Facebook, while being the biggest social media platform with approximately 2.89 billion monthly active users worldwide, may not always be the first-choice channel for advertising for B2B brands. It was and remains, primarily, a platform for people to share their life’s experiences and moments, and connect with those they know. But data from surveys and research indicates that Facebook is, after all, not just a B2C-specific channel.
As per a survey by Facebook, more than 74 percent of people “said they use Facebook platforms to discover brands or products online”.
Moreover, Facebook’s success stories of B2B brands also validate the potential for businesses to reach an audience that’s ready to engage and is receptive to product and service offerings.
A Facebook B2B success story
A French MNC that provides energy and digital automation solutions for efficiency and sustainability, had the aim of increasing brand awareness.
The company identified video as the best content type to reach its target audience and share its brand story. It used Facebook’s Custom Audiences feature along with interest and demographic targeting to reach new customers and grab the attention of its existing customers.
The campaign helped the company improve its brand recall by 14 percent and reduce the cost per engagement by a whopping 80 percent.
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Introduction to B2B Facebook advertising
B2B ads on Facebook help companies drive brand awareness, attract people to use their product(s) on a trial basis, or even sell products and services straight away.
B2B advertising on the platform might be difficult to navigate, considering the parameters that a B2B company must take into account when it defines its target audience and designs ad campaigns.
However, the key to driving results is the same as with any ad campaign: B2B companies must target the right audience with the right message at the right time. For example, an ad copy that drives top-of-the-funnel conversions is unlikely to drive bottom-of-the-funnel conversions.
Facebook Ads offers B2B companies three categories of ads aligned closely to the sales funnel (in other words, the buyer’s journey). Those are:
- Awareness (top of the funnel)
- Consideration (mid-funnel)
- Conversion (bottom of the funnel)
B2B marketers must define their campaign objectives before they set up their ads for the best results. A B2B marketing campaign will typically target one of the following goals:
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Conversion (or sale)
B2B brand awareness campaign
The objective of a B2B brand awareness campaign is to amplify the brand’s reach and educate people about the brand, when was it established, the products and services it sells, and so on.
While brand awareness doesn’t always lead to a conversion, it is a necessary first step in potentially turning a prospect into a customer.
While setting up a B2B brand awareness ad campaign, advertisers must:
- Target a wide category of audience or demographic
- Target the types of audiences who are more likely a potential B2B buyer
Short, but attention-grabbing video ads (optimized for mobile devices) are a great way to build brand awareness. The subsequent question might be, how long should a Facebook video ad be?
According to Facebook, a video length of 15 seconds (or less) is ideal to encourage people to watch till the end. Video ads less than 15 seconds also become “eligible for Instagram Stories and Facebook’s in-stream placements”, further increasing their reach.
For example, take this video by a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider. Its length is only 10 seconds, but within the short duration, the video communicates what the company does and how it may benefit people.
B2B traffic campaign
The goal of this campaign is to generate more traffic to your website, app, and Messenger. The ad type also gives you the option to target people who have installed your app previously. Advertisers can use this Facebook ad type to develop lookalike audiences (those who share interests and whose demographics are similar to a page’s followers) and remarketing lists.
While setting a B2B website traffic campaign, advertisers must:
- Target a wide category of audience
- Align products and services with buyer personas
- Study and measure industry, psychographic, and demographic profiles
Advertisers can choose one of the following four ad formats for their traffic campaign:
Take this ad by a cloud storage service brand as an example. It’s a 30-second video along with a crisp caption with a human touch to it. The caption includes a URL that sends users to a landing page. The landing page copy builds on the narrative of the video and includes a call-to-action (CTA) button, driving users to check the pricing plans.
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B2B lead generation campaign
Facebook’s B2B lead-gen ads help advertisers generate maximum value for every dollar they spend to collect quality leads within the platform. Event registrations, free coupons, newsletter sign-ups, and quotes are some of the campaign goals that can be achieved with this ad strategy.
The key advantage is that advertisers don’t need to send potential buyers to their websites to collect leads and nurture them. For the target audience, it’s easier to convert by providing the relevant information through the lead form and avoiding any additional steps such as signing up for a user account. (It is not to say advertisers shouldn’t send potential buyers to their website as some conversion goals may need sending users to a landing page to convert.)
Here is an example of a Facebook lead-gen ad that’s targeting SEOs and organic digital marketers to sign up for an SEO content template. The 15-second video concludes with a caption and a CTA encouraging users to sign up to access the template. The ad includes the CTA “Learn More”, which sends users to a landing page to convert.
B2B advertisers can use the following rules of thumb to generate high-quality leads.
- Use relevant data fields such as “job title”, “industry”, “employer type”, and more to target the right audience.
- Make your ad mobile-friendly as, according to data, 98 percent of active user accounts worldwide are accessed through mobile devices.
B2B conversion Campaign
Facebook’s B2B conversion campaigns are aimed at triggering a conversion action (such as completing a download or signing up to your email newsletter) or closing a sale. The conversion stage is where the buyer’s journey typically ends, though post-sale nurturing is part of some sales funnels.
Facebook Ads offers a ton of conversion events that advertisers can target with their ads, including:
- Adding items to cart
- Adding payment details
- Adding items to shopping wishlist
- Finding a location
- Completing registration
- Scheduling an appointment
According to data, the average conversion rate of Facebook ads across industries is 9.21 percent, which is a good benchmark for B2B advertisers to target.
Above is an example of a conversion-focused ad whose objective is to get people to sign up for an investment plan. The caption and accompanying ad banner offer enticing value propositions: that they can “make money” even when they are asleep, and get up to 250 percent on fixed deposits returns. The ad includes the CTA “sign up”, which drives users to a landing page to make an investment.
Advertisers aiming to convert users at the conversion stage of the buyer’s journey must use relevant tools and provide bonuses and perks, including:
- Educate audience about products and services (product demos for products, brochures for services, to name a couple).
- Be clear and transparent about the value proposition, and accompanying costs (if any) for service, troubleshooting, and so on.
- Provide a free trial for a short duration to give users the option to use a product before they purchase or subscribe.
Facebook ad budgeting
Facebook offers B2B advertisers two ad budget options: daily and lifetime.
Daily budgets inform Facebook of the average amount of money that an advertiser wishes to spend each day. However, when advertisers set their daily budgets, they are actually assigning an average amount to spend each day over the duration of a week. This means, on days when better opportunities for better results are available, an amount 25 percent higher than the fixed daily budget may be used but balanced out over a week. For example, if your daily budget is $8, on some days, $10 may be used to drive results that you had optimized for.
Lifetime budgets inform Facebook of the average amount that an advertiser plans to spend through the duration of an ad campaign. This type of budget is particularly helpful when advertisers do not want to exceed their overall ad budget. Similar to the daily budget, the lifetime amount will be spent over the course of an entire campaign.
Advertisers must provide the start and end dates for their campaign, while they also have the option to schedule ads during periods that they consider to be most cost-effective.
Facebook ad placement
Advertisers can choose up to five places where they want their ads to appear. They are:
- Right column
- Instant Articles
Facebook ad placement is a key part of optimizing your total ad spend and maximizing the results of your ads. Advertisers also have the option of choosing whether their ads appear on all devices, or mobile or desktop-only.
Facebook B2B audience types and targeting
Defining and targeting the right audience for your brand is among the trickier aspects of Facebook B2B marketing. Advertisers with experience in building buyer personas, a fictional representation of people who are a brand’s target audience, can help define the right group of audience to target.
Advertisers can target their Facebook ads to three types of audiences:
- Core audiences
- Custom audiences
- Lookalike audiences
This category gives advertisers the option to narrow down their target audience based on gender, location, and age. Within this type, “detailed targeting” allows you to add even more parameters such as behavior, life events, and education for enhanced audience targeting.
For example, behavioral targeting helps B2B advertisers evaluate designation, industry, size of the company, and more to identify the right audience for their brand.
This category enables advertisers to target audiences who are most likely to become paying customers.
Four targeting options are available with custom audiences:
- Website traffic
- App activity
- Customer file
- Facebook engagement
With the help of Facebook Pixel, a line of code that helps measure, optimize and build audiences for advertising campaigns, advertisers can build a list of users who have visited their company website or a web page. The benefits are manifold:
- Track conversions across mobile, desktop, and tablet devices
- Build a list of lookalike audiences, similar to website visitors
Businesses with a dedicated app can target users who had logged in to the app a while ago. Similar to website traffic, app activity helps advertisers to employ retargeting to get users to return to the app and take an action or convert.
With this option, advertisers can upload a curated list of email addresses that Facebook matches with user accounts. It helps build an altogether new custom audience list and target those people who have exhibited an interest in your brand across platforms.
This audience targeting category allows advertisers to target people who have already engaged with their brand’s social posts, watched a video, and are followers of their brand page.
This option is about building a custom audience list based on a brand’s existing target audience. Facebook helps advertisers identify an audience that’s potentially interested in their offering based on what their existing audience likes and engages with. Facebook makes use of an existing audience list to find people with similar demographics, including job roles, locations, and interests.
How to create or make a Facebook video
Videos are one of the most popular content types on Facebook, with Facebook Watch (the social channel’s video-streaming platform) estimated to be attracting 1.25 billion users each month. Facebook B2B advertisers need no further evidence to take advantage of this trend.
Facebook video ads generate twice as many clicks as image ads and, moreover, are the best way to showcase a brand’s personality and strike an emotional connection with the audience.
Advertisers must follow Facebook’s video recommendations and requirements to ensure their ads aren’t disapproved by the platform or look awkward to viewers. Here are some key Facebook video ad specifications marketers need to know:
- 4 GB is the maximum file size for all ad placements
- 1080x1080 is the minimum resolution for all ad placements
- The length of the video should be between one second and 241 minutes, but this varies for each video placement
- 4:5 is the Facebook-recommended aspect ratio for in-feed ads, although 9:16 and 16:9 aspect ratios are also supported.
- MP4 and MOV are the recommended file types for all video ad placements, though Facebook supports a ton of other file formats.
ALSO READ: 7 examples of exceptional promo videos
Rules of thumb for creating Facebook video ads.
Rule #1: Create video ads sans sound
According to research by Facebook, 80 percent of people reacted negatively to auto-playing video ads blaring out sound unexpectedly.
A majority of videos are viewed without sound, so advertisers must make sure their video ads are able to get the message across mainly through visuals alone.
It’s essential, therefore, that you subtitle your videos to remove ambiguity and give people the best user experience possible.
Rule #2: Make the most of the first few seconds
Videos, like any other piece of content, must grab the audience attention immediately. This is to not only communicate the message effectively but also drive engagement and prolong the time users spend on average watching the video.
According to data, the first three seconds of a video ad delivers as much as “47 percent of the total campaign value”, while the first 10 seconds generate 74 percent of value.
It, therefore, confirms that the core message or campaign goal must be visible to the audience right at the beginning of the video. But, ensure that the message is clear and concise, too.
Rule #3: Plan well
Yes! Advertisers cannot proceed with video ads without planning for the best video they can create. When we say “best video, what do we mean?
Rule #4: Understand and validate your video topic
You must know what you want to convey to your audience through the video, and what their takeaways need to be.
Rule #5: The best call-to-action
Make sure you follow up the video content with a value proposition that your audience is keen to explore or even sign up for. The best CTAs are simple and clear.
Rule #3.3: Less is more
As we’ve mentioned earlier, your video ad should ideally be no longer than 15 seconds. So, don’t cram too much information and risk leaving your audience confused. Keep your message short and complement it with good visuals to drive engagement.
Facebook as a B2B advertising platform helps advertisers achieve a wide range of campaign goals, offers a ton of targeting options to find the right audience, and helps retarget audiences who’ve visited the website or app but haven’t taken the desired action.
With the multitude of options available to advertisers, however, it’s important to align campaign goals with business goals to avoid wasting time and money on ads.
Frequently running A/B tests and refining the ad sets from time to time can help increase the overall effectiveness of Facebook B2B advertising campaigns.
About the author
Suhith Kumar RN is a seasoned content marketer, currently heading the content marketing efforts at Picmaker. His vast portfolio consists of articles in different niches, including SEO, technology, sports, lifestyle, and more. His interests are videogaming, tech, and fitness. He tweets at @suhithkumarrn.