Today, B2B advertising offers many approaches to reaching your target audience. While it has traditionally been much easier for B2C companies (companies that sell to individuals) to target their ideal target audiences, it has been much harder for B2B companies (businesses that sell to other businesses) with a defined customer base to reach their target audience precisely.
B2B companies have niches that are smaller than entire industries and/or company sizes. Their ideal customer profiles are made up of many attributes including industry, company size, current performance, technographics and more.
Today, though it is possible to reach smaller niches and not waste media budget.
Why target B2B ads?
Targeting companies broader than these attributes can be useful if the people you reach will potentially be a customer in the future but do this too broadly and marketing budgets can be deleted quickly without success.
For most companies, the ability to target their ideal customer profile is the most cost efficient way to drive pipeline – today and in the future.
Targeting B2B ads increases conversions and ROI of your advertising campaigns and in turn, increases revenue and growth. Once you understand your target audience you have various options:
- Choosing the right advertising channels
- Using retargeting
- Using Account-based advertising (ABA) or Account Based Marketing (ABM) platforms
- Taking advantage of Intent data
Once you know where you want to target your advertising, you need to create the advertising itself.
Identifying your target audience
The first step in targeting B2B ads is to identify your target audience. This could be your entire ideal customer profile or a subset of that – see here to learn more about creating these.
The subset could be based on the demographics, behaviours, and/or pain points of your ideal customer profile. Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, understand the person you are trying to reach is the next step. These are often referred to as buying personas and when paired with your ideal customer profile, allows you to understand exactly who you would like to target.
Choosing the right B2B advertising channels
Once you know who you want to target, you need to choose the right advertising channels. There are many different advertising channels available. From search engines, social media to industry-specific websites.
The key is to choose channels that are most likely to reach your target audience.
For example, if your target audience is made up of decision-makers in retail, then LinkedIn and retail-specific trade publishers might be a good choice.
However, this is where the first challenge with ad targeting occurs for B2B companies. Most trade publishers are broader in their reach than you would wish – resulting in money spent on advertising that will not drive revenue today.
Today, there are other options.
Everyday, your website receives visitors and browse your website. These visitors can be targeted with advertising to further inform and retain awareness of your brand. Note, this approach today used third party cookies which are in the process of being turned off (in 2024). While I expect there to be a replacement technology to allow this to continue, it is not finalised as yet.
Account Based Advertising (ABA) or Account Based Marketing (ABM) Platforms
These platforms (like Radiate B2B) do not require someone to viswit your website first. Instead it relies on a list of companies, selected by yourself. These can be strategically beneficial companies, focused on new territories, or companies who face a particular problem or can be sourced from intent data so that you are continuously targeting companies who are researching a particular topic either on or outside your website.
Taking advantage of intent data with B2B advertising
Intent data shows you companies which are giving attention to a particular topic. Companies do not normally spend time researching an area unless there is a need for their business. In the case of Radiate B2B, via partnerships with Bombora, we can combine anonymous activity on your website (ie. before they have filled out a form) with activity across 5000+ websites to tell you which companies are spending increased time on a particular topic. This list us continuously updated.
Ideally, all these companies know about you and what you offer. If only!
Of course, sales development teams can make contact and initiate conversations, but the numbers of companies identified is usually larger than a sales development team can cope with. So only the companies showing the highest level of intent can then be focused on.
Advertising to companies increases both awareness and also performance across all your marketing programmes, acting as a reminder or nudge to look more closely at you.
By using the intent data to power a continuously updating advertising campaign – either across LinkedIn or across the Internet, you are able to highlight which companies, sales development teams should focus on and also increase the likelihood of the sales team connecting and having a conversation.
Tailoring your messaging for B2B advertising
B2B advertising is no different to B2C advertising when it comes to messaging. Focusing on an emotional message rather than the feature of your product/service is key. This is especially true for broad reach based campaigns, where people are not aware of your offering.
Whether it is B2B or B2C, people are bombarded with messaging and it can take at least 7 impressions for a message to be received – even if that is only sub-consciously.
Tailoring your message further will help you to cut through the noise. One of the reasons people say that advertising does not work is because for the majority of the time, advertising you receive is not relevant to you. You do not notice it.
When you do want something, you notice the message and act upon it, sometimes without even consciously acknowledging it is an advertisement.
So, tailoring your message will enable you to cut through the noise and increase performance of your campaigns.
For intent data targeted campaigns, you will typically know the topics that a specific company is focusing on. This allows you to tailor the advertising message around these particular topics and further cut through the noise.
In conclusion, targeting B2B ads and having tailored messaging is crucial to creating a successful advertising campaign. By identifying your target audience, choosing the right advertising channel, creating targeted ads, using retargeting, account-based advertising (ABA) and intent data, you can increase the chances of conversions and improve the ROI of your advertising spend.