B2B Marketing Blog

5 Paid Search Best Practices That Get B2B Marketers Ahead Of The Curve

By Andrew Nguyen
Aug 27, 2015
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Scaling up the paid search channel is not an easy task for B2B brands. That’s why we regularly publish tips and strategies for B2B paid search.

Well we’re back with more hints for marketers searching for useable paid search best practices.

Dear Google, Why Striped Socks?

To explain relevancy scores Google uses the same example keyword in many of its help center articles: striped socks. Google says, using “striped socks” instead of “socks” in your ad copy will increase its relevancy score.

That doesn’t really help B2B marketers who sell expensive products and use paid search to target prospects who are further along in the funnel.

B2B paid search requires a particular set of skills. So let’s dive into some tactics and best practices.

I_have_a_particular_set_of_skills_paid_search_b2b

1. Target Specific Funnel Stages

In B2C, someone wants striped socks, a phone charger, or a book. They search, click on an ad, and purchase. Pretty simple. There’s only one stage: the decision to buy.

Amazon’s recent announcement of 1 hour shipping for alcohol means B2C marketers can enjoy tracking an even shorter sales cycle: first-click to face.

first-click-to-sales-closed-paid-search

B2B marketers deal with a slightly longer sales cycle, and prospects at different stages are searching for different information. This makes it essential for B2B marketers to vary their ad content for prospects researching available solutions, or are aware of your brand and are interested in a special offer.

Using remarketing lists for search ads you can create campaigns based on the pages your prospects have visited. These are prospects who are familiar with your brand and are likely actively researching you and your competitors.

By creating remarketing lists you can serve up content or offers that help educate prospects or target a competitor term as they research alternatives.

These types of campaigns are especially beneficial for converting prospects who are researching competing products, they may find all the information they need and once ready to buy, your offer is there to close the deal.

See this post on SEMRush by Guillaume Bouchard for helpful hints on using remarketing lists for search ads.

2. Target Specific Industry Verticals And Adjust Paid Search Bids

Using data from Bing, industry specific bid adjustments is a way for marketers to test the effectiveness of bid adjustments based on device and time of day. According to Bing Ads evangelist, John Gagnon, device and time of day are two areas where bid adjustments can help lower your CPC while still generating clicks volume and conversions.

ppc_industry_verticals_b2b_chart

By adjusting your bids using bid modifiers you can pay for ads that appear at the right time and on the right device. Data from Bing Ads shows how industries are not created equal when it comes to the best times and best devices to make bid adjustments.

Tme of day and device are data segments that B2B marketers can use to test and optimize their paid search.

3. Develop A Mobile Strategy

In January we predicted 2015 will be the year of mobile. With Google now showing three ads (instead of two) for certain search queries in mobile SERP’s, 2015 will indeed be the year that marketers focus on developing a mobile strategy.

According to SearchEngineLand showing three ads in mobile search could increase impressions, clickthroughs, and ad phone traffic while decreasing click throughs on organic search.  

Though click throughs are up sharply, it remains to be seen whether CPC’s will decrease for mobile search traffic.text_ad_click_data_by_device_ppc

“Thus far, we’ve seen very little movement from phone CPCs relative to those observed prior to the shifts in impressions and average position. How this change will affect the gap between mobile and desktop CPCs will depend on which queries are most likely to trigger three text ad impressions. Our latest quarterly Digital Marketing Report showed phone CPCs were 58 percent lower than desktop CPCs in Q2.” says Andy Taylor, Senior Research Analyst at Merkle|RKG.

phone_cpc_vs_desktop_cpc_paid_search_b2b

Marketers should be pay close attention to the mobile bid modifier strategy and consider mobile first ad campaigns that utilize click to call.

4. Get Inspiration For Ad Copy and Test

At the recent SMX Advance Conference Brad Geddes, Founder of Certified Knowledge, shared a case study on generating ad copy that converts.

Geddes looked at the customer reviews for a B2B client and noticed that customers used the phrase “rush shipping” to describe the reason for their affinity towards his B2B client. But when Geddes looked at their ad copy, he noticed they only used “free shipping.” This sparked an idea for a test.

After testing new ad copy using “rush shipping,” he saw a significant increase in average order size, showing how inspiration for a new test comes with a careful search for words that resonate with target audiences.

testing_ad_copy_ppc

When searching for inspiration for ad copy start by looking for the words that your customers use in describing their affinity to your brand.

Additionally, when testing your paid search campaigns and ad groups it is important to strive to understand exactly which change is responsible for the conversions and revenue.

Ideas for testing must be mapped out first and data must be broken down into actionable segments, says Geddes.

segment_data_in_paid_search_testing
Creating hypotheses first, can help you hone in on the ad copy that works well. For example,
  • Geo vs. Non-Geo headlines

  • Call Us vs. Learn More calls-to-action

  • Brand vs. Non-Brand headlines

  • Rush vs. Free shipping

For more in depth explanation, check out the recap of Getting Creative With Ad Copy & Testing by Search Engine Land contributor Purna Virji.

5. Use Revenue / [Paid Search Metric]

The final piece of advice for B2B marketers is using down-funnel metrics like revenue per impression and revenue per conversion (per campaign, per ad group, per keyword and on and on).

These will help you craft better ad copy, find the offers that prospects want, and identify the content offers that searchers want to read about.

Lastly, it makes the issue of reporting easier. Reporting becomes less like trying to put together furniture using the Ikea instruction manual.

B2B marketers don’t sell striped socks, nor do they enjoy the luxury of first-click to sales closed happening during the same session. They deal with different challenges.

To make paid search less of an exercise in pulling teeth, marketers should remember these tips:

  • Target specific funnel stages

  • Develop a mobile strategy

  • Target Specific Industry Verticals

  • Search for ad copy inspiration

  • Use down-funnel metrics

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more tips and strategies for paid search and online marketing in B2B. AdWords For B2B Marketers  Learn how to drive more revenue with these best practices for AdWords.  Download Now

Topics: ppc, paid media, paid search

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