Think Facebook Advertising Isn’t for B2B? Think Again.

By Sarah Lokitis | May 7, 2013
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Within the past year, so much has changed with Facebook ads, from custom audiences to action (conversion) tracking to new partner categories (I’ll discuss these in a moment!). Many have doubted that Facebook Advertising is the right channel for B2B (I’d argue there is typically not just ONE right channel); however, a wise man once told me “a true professional is never off-duty”. This means that when advertising to the B2B market, you are still advertising to people, and lo and behold – people are on Facebook! In fact, 665 million people are active on Facebook, so with the advanced targeting features, you can certainly find the right people for your market.

Determine who you are trying to reach:

At Search Mojo, we are always aiming to identify our clients’ target personas before we begin advertising. Without knowing who you are talking to, it’s hard to figure out what to say! You can target interests, geographies, job titles, partner categories and more. Once you have an idea of who you are trying to reach, research additional segments that may engage with your brand and potentially convert (Graph Search can actually help you with audience research).

Within Power Editor, Partner Categories are one of the latest tools that allow you to reach the right audience with Facebook Ads. Acxion, Datalogix, and Epsilon have teamed up to provide data on Facebook users’ online and offline activities to create more refined targeting options. This allows you to use their search behavior, highlighting more than 500 categories from occupation, lifestyle and purchase history. (The Internet is creepy, right?) These partner categories are potential target audiences for your B2B. Check out the examples and corresponding audiences sizes below:

Acxiom:

  • Job Role: Administration/ Managerial Category 5,241,700
  • Job Role: Financial Professional Category: 839,800
  • Vehicle: Purchase Propensity: Brand: Likely to Buy a New BMW: 24,177,800

Datalogix:

  • DLX Subscription Services: Auto Insurance Online: 10,395,500
  • DLX Subscription Services: Online Higher Education: 4,441,900
  • DLX Lifestyles: Corporate Execs: 14,435,300

Epsilon:

  • Lifestyles and Interests: Investor: 16,849,400
  • Business: Type of Business: Small Office: 6,619,200

Descriptions of each category are provided to give you more insight when you hover over a selected category:

Corporation - Partner Categories

If you are checking this out, note that you can only select from one of the partners for an individual ad at this time, but you CAN select several categories within each partner category.

Corporation and Professional Partner Categories

Craft a clear message to that audience:

Michelle mentioned about a month ago that creating an effective social media strategy required a simple, share-able message. This is the same for Facebook ads, whether they come from organic posts on your wall or within the short sponsored ad messages. Photo posts have been shown to be more engaging than just a text message, but be careful not to include more than 20% text. Think about what will grab the attention of your target audience – what pressure points are they concerned about that you can highlight in a 25 character headline? What images can reinforce that message?

Measure, test, repeat:

A couple months ago, this article was shared with me that essentially says: it doesn’t matter if Facebook ads get clicks. The real value of Facebook ads is when they change your behavior. When you pick one thing over another because you’ve seen it before. Sounds a lot like TV advertising, and advertisers are still spending millions for those prime time commercial spots, right? Facebook’s new conversion tracking offers some insight into this idea, because view-through conversions are now reported. If a user sees your ad, doesn’t click, but then later decides to buy that product or fill out that form, it is attributed. Some of you reading this may use a lead nurturing or marketing automation software that shows first and last touch; however, view-through conversions may not be included since the user doesn’t actively engage with the ad. Facebook shows post-click and post-view conversions to help tailor your message to the proper audience. If everyone seems to take their time converting, try testing a message that says sign up now or register today!

Share your thoughts:

Just because Facebook ads seem to be more targeted to consumers, know that your B2B target audience does hang out on Facebook during their down time and may be receptive to your message, if it’s targeted and clear. Let me know what you think about Facebook Ads for B2B by commenting below or finding me at +Sarah Lokitis or @Lokitis.

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