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Why B2B Brands Struggle with Facebook Ads (and How to Reverse It!)

September 20, 2018

You’re not alone in thinking that Facebook is a consumer-only channel. It’s not true, though – Facebook is effective for B2B, too. At Leading Results, we’ve been testing B2B Facebook ads for our clients for over a year, and we’ve learned a lot about what makes a company’s ads successful – and why many B2B brands struggle to make Facebook ads work for them.

Here are the top 4 reasons B2B brands struggle to run successful Facebook ad campaigns, and what they can do to make them work.

You’re advertising to a cold audience

Just because an audience is perfect for your service doesn’t mean the audience is ready to buy from you. Asking for a sale on the first touchpoint with a prospect is like asking someone to marry you on the first date. They don’t know you well enough to say yes … yet. Start by taking advantage of the three audience types on Facebook.

First is a Facebook Custom Audience. These are your most high-value audiences, as they allow you to remarket to website visitors using the Facebook pixel and people who have engaged with your Facebook content. (They’re a warm audience.) 

Second is a Saved Audience. You define this audience by choosing the interests, location, age, gender, devices used, etc. of people you want to target. Facebook has an average of 1,500 data points on every user, so detailed targeting is easy.

Third is a Lookalike Audience. Facebook generates this audience with members who look like a custom audience you’ve already uploaded. A lookalike audience is a smart way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your services because they’re similar to your best customers and prospects.

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You’re not providing value

Looking at your Facebook ads report, you’ll see your Relevance Score, a number between 1 and 10 that reflects how relevant Facebook thinks your ad is to the audience you’re targeting. This can be easy to ignore when it’s time to report on marketing KPIs, but don’t – Facebook prioritizes content (organic and paid) that enhances a user’s experience, so a low relevance score means your content isn’t resonating with your audience … which means Facebook won’t show your ad or will show it at a higher cost per click. Shoot for a relevance score of 7-10 for best results. 

Need to improve your relevance score? Narrow down your audience to ensure your offers and ads speak to their exact needs. Make attention-grabbing ads that speak to solving frustrations rather than promoting product features – the biggest challenge for B2B brands. Many think their product or service is too boring to be advertised on Facebook, which narrows their focus to talk about features. To the people whose problems you solve, however, you’re the most interesting thing on their newsfeed. Speak their language.

You’re not using video

Video in marketing is critical. The main benefit of using video in your Facebook advertising campaigns is remarketing to users based on their level of engagement with your content. Facebook allows you to create separate audiences based on how much time they spent watching your video. Video views are relatively cheap, and it lets you build powerful new audiences for remarketing. For example, you have a 3-minute video testimonial explaining the value your company brought to a client. Users who watched at least 25% of that video were initially attracted to your content but didn’t watch to the end. These users can become a custom audience for a remarketing campaign to drive further engagement.

custom audience

Videos don’t have to be professionally shot and edited. Facebook ads manager offers many ways to make your own videos from images using templates and guides. Start there and build your video library out.


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You’re using the wrong campaign objective

It’s easy to get caught up in the magic of Facebook ads. But for B2B advertising, only 4 of the 10 campaign objectives are worth focusing on: brand awareness, traffic, lead generation, and conversions. Here’s how they work.

brand awareness

Brand awareness campaigns introduce top-of-the-funnel prospects to your brand and get their interest. These ads probably won’t lead directly to a sales qualified lead or a sale, but it’s important to build trust with a broad lookalike audience and help move them down the funnel.

Traffic campaign ads drive traffic to either your website or Facebook business page. (It’s recommended to drive traffic to your website.) This builds audience lists for remarketing with your Facebook pixel. Like brand awareness campaigns, this probably won’t land a lot of sales, but it’s another way to narrow down your audience and match specific demographics to your services.

Lead generation campaign ads give prospects the opportunity to complete a lead gen form right in their Facebook app. The form on your ad will be prepopulated with information they’ve already shared with Facebook, ready to be sent directly to your CRM system. These ads reduce friction and are a great way to collect leads via Facebook.

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You should only use conversion campaign ads with dedicated landing pages to maximize effectiveness. Use conversion campaigns to track sales qualified leads or conversions such as demo signups.

When are you getting started?

B2B brands CAN and SHOULD use Facebook ads. Our tips work for users new to the Facebook Ads Manager platform or for those trying to revive a failed ad campaign. Never stop testing, never stop learning; Facebook rolls out new tools and improvements to their platform every day.

Not ready to tackle Facebook on your own? Check out some of our marketing programs that include advertising on Facebook and general social media creation and management. Or follow me on LinkedIn, where I’m always sharing the latest and greatest from social media experts.

Topics: facebook

Written by leadingresults

Leading Results helps businesses stop wasting money on marketing and improves their business development results by putting POWER in their marketing. The POWER is the Processes, Organizational Support, Why (you do what you do), Expertise and Refer-ability. You get strategy, tactics and execution. We work with both individual businesses and businesses as part of a larger ecosystem. Be more profitable.

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