Search or display advertising for B2B [video]

Should you use search or display ads for B2B? And what should the landing page offer? Should you follow up with telemarketing or an email sequence? We’re going to answer those questions in this blog.


So, should you use search or display ads for B2B? You probably already know I’m going to say “it depends”. But I’m not going to duck the question. It depends on only one thing, and it’s easy to get your head around this topic. I’ll show you how to think about it, then what you should be doing with keywords, landing page and follow ups depending on that one thing.

Search or Display?

Using Search or Display ads all depend on if they are looking for a product already or not. If they are, you should have an ad or some copy in the search engine ranking page (SERP), because that’s where they are headed.

But there’s a small twist.

Are they looking for a product or just an idea? That is, how far along in the buyer’s journey are they? If they’re only early, they will be searching for ideas to help them work out what they need and who’s in the space. If they’re past that and are looking for a solution, then they’ll use phrases closer to what they think they need. So what you say on the landing page and the follow-up process should reflect that.

But what if they aren’t looking? That’s where display ads come in. These are ads you’ll place on websites with a little help from Google, or in social media via that social media platform (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube). And with display ads, you have a host of options.

You can offer display ads to many audiences, a few examples below:

  • Demographics (e.g. size of company & industry) [LinkedIn does this well]
  • Custom email lists (customers &/or prospects)
  • Website visitors (retargeting)
  • Video viewers (YouTube and Facebook)
  • Lookalikes for all of those (taking the above lists and broadening it to find people who ‘look a lot like’ your source list – whether in demographics or interests)

Your landing pages that connect from your ads then make an offer that makes the best sense:

  • An asset if they are early in their journey (not ready to buy just yet)
  • A follow-up call or consultation if they are later in their journey (very close to buying)

So, when should you use display ads, and when should you use search ads?

Use paid search if people are looking for a product like yours

What you should keep in mind:

  • Be willing to pay – these keywords will be competitive, and will likely cos you more per click
  • Product-oriented keywords (terms like ‘marketing plan’)
  • Make sure your landing page leads to a sale or a discussion
  • Follow up quickly – these leads will be hot!

Use organic search for people who are looking for ideas

What you should keep in mind:

  • Because their early on their journey, you’re probably going to be unlikely to be afford paid search for this audience (Remarketing is an affordable exception)
  • Use ‘problem’ or ‘need’ oriented keywords (terms like ‘marketing skills’ or ‘how to be a good marketer’)
  • Lead to an asset (eBook, video, calculator) on the landing page
  • Make use of an automated email trigger campaign that nurtures your audience until they are ready to buy

Use display advertising for if they are not looking

What you should keep in mind:

  • Focus on eye-catching imagery with concentration on branding
  • Pin down the demographics of your ideal target – location, industry, job title, interests
  • Or use lists of existing customers or prospects for specific targeting
  • Retargeting gets you in front of people who’ve already been to your website
  • Lookalikes for all three – your ad platform will try to figure out what the members of your list have in common, and then target others outside your list who fit that ‘criteria’ allowing you target even more prospects with your display ads

Have a look at Best B2B advertising tactics to understand priorities. In that blog, I’ve explained when to use which tactic, and in what order, for B2B.


Great ads, but then what?

  • In your Funnel Plan, map out the buyer’s journey
  • Choose tactics for every stage from finding names to closing deals
  • Remember, sales and marketing alignment is key, so design both the strategy and the tactics together – Sales, Marketing, Finance and Ops
  • Don’t have a Funnel Plan? Get a free one at funnelplan.com.

funnel-plan-sales-and-marketing-planning-tool

Lots more lined up for next week. Until then, may your funnel be full, and always flowing.

Our thanks to:

  • You for reading this week’s blog
  • Taess Sivalingam and Lisbeth Peña for blog production
  • John Ang for video production
  • Hugh Macfarlane for scripting and presenting this week’s show