Monday, July 22nd is D-Day for many web marketers. That’s the day that Google can start converting Google AdWords accounts to an Google Enhanced Campaign from a legacy account.
Why the change? Some say it’s to help marketers advertise more effectively in a world where marketing is increasingly anytime, anywhere, any device. Others will say it’s a tool for Google to increase your spend – without any return. Read more
Branding in B2B search engine marketing is a constant topic for debate. All B2B marketers realize that online brand awareness and recognition is extremely important, and most marketers already promote their brand via PPC campaigns and SEO programs.
To increase the effectiveness of your efforts, I also recommend implementing remarketing. A short B2B remarketing success story is given below. First, what is remarketing?
Remarketing is a search advertising feature that allows business marketers to reach prospects who have previously visited your site, and show them relevant ads as they visit other sites across the Google Display Network (GDN).
Specifically, when visitors leave your website without interacting, or registering, or purchasing — remarketing helps you connect with these potential customers while they browse other websites.
This keeps your brand “top of mind” and allows you to present a compelling message or offer to encourage them to return to your website.
Retailers typically use remarketing to present an offer that motivates consumers to complete a transaction (or shopping cart purchase) that they previously abandoned. But, remarketing offers benefits that go way beyond consumer shopping…
For B2B companies, I have found that remarketing significantly improves brand awareness and recognition, market “buzz,” prospect interaction, and lead generation.
I currently manage a remarketing campaign for Confio™ Software. Confio provides IT tools for database administrators and developers.
Confio’s remarketing campaigns is highly targeted and specifically designed to reach prospects based on the exact type of information they were looking for when they visited the site previously.
We have tagged the Confio website with specific remarketing code that is aligned to lists or specific audiences based on their interaction with the site. By interaction, I mean that they visited a specific section of the site and we are able to identify that activity and target them with unique messaging based on this, allowing ads to be served based on the visitors’ specific needs.
The customer feedback, and “market chatter” has been nothing but positive, and the remarketing campaign has driven a great deal of impressions at a lower cost than a display/banner campaign. I have found that cost-per-impression for remarketing campaigns can be up to 50% less expensive than general display campaigns.
Confio’s remarketing campaign features “Monster Ads” which were used to highlight the common problems Database Administrators deal with. Here is an example of a Confio Monster remarketing banner ad:
Confio’s marketing team was very pleased with their remarketing results.
A quote from Confio CMO Don Bergal:
“Remarketing has become an important tool for us to create initial awareness in our focused target market, and we are able to get far more impressions in front of this audience than possible with other programs. For those who already know us but see Confio only occasionally, it’s amazing the number of people who reach out and say they were surprised to see us show up on such a diverse range of sites. I think most people still don’t get it — they see us targeting websites, but really, we are targeting them.”
Remarketing can take your online marketing program to a whole new level. The cost-effective impressions you gain through targeting visitors who previously visited your website will increase brand awareness, recall and interaction.
Most B2B marketers have a list of potential buyers at specific companies that they would like to reach. It can be very difficult to selectively target this audience via PPC Search ads or banner campaigns. Even behavioral targeting has its limitations.
Your next move… LinkedIn Ads.
LinkedIn Ads is an offering from the popular professional networking site that provides many targeting options and cost-effective innovative ways to reach your audience.
Campaigns can be created to target a specific message, product, general brand, promote a web conference or anything you want to make sure your audience is aware of.
Here’s a look at how you can use specific targeting options to make your LinkedIn Ads campaign work for you.
This process is similar to other ad networks we all use to promote brands, products and offerings. Make sure the messaging in line with what you want your audience to do…buy a product, sign up for a conference, add a new service offering or just plain remember your brand. Don’t forget to include your company’s logo. Brand awareness is key and helpful.
As you can see in the image above, ads can be simple text or include an image. The headline allows for 25 characters and the body text can span two lines with a total of 75 characters.
This is where the real value of LinkedIn Ads is… very granular audience targeting! Here is a summary of the six main ways B2B marketers can target business buyers.
Pick your continent, pick your country, pick your state, region, pick your metro. You can target your audience right down to their exact location. While this is similar to many ad networks just wait and see what else you can do…
Targets can be selected based on the industry they serve. You can reach those in agriculture, arts, construction, education, government — to list a few.
There are even more specific categories within those broad industry categories. Be mindful that you can only select up to 10 industries. If you need to reach more industries, I recommend that you create separate campaigns. This approach also allows you to offer more relevant ads.
You can select your audience based on the company they work for (or have worked). Do you have a list of leads that you want to notify about your latest product offering or conference? Create a campaign and remind them they need to sign up or update their product.
Selecting companies by their size is also available so if you need to reach small business you can opt-out of companies that may be too big for your offering.
Only need marketing managers? Skip the C Level and go straight to the Marketing department. Know the exact job function you want to reach? Simply enter the specific job titles.
Targeting the right people has never been easier. This feature is great if, for example, you are trying to increase registrations for a conference that would be helpful to Fortune 500 Marketing teams.
Are you trying to reach a certain group of people not necessarily based on their company or job function, but rather groups they are members of …yeah you can do that too. For instance, B2B marketers may want to reach members of organizations relevant to a certain industry.
One example: targeting a CPA group because your business offers software for financial auditing.
Finally, do you only want to find women or individuals in their 30’s…you can reach them through LinkedIn’s targeting offerings. All you have to do is opt in.
You can keep your ads running outside of the LinkedIn platform by opting in to the LinkedIn Network which allows you to follow that Marketing Manager that you are targeting if they visit any site in the Network. This option is similar to PPC search remarketing – across various content/display networks.
For B2B Marketers reaching your exact audience has never been easier. Setting-up a LinkedIn Ads campaign is at your fingertips. And remember, this isn’t about driving the biggest click-thru-rate this is about reminding prospects of your business, product, or upcoming conference. This is about awareness.
If I remember anything from my advertising studies at Penn State its frequency, frequency, frequency…and LinkedIn Ads offers this in an affordable, highly-targeted format.
Apr 06, 2011 at 8:45am ET
by Kate Powell
Most B2B search marketers spend the majority of their time analyzing conversion data within their PPC campaigns. They adjust budgets and bids to ensure adequate funding of the top converting keywords (i.e. keywords that record a conversion, at an acceptable cost, within the 30-day tracking window, based on user cookies).
While this approach is logical and typical…. it may not be the most effective. Savvy B2B marketers look outside the “conversion box”, understand their prospects’ search process, and optimize campaigns based on ROI (not just immediate conversions).
Tucked away in the Reporting and Tools section of your AdWords interface is information on Conversions and specifically, Search Funnels.
In general, search funnels provide insights into searcher (customer) behavior – over time. Funnels show you the keywords, ad groups and campaigns that assist in generating conversions.
Used correctly, these reports provide nuggets of information that help you manage bids and budgets more effectively, increase your overall ROI, and outsmart your competition.
As this screenshot shows, there are several different ways to view PPC conversion data and the searcher activity associated with it.
Understanding how prospects and customers search is critical to B2B marketers, especially those selling high-consideration, complex products and services. Business buyers engage in a research, comparison and buying process.
The Internet, search engines and your firm’s website play a critical role in a long-term, multi-channel sales process. For B2B firms with a complex sale – search funnels provide instrumental data on customers’ search behavior throughout the buying process.
If you’re new to search funnels, initially I recommend that you review these 3 reports:
First, familiarize yourself with the average path length. How many clicks are typically required before your prospect/customer converts online?
Searchers who are early in their buying process may not be ready to register for a white paper the first time they click on one of your PPC ads.
For example, you may find that the average prospect clicks on 3 ads before they are willing to “convert” and complete an online registration form.
Second, look at the Time Lag Report. This analysis will give you an idea of how long it takes prospects to convert.
Many consumer-oriented campaigns involve low-cost, spontaneous purchase decisions. For these types of campaigns, paths are short and time-to-conversion is quick.
However, for high-consideration business decisions, conversion usually involves multiple impressions/clicks and the time required to persuade a prospect to convert (even simply completing an online registration form) may take weeks or months.
Third, review the Assisted Conversions Report. This analysis will show you what prospects search for before they convert.
If multiple PPC impressions and clicks are required before the desired online action is taken, it’s very important to understand customers’ pre-conversion search process and adequately fund the keywords that support and enable conversions.
At this time, assist data is not included in the AdWords interface at the keyword level. B2B marketers must proactively utilize Search Funnel reports, review the data, and determine how to modify campaigns, budgets and bids based on their findings.
While digging into this data every day or even every week might take more time than you have, reviewing these 3 recommended reports once a month can provide significant insights into prospects’ behavior and enable you to more accurately set budgets and bids and optimize campaigns.
By default, Google provides a 30-day reporting window for search funnel reports – recording clicks, time-to-conversion, and assists only within the 30-day period prior to a recorded conversion.
This probably makes sense for most B2C, consumer-oriented PPC campaigns. However, according to a recent Marketing Sherpa report, only 10% of B2B firms surveyed have a sales cycle of less than 1 month, and many (36%) reported a cycle of over 7 months.
Based on your typical sales period, consider using the 60- or 90-day conversion history window to get a more accurate view of searcher behavior over time.
Specifically, look for keywords that assist conversions, but do not necessarily convert themselves. Without the benefit of the search funnel reports… you are likely under-funding these critical keywords (and your competitors are too).
In addition to your top converting keywords, focusing on words and phrases that assist with conversions can differentiate your PPC strategy and provide a strategic advantage.
In many industries, these less obvious words are much less expensive that the well known top converting words.
Nearly all B2B marketers focus on conversion activity presented in their PPC accounts. Today, this has become a baseline, “must-do” PPC optimization task.
To improve results and differentiate your PPC strategy, I recommend that (at least once a month) you capitalize on the insights provided by these 3 simple Search Funnel Reports.
Utilize search funnels to focus on overall ROI, not just immediate (last click) conversions.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.