It’s not uncommon for marketers to shrug off Facebook advertising as not the right tool for B2B marketing. Frequent comments and myths associated with it include statements like, “businesses aren’t looking to buy things on Facebook.” Or worse, their prospects aren’t on Facebook.
But boy would you be wrong if you still think along those lines. The numbers alone should help bust those myths. 91% of marketers rely on B2B Facebook ads to for their brands. In fact, it’s the top-ranked social media tool for B2B marketing, as reported by Statista.
Image via Statista
But if it’s that popular of a tool for B2B marketing, then why do so many brands struggle with it?
Why Brands Fail at B2B Facebook Ads
Yes, the platform is very popular for these purposes, but the trouble lies in the lack of organic reach. If you want your ads to perform well, the right messages need to reach the right people. There’s a delicate balance that needs to be achieved. And therein lies the issue which most B2B brands struggle with.
Let’s dissect the problem to get a clearer picture:
1. Failure to Provide Relevant Content
Recent changes in Facebook’s timeline algorithm mean that they now prioritize content over adverts based on their relevance. You earn a higher score for more positively received content. In turn, the higher your score, the more likely you are to turn up in your target audience’s feed.
Image via Facebook
This helps them drive engagement. Thus it’s increasingly important to create brand content that provides specific value to users. This is something a lot of brands struggle with which is why they don’t hold B2B Facebook ads in high esteem. Crack this code and you’ll see just how beneficial it can be.
2. Targeting the Wrong Audiences
The problem goes beyond creating the right content. It’s about creating the right content for the right people and ensuring it reaches them.
With their targeted ads, Facebook makes it very easy for you to reach your intended audiences. Why brands fail to make the most of this is because they don’t know who their ideal target audience is.
As a B2B company, here are the two things you need to keep in mind to ensure that your B2B Facebook ads are effective:
- Target your ads to prospective businesses that are likely to buy from you right away
- Make your value proposition and your relevance to your prospects evidently clear
3. Using the Wrong Content Type
But what about how you’re delivering the content to prospects? On numerous occasions, B2B Facebook ads fail simply because they weren’t the right kind of ads. Facebook provides you with a plethora of options to create an ad:
- Link-based ads
- Canvas ads
- Carousel ads
- Mobile news feed ads
- Application ads
- Page post engagement ads
What some marketers fail to understand is that each kind of ad targets different audiences for different purposes. Where a B2C business may benefit more from a carousel ad, as a B2B entity, a post engagement ad may work more in your favor.
4. Not Targeting the Right Place or Time
Another potential cause for B2B Facebook ads failing is the issue of incorrect ad placement. There are two places where you can place your ads – the news feed or the timeline feed. Each of which has its pros and cons.
Image via Facebook
It comes down to your target audience and ad goals. While news feed ads are more expensive, they also have a wider reach and more competition. The column ads are smaller and relatively inexpensive but only appear on desktop feeds. You need to figure out what you want to achieve with your ad and choose a placement in accordance.
5. Using Un-Optimized Ads
As of February 2017, 49.7% of the global internet traffic came from mobile devices. Additionally, 95.1% of Facebook’s active users access the tool on a smartphone. Clearly, then, you want to ensure you’re creating ads optimized for mobile devices.
Unfortunately, a lot of brands neglect to optimize their B2B Facebook ad campaigns for mobile devices. Take the right column ads we discussed above. If you’re relying on those, you’re already alienating a massive percentage of your target audience. If you don’t start creating mobile-optimized ads soon, you risk obsolescence.
6. Not Focusing on the Conversion Funnel
Much like with B2C Facebook marketing, there’s a conversion funnel involved when it comes B2B Facebook ads. In essence, you still need the right message reaching the right people depending on which stage of the conversion funnel they are in.
Image via WordStream
You need to focus on the funnel in order to determine:
- Which ad to display in front of which audience
- Which kind of ad to use for them
- Where to place your ad
- What content you should promote through the ads
The key thing to keep in mind is to determine which stage of the funnel your prospects are in. If you can figure that out, it becomes easier to tackle any of the previous issues.
Best Strategies for B2B Facebook Ads
Now that we’ve discussed some of the major pitfalls companies deal with, let’s talk about what you need to do to succeed. Here are some of the best strategies and ideas you can use for your B2B Facebook ads campaign:
1. Brand Awareness Campaigns
An important aspect of B2B marketing is ensuring that decision makers at your target businesses know about you. If the decision maker in that company doesn’t know what you’re in the business of selling, they’ll just scroll past your ad.
Here’s where you can leverage B2B Facebook ads – to create brand awareness campaigns and ads. Take this ad from Typeform, for instance.
Image via Facebook
They very succinctly tell you what they’re about and aren’t pushing you to sign up. Rather, they’re inviting you to “Learn More” about them so that you can make an informed purchase decision.
2. Use Facebook Ads for PR
Here’s a gem of a strategy. If your company is frequently featured in the news or if you’ve won a campaign, why not publicize it using Facebook ads? Getting yourself featured on a popular industry website is a PR win in itself.
But that’s not to say you can’t juice it for more worth. Use Facebook to amplify your reach and inform prospects about the strides your company is making.
Just look at WeWork, here. They’ve done a bang-up job of combining their PR with Facebook advertising.
3. Product Launches
Typically, product launch announcements by B2B companies are read by their existing clientele. Depending on the company, these announcements are made on:
- Company blog
- Press releases
- Email newsletters
- All of the above
But if you rely on solely these, you might miss out on potential customers who might benefit from your new product.
Enter Facebook ads.
This way you’re reaching a wider audience that goes beyond the scope of just your subscriber list. They allow you to reach:
- Your existing customer base
- Leads near the end of the conversion funnel
- New prospects
- Cold leads that might still be interested in your offering
4. Partner with Industry Thought Leaders
According to the Harvard Business Review, 90% of businesses make purchase decisions after canvassing opinions from industry experts. Influencer marketing has a big role to play in B2B Facebook ads as well.
Which is why I strongly advise working with industry influencers and thought leaders to create compelling content around your product. Whether it’s creating brand content featuring them or having them create independent content for your products. Leverage the same to create your B2B Facebook ads.
American Express frequently involves influencers like Sarah Jessica Parker in their ad content, for instance.
Image via Facebook
5. Create and Share Research
91% of B2B businesses leverage content marketing. And 77% of them found moderate to extreme success with their campaigns. This is because content marketing, done right, can deliver a lot of value to potential customers.
One of the best ways to reap the benefits of content marketing is to offer original research content to your audience.
AgoraPulse does this quite regularly.
Image via Facebook
All you need for you B2B Facebook ad to be successful is:
- Original content
- Strong headlines
- Provide helpful answers
- Cite reliable sources
- Be engaging
- Use images or videos
- Share up-to-date information
6. Share Testimonials and Use Cases
As you might have realized by now, a lot of these strategies pertain to lead generating and nurturing. That’s because, in the B2B domain, sales are often highly dependent on the trust factor. And that’s not something you can establish quickly.
So, what’s another way you can build that trust among prospective clients? By providing them with testimonials and case studies. You can create a Facebook ad around your customer testimonials as ConvertKit does.
Image via Facebook
7. Offer Free Demos
If you think your product requires some getting used to, then you should consider offering free trials to users. This may go a long way to increase your lead-to-sales conversions.
You could either provide a limited-time free access to users. Or opt for a freemium business model where you give them complete access to certain features but premium features are paid.
However, pushing something like this on Facebook requires strong copy and a compelling call-to-action.
Look no further than Airtable and their B2B Facebook ads for that.
Image via Facebook
They hit the bullseye with their copy by talking about the problem they address – messy spreadsheets. That last bit about the “flexible, beautiful and (dare we say it) fun” is the sinker. It gets users interested in the product and compels them to sign up. The eye-catching image that goes with the ad definitely helps.
8. Cross-selling and Upselling Campaigns
You might think that an upselling campaign works best for e-commerce businesses. But that’s not true. Done right, you can leverage the same strategy to upsell your B2B business as well. You just need to find the right opportunities for yourself depending on the nature of your B2B offering.
One way to upsell is to promote adding more users to an existing subscription plan. Another would be offering existing customers additional products and features. The trick lies in finding the right price point for your customers that the deal is too hard to pass up on. You need to create functional and economic value for them.
The B2B Facebook marketing space is a very competitive one. There are one too many entities vying for a limited amount of valuable real estate. What you need to remember is that it’s not a numbers game.
The right ad targeted to the right people is all it takes to grow your business. All you need to do is figure out which of these strategies works best for you.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.