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Exploring Paid Channels for B2B Marketing - Our Experiences

Aaron Price22nd January 2021

John is the CEO and Fern the Marketing Manager of marketing agency MCM Net, and they are two people that know the B2B marketing industry better than most.

John and his team at MCM Net have quite a lot of experience with working with clients on paid channels that are often overlooked by B2B businesses.

In this blog, John and Fern, highlight the learnings from these often underutilized channels.

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Facebook and Instagram learnings

One of the most popular paid channels for advertising is Facebook, due to its wide user base and also a large population of adult users.

Lead Generation campaigns are some of the most effective for B2B, and these work especially well on Facebook. We found that native forms hosted on Facebook had a higher completion rate than lead-gen forms on the actual website landing page.

This is likely due to the fact that Facebook auto-fills parts of the form for the user by taking information from the user’s profile. We also saw that bait-led content worked best on the platform, with more people filling out forms for further information, e.g. “fill out this form for a free report!”. However, you do need to be careful when taking this kind of approach, as Facebook does penalise anything deemed to be clickbait, and this could even lead to your account being locked.

With a lower average age on Instagram, we found that the platform didn't convert as much as other platforms like Facebook for B2B campaigns. This is likely due to the fact that there is a smaller group of people in senior decision making roles on the platform, as they are less likely to have reached this position from a younger age.

Instagram can however be useful for driving awareness before running a campaign and is strong for image-led brands. Although we have experienced better results on Facebook, it is important to allow some budget for each platform, as every brand performs differently. Proxy targeting is also a great advantage and works really well for B2B campaigns from our experience. This means even if you can’t target your audience directly, you can target people that are highly likely to be your target audience over both Facebook and Instagram.

TikTok for brand awareness

THE most talked about app in 2020 and one of the newest paid platforms available to advertisers, but I bet you haven’t considered it for your B2B campaign? We have trialled it as a platform for a number of our clients and have already seen some really positive results.

The platform has an incredibly cheap CPM of $0.50 and is a great platform for generating brand awareness. One caveat with the platform is that we haven’t experienced a great deal of interaction on ads, with a low CTR and low engagement on ads. But if you are looking for a cheap way to get your brand seen, TikTok ads could be the way forward.

One of the biggest concerns about TikTok is that the platform is dominated by young users in the 13-18 age category, but the platform has seen a significant increase in the average age of users during lockdown. TikTok have also added the ability to age-restrict your targeting which makes it quite effective at running targeted brand awareness ads at people using TikTok over the age of 25 for example.

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This makes it even more attractive for B2B brands. Content is also massively important and we noticed that business focused ads generated higher click through rates on our campaigns, but this differs drastically between clients.

*It’s also worth noting more and more advertisers are flooding to the platform so we expect the cost of advertising to increase by the end of 2021.

Linkedin is an all-rounder

Probably one of the most obvious paid channels for B2B marketing is on LinkedIn, a social platform dedicated to businesses. From our experience, it is also usually the most well-rounded when it comes to B2B campaigns and this is definitely something you should be putting some of your budget towards. Somewhat surprisingly, text ads are the best performing format from our experience for both driving traffic and conversion actions.

If you are planning on running a lead-gen campaign then these also work well, often with a larger conversion rate than many other platforms. LinkedIn still has a much smaller membership than other social platforms so CPCs remain high, but don’t be put off by this! All users on LinkedIn have a professional interest and high conversion rates make up for lower traffic and expensive clicks, compared to Facebook.

One of the main benefits of LinkedIn for B2B campaigns is the platform's unrivalled ability to target users by their job role. We have seen fantastic results with high conversions and CTRs for our clients with hyper-targeted campaigns aimed at Managing Directors or decision influencers. This allows you to run a high ROI campaign for your B2B marketing.

Spotify is the forgotten channel

Many of us have a music streaming account and most have probably used Spotify’s free service at some point, but it is often forgotten in marketing campaigns. This makes the platform perfect sense if you are looking to advertise without competition.

It is very much an awareness platform with low conversion and click through rates, but if you are looking to drive awareness for your B2B campaign it can be hugely cost effective. Targeting is somewhat limited on the platform, but you can target users by location and interest, and Spotify is working to rapidly expand their targeting options.

It is a much cheaper alternative to traditional radio advertising but the audio ads work in exactly the same manner. From our experience, traditional audio campaigns are more cost effective than the new video ads on Spotify too.

It is somewhat of a myth that paid channels are not effective for B2B marketing, as we have seen some great results across many platforms. Although it is true to say that social media is more effective for B2C campaigns, this can often be true about traditional marketing too, with products seeing huge surges in sales following a super bowl advert, compared to slower growth for a similar B2B placement.

The key to B2B marketing is to work out which platform best meets your needs, whether that be lead generation, brand awareness or conversion driven.

You can read more about MCM Net and their work here.

Bio

This blog was written by Aaron Price, SEO Lead at MCM Net. MCM Net are responsible for those adverts that follow you everywhere online and on your phone. They make sure that when you search for something you get the right results. They do this for a whole range of companies from National newspapers to Global charities and have been doing it since before Google was born. It’s all done through a combination of data analysis and pinpoint targeting which is why it’s so effective. If you see an advert or a search result that makes you want to click then that’s probably MCM Net.


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