack users would like the tool to have video calls and a screen sharing feature in Slack. So we prioritized the development of these features in future updates, and put them into the ad copy.
We used the following targeting options for this experiment:
- Interests > Additional Interests > Slack (software)
- Behaviors > Digital Activities > Small business owners
- Demographics > Work > Job Titles > CEO, Founder, Owner, Chairman, Director etc.
This ad was compelling because it was focused specifically on both a niche target group, and the pain points we had already discovered from the survey. The figures were pretty good in contrast to our previous experiment.
But we decided not to stop here. Let’s move on.
- Cost per Click – $1.10
- Click through Rate – 2.2%
In this case, we targeted Asana users. The ad copy was based on pains they revealed in the survey.
By and large, a “normal” CTR in Newsfeed varies between 0.5% and 2% depending on the industry. For instance, e-commerce sees a much higher CTR (1.5-2%) than games/mobile apps (approximately 1%). The majority of marketers believe that a good CTR for Facebook campaigns would be around 2%, while the average CTR for B2B ads is 0.78%. Furthermore, the average CPC for B2B is $2.52.
As you can see, using a Google Form survey had a huge impact on our B2B ads’ CTR and CPC.
Using a Google Form survey resulted in several gains: we got in-depth market knowledge we couldn’t have gotten any other way, we increased our CTR and cut our CPC, and we figured out a lot of things about scaling Facebook ads.
You should remember that CTR isn’t a success metric. It’s just a way to compare two ads and find out which experiments deserve to be scaled. Frankly speaking, click through rate still doesn’t tell you much of anything about your ROI. But that’s a different story for a different article. Even though ROI is a vital metric, it often takes time before you have enough data. First, you need to improve ad position and CTR.
If you are interested in measuring ROI from Facebook, watch this space — I am polishing up my next article about this essential B2B topic.
About the Author: Julia Samoilenko is a Marketing Manager at Chanty — a simple AI-powered business messenger and a single notification center. This powerful and free Slack alternative aims to increase team productivity and improve communication at work. With 5 years’ experience in the digital marketing field, Julia is responsible for Chanty’s online social media presence and public relations. Follow Julia on Twitter @juliasam111 or feel free to connect on LinkedIn.