Pssst, we have a secret: Facebook ads actually work for businesses selling to other businesses!
As an agency, we've managed millions in ad spend for our B2B clients, and a large portion of that was on Facebook this past year.
In this post, I'll share what kind of firepower Facebook offers B2B advertisers. This is fun stuff. Some of our clients have lowered their cost per new lead by more than 80% after adding this channel into their marketing mix.
But first, let's take on some of the most common objections (excuses?) we hear about B2B campaigns on Facebook:
Lies You've Believed About B2B Advertising on Facebook
"Our audience doesn't spend time on Facebook"
There are roughly 280M internet users in the United States. Of that group, about 71% are active on Facebook (200M).
This doesn't even account for other web properties owned by Facebook like Instagram and WhatsApp.
It's not just self-absorbed millenials on Facebook sharing selfies. The fastest growing age segment has been age 35-54.
So let's agree for now that your audience is, by the numbers, on Facebook.
"When people are on Facebook, they don't want to think about work"
The truth is, 2/3 of employees surveyed admit to checking sites like Facebook during the workday. So if Facebook users are checking their feeds during work hours, is it such a stretch to think they would find interest in work-related matters?
In either case, great content is still great content no matter where it's discovered. At the end of the day, all marketers are B2H (Business to Human). And most of the humans are on Facebook -- even the business-y ones.
"We tried Facebook ads one time and it didn't work"
Facebook has rolled out so many new features in the last 12 months that it will make your head spin (and those are just the updates we can see on the front-end of the advertising product).
If this objection has your name on it, be honest with yourself: did you approach Facebook ads with a clear strategy? Was there a commitment to rigorous testing and iteration? Did you spend enough to have a legitimate sample size?
If the answer is "no" to any of those questions, you have not even scratched the surface of what Facebook ads can offer.
"My target audience is too niche -- it would be impossible for us to find them on Facebook"
Ah, thanks for bringing this one up. It's the perfect segue into Facebook's targeting options.
But first, you need to understand the breadth of data that Facebook possesses on their 1 billion+ users.
Facebook doesn't just use profile details to understand who their users are (age, sex, gender, etc.) That might have been how this whole rocket ship took off, but it's far from the complete story.
Let's start with activity on Facebook. Everything users share or comment on is tracked. Every link, every image, every video. Every "like" is recorded - and now, there's even more nuanced ways to respond with "reactions" (talk about large scale sentiment scoring!)
If that wasn't enough intelligence, they've partnered with some of the largest data companies in the world like Epsilon, Axiom, and Datalogix to provide insights on users' offline purchases.
These relationships form the "partner categories" and are stitched together with all of Facebook's data, engineering what is essentially the Michael Jordan of audience targeting options.
Facebook B2B Audience Targeting Options
According to Facebook, the "behavior" targeting option helps advertisers, "Reach people based on purchase behaviors or intents, device usage and more".
So basically, it enables large scale mind reading.
There's a few behavior targeting options that are particularly relevant to B2B advertisers.
-Seniority (choose between middle management and the C-suite)
Want to target Directors of IT at healthcare companies with more than 1,000 employees? This is where to start.
Here's where Epsilon comes into play. Track users' offline business purchases, like marketing products, software, and more.
Work Related Targeting
Thought LinkedIn was the only place you could target job titles?
Facebook lets advertisers target an audience using an open-ended list of employers, by job title, or by office size.
Do you have a list of dream enterprise clients? Want to reach all of the VP level decision makers? You can do that here (and you should).
Custom audiences, Lookalike audiences, oh my!
Are we having fun yet?
Facebook has even more in store for advertisers who bring lists of leads, prospects or customers to the table.
Upload your list of leads as a "custom audience" to Facebook. The source list can consist of either email addresses or phone numbers. Facebook will then find the Facebook profiles that correspond to those emails or phone numbers.
This is perfect for lead nurturing campaigns where you want to engage leads outside of the inbox.
Advertisers can also create custom audiences based on visitors to their website(s). This allows you to "retarget" visitors who have not yet converted into leads.
For example, target all those anonymous visitors who read your blog post on "low latency stock trading servers", with a webinar on "how to calculate lost revenue from downtime" (or some equally B2B-esque topic).
Similar process for setup, different result. Take your list of best customers, upload them to Facebook, then ask Facebook to go find other people who fit a similar description using their seemingly endless treasure trove of data.
For max impact, B2B advertisers can mix and match things like custom audiences, lookalikes, behavior and interest targeting.
-Facebook is still underutilized by B2B companies. There's a first-mover advantage at stake here. Will you take it?
-Facebook presents an opportunity to acquire new leads at a comparatively lower cost to other "proven" channels like Google Adwords. It is an auction, after all and it's still comparatively under-crowded compared to other advertising platforms. We've seen COCA drop by more than 80% for some of our B2B clients.
-Facebook ads are interactive and help cultivate a conversation with your audience in the comments. This is a key differentiator for the platform and this type of engagement often drives organic (read: free) impressions and clicks.
Can Facebook work for you?
If our experience has shown us anything, it's that there's no business too "boring" or business-y for Facebook.
Want to give this a shot? Let us put together a proposal, which includes free discovery and a video overview of how we can reach your target audience.