Digital is key to any marketing strategy; the Business-to-Business industry is no exception. Google’s latest research states that on average “B2B customers now go 57% of the way towards purchase without calling a vendor” and that IT decision makers will only consume specific content that is relevant to them during the research phase. This means that B2B advertisers must connect with the consumer from the beginning to the end of the purchase journey. This highlights how important it is for a brand to be present on Google paid search results pages (SERP) as most research begins online with the media giants.
B2B clients are predominantly lead-focused; they tend to rely on reputable publishers targeting a specific audience and as such can deliver effective leads. By defining an ideal specification (job title, number of employees etc.) key assets can be pushed resulting in qualified leads. Under this strategy, paid search can be seen as underperforming compared to a pure lead gen program. Indeed, you can’t tell Google whether they ought to display or not display an ad – the search query will direct and determine the outcome, this means that if Google judges your keywords relevant, then your ad will be present in search results.
Advertisers should see Paid Search as a vital part of their online strategy – this channel captures traffic when people are looking for a specific product or service – when in research mode customers leisurely consume content whilst making their decisions – especially those on their mobiles devices. The result of TV campaigns also influences, for example, prospects will research the product further on Google to gain more insight.
Then come the following important questions: how can we measure effectiveness of a B2B campaign on Adwords? What is the benchmark? How can we make sure we are efficient and does this program gain quality leads?
Firstly, I would recommend giving up direct comparisons with any pure lead generation program. It’s not an apple to apple comparison. Both programs have their own goals and as such each has it’s own merits.
Secondly, study the KPIs from each and every angle and look at two other metrics:
- The first metric (total qualified leads / total leads brought from Google Adwords) – this will give you a percentage of success and an improved KPI target for future campaigns. The higher the ratio, the more accurate the relevance.
- Secondly, share of voice (number of times your ad appears on the SERP vs. number of times it could have appeared) – as we optimise campaigns, we become better at selecting keywords to target and expand upon and should be able to capture more share of voice.
I believe that, by applying these two KPIs to a B2B campaign, a good estimation of success can be achieved.
Good luck planning your B2B online strategy!