The following ultimate guide was provided for republishing courtesy of KlientBoost.
B2B Facebook ads campaigns can actually be quite profitable, even if Facebook has long been considered a fun playground for B2C companies.
Social Media Examiner’s report showed that 52% of B2C marketers consider Facebook marketing effective, compared to only 38% of B2B marketers.
All the while consumer brands are having a blast organizing challenges, competitions, and free takeaways, the B2B brands seem to be left out of the game.
The common way of thinking goes: people mostly spend their time on Facebook to communicate with their friends and family, not do business nor network. Facebook’s 2016 News Feed update also prefers posts from your friends and family over the ones by companies trying to sell you stuff.
This is why Facebook ads might seem like a forbidden territory to many B2B companies.
Wishing that B2B product would become popular – GIF source
But often, it’s a misconception.
Facebook’s ads can deliver major website traffic, leads, and sales both to B2C and B2B brands. I’m going to show you how in a sec.
But first, let’s get one question answered and out of the way:
Should Your B2B Brand Advertise on Facebook?
After having worked with over 100 clients on their Facebook ads, the team at KlientBoost can say that both B2C and B2B advertisers can find high-ROI Facebook ad tactics.
B2B Facebook ads do work. You just need to know how to bring out the best in them.
A survey of 342 B2B marketers found that 58% of managers pointed to Facebook and LinkedIn as the social media platforms with highest ROI.
Facebook is B2B marketers’ favorite social media platform – image source
There are plenty of success stories, proving the match between Facebook and B2B companies.
B2B company Schneider Electric used Facebook ads to raise awareness of its product with high-quality video content. They saw up to 80% reduction in cost per engagement.
A German patent and law firm used Facebook targeting and got awesome results such as a 40% increase in return on ad spend and a 75% lower CPC compared to other paid channels.
B2B brands like Wrike advertise on Facebook
According to an eMarketer study, 96% of social media marketers consider Facebook the most effective social media advertising platform.
There’s no reason B2B brands should be left out of the party.
Leaving B2B brands out is just not cool – GIF source
However, there’s a steep difference between B2C and B2B Facebook ad strategies.
Clearly, the audience you’re selling a B2B product differs from an audience you’d target with a chocolate bar ad or a holiday travel offer.
To help you get a better understanding of B2B Facebook ads and see whether it’s a good fit for your company, we put together this guide.
Up next, you’ll find exciting Facebook B2B advertising ideas, tactics, and best practices, all spiced up with stellar ad examples.
Facebook Ads and the B2B Conversion Funnel
Like any other advertising channel, successful Facebook advertising requires that you understand your target audience and conversion funnel. Otherwise, you won’t be able to promote the right offer at the right time to the right audience.
Your formula for Facebook ad success
B2B Facebook advertising is similar to the B2C marketing in that you can’t keep trumpeting the same message to every target audience and hope they’ll convert.
That’s just wrong.
You should aim to tailor all your marketing messages around a particular conversion stage.
Here’s a chart to give you some campaign ideas for every step of your marketing funnel:
The B2B conversion funnel – image source
Behind every large B2B enterprise, there’s a decision-maker that’s a person like you and me — and they need to be directed towards the purchase with small consecutive conversions.
Don’t limit your Facebook ads to a single offer.
Instead, build a flow of lead generation and remarketing ads that will guide your prospects towards the final deal without scaring them away by screaming “BUY ME!” on the first encounter.
B2B Facebook Ad Messaging
In addition to the different conversion funnel stages, B2B Facebook audiences also differ in regards to job seniority, industry, and many other factors.
The messages you target on a CEO vs. an assistant can be highly different.
As you get started with B2B Facebook ads, take your time to define the conversions you want your target audiences to make. Only then proceed to the development process for messaging and value props.
Zuora’s sales pitch deck has been named “The Greatest Sales Deck Ever.”
A page from Zuora’s sales deck – image source
The pitch deck follows a 5-step pattern:
- Name a big, relevant change in the world
- Show there will be winners and losers
- Show and tease the Promised Land
- Explain how some product features could help to reach the Promised Land
- Show how your product will get the customer to the Promised Land
Your B2B Facebook ads should do the same: Convince the potential customers there’s a way to improve their work or increase their company’s profits. The solution? – Your product.
Both B2B and B2C buyers are becoming increasingly independent of salespeople during the buying process. HubSpot’s 2016 research showed that 57% of B2B/B2C buyers consider themselves more self-reliant.
B2B buyers are becoming more independent – image source
People prefer to do the research on their own and base their decisions on the information available on websites (and ads).
Your ads and website are like your business card.
That’s why, your B2B ad messages should be:
- Professional – avoid slang and too “fun” messages, speak your customers’ language
- Trustworthy – show your brand is already trusted by many customers
For example, Dropbox’s Facebook ad says “Join 90+ Businesses,” showing their product is trusted by many professionals.
Dropbox emphasizes their large user base
Capterra’s using a similar approach, mentioning they “help more than 2 million users per month choose the best software for their company.”
Having 2 million users is a clear sign the company is working with successful companies all over the world.
2 million users looks like a sign of trust
Naturally, mentioning a large number of users is not the only way to earn trust in the B2B space.
Research by Arketi Group found that at the beginning of a typical B2B buying cycle, when seeking to understand and explore a possible business problem, most people (41.6%) trust industry analysts (Gartner, Forrester,etc.) as their top go-to source.
If you receive a report from an industry analyst, you might want to mention it in a Facebook ad campaign.
Otherwise, you could simply share industry stats to educate your target audience and position your brand as an industry expert, just like Office for Business has done with their Facebook ad.
Position your brand as an industry expert
In fact, there are many Facebook campaign formats and ad types that are a great match for B2B advertising.
We did our research and found some super smart examples of B2B Facebook advertising done right.
Here’s what we found.
B2B Facebook Idea #1: Brand Awareness Campaign
As we already explained before, it doesn’t always make sense to jump right at a sales pitch during your first encounter with a potential customer.
If the decision-maker is unfamiliar with your brand and product, they likely won’t feel the urge to make a purchase right away.
That’s where the brand awareness campaign enters the stage.
For example, Contently’s Facebook ad doesn’t immediately ask the reader to sign up or make a purchase.
Contently’s Facebook ad isn’t selling anything
Instead, Contently’s Facebook ad focuses on creating awareness around their product. Their entire Facebook ad copy emphasizes that they’re working with high-level customers and have won awards in the past.
SendinBlue’s Facebook ad could also be targeting people who are mostly unfamiliar with their product. The headline “Email & SMS Marketing” says exactly what the product does, so that the ad viewers will associate the brand with email marketing in the future.
And who knows…When a prospect truly needs this kind of a marketing tool, maybe SendinBlue will be on top of their mind.
SendinBlue’s ad introduces their product
Here are some best practices for running a B2B brand awareness campaign on Facebook:
- Be clear about your value proposition and brand positioning
- Target a wide audience and let Facebook auto-optimize your ads’ reach
- Select the Brand Awareness campaign objective for your Facebook campaign
- Offer people to learn more about your product/service, instead of proposing a demo or sign-up right away
B2B Facebook Idea #2: Combine PR and Facebook Ads
If your company is regularly featured in the news or you’ve just won an industry campaign, why not share the good news with your Facebook audiences.
While having your product mentioned on a popular news site is already a huge PR win, you can amplify the results by extending your campaign to Facebook.
For example, WeWork is sharing an article they were mentioned in, originally published on Inc.com. (They’ve even made it a pinned post to share the good news with all their Facebook page visitors)
WeWork’s sharing positive media mentions
Here’s another example of WeWork’s Facebook post sharing media coverage by TechCrunch.
WeWork’s Facebook post of a TechCruch article
There are several reasons to include 3rd party media mentions on your Facebook page and even promote the posts to amplify the reach:
- People trust product reviews more when they come from a 3rd party or other customers. So, they’ll be more likely to trust a publication’s opinion than a simple ad. According to BrightLocal, 72% of consumers say reading a positive customer reviews increase their trust in a business.
- Many brands add the “Featured In” snippet on their landing pages to increase trust. It will have the same positive effect on your Facebook page.
- Positive media mentions also enhance your B2B employer branding, making your company a desirable workplace.
The next time your B2B brand is mentioned by a news publisher or industry website, consider sharing the good news on Facebook as well.
B2B Facebook Idea #3: Make Product Announcements Heard
Most B2B product announcements are read by the existing customers.
After all, they’re the ones caring most about your product’s improvements.
Depending on your company’s processes, a product announcement could be made:
- In your company’s blog
- In an email newsletter
- In a press release
- In combination of multiple options
However, it might happen that many people who would be interested in hearing about your product news, simply miss the email or won’t visit your blog at the time you publish the announcement.
To make sure your product updates reach a wider audience, create a Facebook ad campaign like Teamwork has done.
Teamwork’s product announcement
Teamwork’s product announcement introduces a new Zapier integration that will enhance the way many of Teamwork’s customers do their daily work.
Your product announcements could target multiple Facebook audiences:
- The existing customer base
- Leads about to convert to paying clients
- Cold leads that may be interested in your product
We’ll stop on the B2B Facebook ad targeting options later in this article.
B2B Facebook Idea #3: Share Product Tips and Insights
Sharing product tips is similar to promoting product updates in that it’s mostly relevant to your existing customers.
However, keeping your existing client base happy is strongly advisable in B2B business. A 2014 Ogilvy study pointed out that 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.
The same study found that consumers prefer brands that engage them on their passions and interests 42% more often than those simply urging them to buy something.
Try not to be too pushy in your B2B Facebook ads.
Instead, focus on delivering value, both to existing and potential customers.
Here’s another example by Dropbox (the company’s seriously rocking B2B Facebook marketing). This time, Dropbox is sharing 10 tips to get more out of their product – Dropbox Paper.
Share product tips like Dropbox
Here are some best practices for sharing product tips on Facebook:
- Share product tips that benefit a large percentage of your customers
- Target your existing customers and fans of your Facebook page
- Test promoting product tips articles to current leads as well to convert the into paying clients
B2B Facebook Idea #4: Create and Promote Original Research
The users of a popular publishing platform WordPress produce about 84.3 million new posts and 41.8 million new comments every month.
And as you might guess when looking at the chart below, the increase in the number of articles is not going to stop anytime soon.
WordPress publishes more content every year – image source
When thinking back at KlientBoost’s blog growth, I’d say that great content takes care of 50% of sales.
When done right, content marketing gives so much value to your potential client that they’re already half-way sold before reaching out to you.
But what is great content?
According to an article in Kissmetrics blog, these are the nine pillars of awesome content marketing:
- Strong headlines
- The actionable nature of content
- Providing helpful answers
- Reliable information resources
- Highly engaging content
- Images that help to deliver your message
- Smart punctuation
- Sharing the latest information
Let’s stop on the first point of the list: Originality
B2B brands creating original content not only get tons of quality backlinks to their blogs, they also position themselves as leading industry experts.
For example, the Facebook ad by Office for Business offers a free research report.
Offer more original research
Optimizely is promoting a free playbook on conversion rate optimization. That’s both relevant and interesting to their target audience — marketers.
Optimizely is promoting a free playbook
People both familiar and unfamiliar with your brand can find value in the industry’s research reports.
This means that an original article empowers both the existing customer relationships while also increasing brand awareness.
Looks like a win-win to me.
B2B Facebook Idea #5: Share Case Studies & Testimonials
If you haven’t noticed yet, most of the examples and best practices this far have focused on lead nurturing and brand awareness campaigns.
That’s because B2B sales are often based on trust and take more time to close.
A study of 150 B2B companies found that 58% of B2B buyers spend more time researching purchases, compared to YoY results.
Another format of B2B Facebook ads that has recently caught my eye is promoting customer testimonials and case studies.
For example, ConvertKit placed a customer testimonial right in the ad image.
ConvertKit’s Facebook ad features a testimonial
According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, an overwhelming 90% of respondents say that positive online reviews influence their buying decisions.
And as you look at the chart below, nearly 40% of people have spotted customer reviews on Facebook — so you might want to give your positive client reviews a boost by promoting them in a Facebook ad.
Around 40% of people read reviews on Facebook – image source
B2B Facebook Idea #6: Get New Leads with Quality Content
Successful B2B sales and content marketing go hand in hand.
According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 benchmark study, social media and blog content are the most widely used types of B2B content marketing tactics.
Social media is a popular B2B marketing channel – image source
However, not all content marketing will get the large companies to your users’ list. Your content marketing efforts have to deliver a high-quality experience and be relevant to your target audience.
OkDork, for instance, offers a free 30-day email marketing course from highly skilled marketing experts. That’s a crazy valuable offer.
OkDork’s Facebook ad offers a free course
While Litmus’s content offer isn’t as grandiose as OkDork’s 30-day free course, it excels in its own way by being highly relevant to the brand’s target audience.
Litmus combines content marketing and Facebook ads
You can even go as far as NewsCred and build your marketing campaign around a new highly targeted landing page.
NewsCred’s landing page is targeting specifically at content marketers, combining storytelling, brand campaigns, and fashion — topics that resonate deeply with their target audience.
NewsCred’s B2B campaign has a dedicated landing page
Before you start creating content for an upcoming advertising campaign, take a deep breath and think who is in your target audience.
Only then proceed to the content creation process.
B2B Facebook Idea #7: Side Project Marketing
Have you heard the term “side project marketing?”
In the recent years, we’ve seen an increasing number of brands succeed with this marketing tactic.
So, what exactly is the side project marketing?
The easiest way to explain the term goes like this: Side project marketing means building a new small product alongside of your main product. The new product will solve a small highly specific problem or help people achieve a particular goal.
For example, HubSpot’s Website Grader helps marketers to evaluate their on-page SEO, loading speed, security, etc.
HubSpot is doing side project marketing
Here’s what the results look like
Combining the side projects with Facebook ads can be a great way of attracting new leads and increasing brand awareness.
For example, Salesforce is promoting their free ROI Calculator side project.
Salesforce’s side project
According to an excellent article by Crazy Egg, the best practices for creating B2B side projects are as follows:
- Scratch your own itch – build a side product that’s solving a problem you understand
- Use existing resources – find out what resources that you already have which could be given away for free
- Simplify your solution – take a specific feature and offer it for free to generate leads, users, and customers
- React to the market – look for industry trends that you can build on
- Wrap it in an awesome experience – don’t hold back when creating a perfect user experience
- Promote your side project – look at your side project as an independent product and give it the spotlight it deserves
B2B Facebook Idea #8: Free Demo Offers
If your product requires some time to get used to, a free trial offer might help to increase the lead-to-sales conversion rate.
For example, Pipedrive’s Facebook ad features a “Sign Up” call to action.
Pipedrive’s ad jumps right to the sales pitch
As prospects click on the ad, they’ll be conducted to a landing page with a free trial offer.
Pipedrive’s landing page offers a free trial
You can also test running a Facebook Lead Ads campaign to collect new leads. However, when promoting SaaS products, you might want people to sign up on your landing page as you’ll be able to lead them directly into your product’s onboarding funnel.
Facebook Lead Ads work great with eBook and whitepaper offers. Here’s an example by Infusionsoft, offering email marketing tips.
Infusionsoft’s offering a helpful eBook
If your product is focused on smaller companies (compared to large enterprises), you could also try Instagram ads, just as Clanbeat has done.
Clanbeat is using Instagram ads to reach B2B audiences
The general rule about Facebook ad placements is to think where your target audience spends most of their time – is it in the Mobile Newsfeed, Desktop Newsfeed, etc.
Also, consider your landing page experience – is it better (and converting more visitors) on desktop or mobile?
B2B Facebook Idea #9: Enhance the Onboarding Experience
Once you get a new lead sign up to your SaaS product, you’re only halfway through the sales process.
You still need to convince people to start paying for your product. And that’s where onboarding enters the game.
According to an article in ConversionXL’s blog, these are the main reasons why your leads never turn into paying clients:
- Prospects don’t understand how to use the product
- They have a false impression of what the product actually does
- Prospects aren’t brought into the product quickly or frequently enough
- They don’t understand the value
So, how could you make a larger number of leads understand your product and its benefits?
In addition to product walk-throughs and sales calls, you can create helpful guides that explain how your product applies to specific use cases.
For example, Intercom’s Facebook ad invites prospects to learn more about their Intercom Demos feature.
Intercom’s ad introduces a specific feature
As someone clicks on the ad, they’ll be led to a landing page with plenty of use case examples.
Intercom’s landing page
Intercom’s Facebook ad could be targeted both on leads and cold audiences to show both how Intercom helps to improve the demo process.
You can also advertise onboarding guides to people who have just signed up to your product by creating a Facebook Custom Audience of new trial users.
B2B Facebook Idea #10: Upsell Campaigns
Upselling campaigns can be used both by eCommerce and B2B businesses.
And you know what? Upsell campaigns can be highly effective.
According to one Forrester research analyst, product recommendations like upsells and cross-sells are responsible for an average of 10-30% of eCommerce revenues.
Depending on the nature of your B2B product, you could find upsell opportunities such as adding users to the existing subscription plan or selling additional products to existing clients.
For example, if a company ordered business cards from MOO…
If someone converted on this ad
…They could be targeted with a cross-selling campaign of notebooks.
They could be retargeted with this ad
Be careful not to ask for too much additional spending from your customers.
Shopify’s article suggests that you should upsell and cross-sell products that cost 25% or less of the overall order.
“When choosing upsell and cross-sell products to display, avoid suggesting products that increase the overall order by more than 25 per cent. For example, if the original product the visitor is looking at is $100, you want to avoid showing customers cross-sells and upsells that are greater that a $25 increase on the original product.”
How to Reach Your B2B Audiences on Facebook?
Alright, now that your brain is full of awesome B2B Facebook ad ideas, it’s time to talk about how you’re going to reach them.
On a high level, there are three main Facebook audience types that let you reach your B2B buyers:
- Facebook Saved Audiences
- Facebook Custom Audiences
- Facebook Lookalike Audiences
Let’s see how you can reach all those audiences on Facebook and turn them from cold leads into paying customers.
Learn how to reach all your Facebook audiences
Reach B2B Clients with Facebook Saved Audiences
Facebook Saved Audiences let you reach people based on their interests, location, demographics, and behaviors.
When creating a new Saved Audience, your most important tool is going to be the Detailed Targeting box.
Use Facebook’s Detailed Targeting
Here, you can enter a wide set of interests related to your B2B product or target people based on their job seniority or industry.
To reveal the full list of work-related targeting options, select “Demographics” and then “Work.”
Navigate to the “Work” section
Here’s a list of options under the “Work” category:
Employers – target people based on the company they’re working for (searchable)
Industries – target people based on the industry they’re working in (not searchable)
Job Titles – target people based on the job title they’ve shared with Facebook (searchable)
Office Type – target people based on whether they work in the home office, a small office, etc.
Target people based on their job
You can also reach potential B2B audiences by targeting the following interests:
- Industry publications
- Industry events
- Your competitors and their fans
- Other services or products used by your current customers
Reach B2B Clients with Facebook Custom Audiences
We’ve got the internet’s most comprehensive guide on Facebook Custom Audiences here on KlientBoost’s blog.
So I’m not going to stop on this topic for too long.
However, we’re going to suggest some types of Custom Audiences that we’ve seen work well when matched with B2B Facebook ads.
- Website visitors – target people who have already shown some interest in your product
- Pricing page visitors – get your Pricing page visitors back to your website by remarketing on Facebook
- Blog readers – warm up these lukewarm leads with additional content offers
- Newsletter subscribers – turn these warm leads into clients by retargeting them with a sales offer
- Free trial users – help these users on board with helpful product guides and case studies
- Past purchasers – there’s an audience ripe for a cross-selling or upselling campaign
Creating Facebook Custom Audiences is pretty easy
Don’t forget that in order to create Facebook Custom Audiences, you need to install the tracking Pixel on your website. Do it on Day 1 of your Facebook Page setup!
Reach B2B Clients with Facebook Lookalike Audiences
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could clone your best B2B customers and double the sales margins?
You can almost do it with Facebook Lookalike Audiences.
Lookalike Audiences are based on the idea that people who are most similar to your existing users are also the most likely to convert.
To create a Facebook Lookalike Audience, you first need to create a Custom Audience of your top clients and past purchasers. Next, you can use that Custom Audience as a seed for your new Lookalike Audience.
Creating Facebook Lookalike Audiences
If the seed audience of your top customers is smaller than 1,000 people, you can create Lookalike Audiences based on other types of conversions, e.g. past 60 days leads.
Tip: If your Lookalike Audience is too large for your advertising budget (e.g. over 8M people), you can narrow it down with additional interests- and demographics-based targeting.
Wrap Up on B2B Facebook Ads
While it may seem like an untraditional match, combining your Facebook ads and B2B audiences can be a great opportunity to reach additional customers.
Remember that the B2B deals take a longer time to close than B2C, meaning you should focus more effort on brand awareness and lead nurturing campaigns.
B2B sales take more effort, but the gains are bigger too – GIF source
Here’s one more tip I’d like you to take away with you.
As a B2B advertiser, you should be cautious of the holiday season and national holidays.
As the B2C advertising is more aggressive around that time, you may want to pause your ads and let the high-cost period go by.
Founder / CEO of KlientBoost
He’s an international speaker, who’s also a little too obsessed with Pellegrino sparkling water (something that he buys by the pallet at Costco).
He thinks he’s famous, but we write him reality checks every day.