B2B Marketing Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing

Top 4 Paid Advertising Options for B2B

Picture of Jannelle Chemko
By Jannelle Chemko

Paid advertising works in different ways across different industries. And with so many options available, it's not feasible for businesses to invest in every platform, especially when there are some that can give a better ROI for a B2B business, vs. a B2C. 

For a summary of the paid advertising options that seem to work best for B2Bs, keep on reading!

Display Ads

The Google Display Network (GDN) allows you to display ads across a variety of websites such as Gmail, YouTube, news sites or blogs. With Display Advertising you can create text, image, interactive and video ads, which will be displayed on websites most relevant to what you are advertising, and shown to those who are the most likely to be interested.

Pricing of Display varies across four main categories:

  • Cost per Click (CPC) -- the advertiser pays every time a visitor clicks the ad
  • Cost per Impression (CPM) -- the advertiser pays for every 1,000 impressions on its ad
  • Cost per Acquisition (CPA) -- the advertiser pays for every acquisition made by a visitor. For example, each newsletter sign-up, or registration
  • Flat Fee -- the advertiser pays a flat, one-time fee, for a specific placement of ad. 

Display Ads do have pros and cons, however. A con is that display ads could come across as spammy, or be potentially blocked by ad blockers. On the other hand, they are very flexible and come in a variety of designs and formats for you to display the type of ad you want. They raise awareness of your brand, and really make it stand out from the crowd; in fact, 1 in 5 consumers exposed to a business’s display ads perform related searches and 1 in 3 visit their website.

Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay Per Click Ads involve the advertiser paying a search engine every time a visitor clicks on their ad and visits their website. 

  • Google AdWords -- the advertiser writes an ad and bids on the keyword or search term that will make their ad show in the Google results. The advertiser pays when visitors click on the ad displayed, up to a maximum pre-determined daily budget.
  • Bing Ads -- similar to AdWords, the advertiser writes an ad and bids on the keyword or search term that will make thei ad show in the Bing and partner sites results. The advertiser pays when visitors click on the ad displayed, up to a maximum pre-determined daily budget.

For either search engine, the amount you bid on keywords helps to elevate your ads into a higher position above others, so those bids should best represent the value of that customer to your overall business. 

PPC advertising can offer a wide net in which to bring in new leads and business. And because you don't pay unless your ads are clicked on by your target audience, it leaves you room to test the waters with new keywords, new landing pages, and new platforms until you find the most effective mix. 

LinkedIn Advertising

LinkedIn advertises itself as the B2B lead generator. As the world's largest professional network, it's been ranked as the #1 platform for B2B lead generation by marketers so this is an obviously intriguing solution to look at for your B2B paid advertising strategy.

There are a few types of LinkedIn ad fomats to familiarize yourself with:

  • Sponsored Content -- run native ads right in the main newsfeed, targeting specific audiences (which can be set based on user's location, job industry, job description, level of seniority or years of experience, for starters).
  • Sponsored InMail -- send personalized messages directly to targeted audiences through LinkedIn messenger. Sponsored InMail messages are only delivered when members are active on LinkedIn, and strict delivery frequency caps ensure your message gets noticed. You only pay when your message is delivered.
  • Text Ads -- similar to traditional PPC through AdWords or Bing, LinkedIn text ads allow you to build custom ads, choose your target audience, and set your own bid and maximum budget with PPC or CPM pricing options. 

LinkedIn advertising can be a very valuable B2B paid advertising platform, as users of LinkedIn generally use the platform for business-only related purposes, so the chance that they are already looking for a solution while browsing the site (and seeing your ad) is probably high. 

Facebook Advertising

Facebook's ability to target audiences makes it a useful advertising platform for B2C. However, it can also be a valuable tool for B2B as well, especially if your industry or business has an active Facebook community following. Unlike LinkedIn, however, browsers on the Facebook site may not necessarily be looking for a product solution while using the tool, so they may not be as inclined to engage.

That said, Facebook has 2.2 billion monthly active users -- a massive user base. However, a massive user base also equals a massive amount of content; content that your ads need to compete with. Which is why Facebook has created the Audience Network, to extend your campaigns beyond Facebook, and target "More People, More Places, More Results":

Use Facebook's Audience Network to deliver video ads on apps and sites beyond Facebook where people spend their time. Ads in Audience Network can be delivered across devices into a variety of video and display placements, including native, interstitial, rewarded and in-stream video. Regardless of placement type, you don't need to create and upload new creative assets—the ads will automatically render to fit the placement type with the same creative assets used on Facebook, though you always have the option to customize your creative. 

  1. To start a Facebook ad campaign, you first need to select an objective (for example, "increase traffic").
  2. Then, you select your targeted audience, and where you want to run your ad -- this could be across Facebook, Instagram, or any of the apps or website available as part of the Audience Network (or across them all!).
  3. Finally, set your budget (either daily or lifetime) and the period of your campaign, and then the format of your ad: Photo, Carousel, Video, Slideshow or Canvas.

Once submitted, your ad will make its way into the ad auction so that Facebook can try to match the right ad with the right user, at the right time. This is different than a traditional auction that Google or Bing have for keyword bids, because the winner in this case isn't the ad with the highest monetary bid, but the ad that creates the most total value.

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Overall, there is no right or wrong answer for which platform to use in your B2B marketing strategy. The key is to choose the option(s) that work best for your audience and your business, which usually requires a trial and error process to figure out.