As a B2B search marketing agency, one of the first things most clients ask us about our services is, “What...
Today, we’re going to talk about B2B advertising insights for your funnel.
Learn/retain more by reading? We got you. Here’s the video above in blog format. You’re welcome.
As B2B marketers and advertisers, we tend to be focused solely on one part of the funnel. So, today we’re going to discuss:
- The importance of different areas of the funnel
- Strategies we’ve seen work/not work
- What those strategies work for
- Techniques that we can do today to help make sure you generate leads tomorrow
Let’s dive in.
B2B Advertising: Top of the Funnel
As B2B marketers, we have a lot of fun thinking about the top of the funnel. At Directive, a number of people have come to us and asked:
“Hey, we have this *whitepaper/dataset/guide* and we’d love to promote it on LinkedIn. Could you guys do that for us?”
And the answer I always give them is:
“Yes! We’d love to do that for you and we can do it very well on LinkedIn — But what’s your business case for doing that?”
We ask this because our data shows that just because you’re driving a great conversion rate from LinkedIn, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those conversions are turning into opportunities.
We consider 40% to be a great conversion rate. This means that 40% of the people who see your ad on LinkedIn, go to your landing page, and download your asset. With that said, I think we can agree that 40% is what most of us desire.
As B2B advertisers, we have to be aware of how we’re grading success for each channel. In other words, LinkedIn might get you amazing downloads at the top of the funnel — but unfortunately, they probably won’t turn into opportunities within the same timeframe as other channels.
When we’re thinking of the top of the funnel, we have to be aware of what we’re doing and use different metrics to compare it to the bottom of the funnel. We shouldn’t point all marketing tactics against one universal metric and think that they all have the same values.
For example: You have a great LinkedIn campaign that’s driving brand awareness, shares, and other metrics — like pay-per-click ads from Google — up. You look at both channels and say:
“Which one is generating more opportunities? If one isn’t generating at least 10 opportunities a month at this cost per opportunity, then we’re going to shut it off!”
The problem with that is sometimes the top of the funnel campaign is really supporting the bottom of the funnel campaign — so with that in mind, you might not want to shut either of them off because they shouldn’t be judged on the same metrics.
As B2B advertisers, we should judge our top of the funnel campaigns by a different set of metrics than those of our bottom of the funnel campaigns. This means that you should be comparing all of your top of the funnel channels, like:
- YouTube ads
- Google Display ads
- Facebook ads
- LinkedIn ads
- Twitter ads
— against the same set of metrics. Because — like in our example — LinkedIn was made for a different purpose for B2B advertising than Google Search ads were. It’s important that we recognize these differences, appreciate the different channels and the stages of the funnel for what they are.
B2B Advertising: Bottom of the Funnel
At Directive Consulting, we focus almost all of our efforts exclusively on bottom of the funnel campaigns. As an agency and a third party, we like to directly correlate ourselves to opportunities created. We’ve found that clients find us more valuable and are more likely to retain us if our efforts are always correlated to:
- Leads going into their pipeline
- Opportunities being created
- Deals being closed
- Revenue being generated
A lot of B2B companies still haven’t started to appreciate the bottom of the funnel for what they should. These companies are very willing to invest in:
The problem is, every time you do a top of the funnel campaign, you need to improve the bottom of the funnel as well. Remember, you are generating demand not only for your company but for all companies/competitors that sell or offer solutions similar to yours.
For example: If you’re running radio ads for why you should be using ZipRecruiter as a business to hire, you are also advertising for people to think:
“Oh my gosh, there is a software out there for HR that can distribute job postings to all the different job boards!”
What happens if you’re running all these radio and podcast ads — yet when people search for HR software, ZipRecruiter still isn’t showing up? This means that you’re not capturing your top of the funnel investment.
If you’re using different metrics for the top of the funnel, like:
- Brand impressions
- Time on site
And then, bottom of the funnel metrics, like:
— then you’re forgetting about capturing the demand that you’re creating.
It’s critical, as B2B advertisers, that at the top of the funnel, we have our demand generation campaigns with their own metrics and at the bottom of the funnel, we have our lead generation campaigns with their own metrics. It’s absolutely critical that we’re doing both.
At Directive, we invest in conferences, sponsor podcasts, and we do paid social — but we don’t expect all of those things to directly correlate to new opportunities at the same rate that our SEO, search ads, and paid lists do.
“Paid lists and Share of SERP“ — you’ve probably heard me talk about them before if you’ve been watching our previous episodes. They come in all shapes and sizes. We invest heavily in them, here at Directive, on sites like:
Some of them are paid, some are natural that you earn, but we always want to show up on there. The reason why is because, on these lists, Google has started to prioritize them ranking at the bottom of the funnel. If you search “top ERP software“, I can almost guarantee you that the top 10 results are all paid lists in some way, shape, or form. You could also search “best ERP software“ or “ERP software reviews“.
These keywords are the most expensive for you to advertise on with search ads because they’re at the very bottom of the funnel and they’re expressing buyer intent. It’s critical that you show up in these areas.
Remember: Search ads have a higher cost-per-click and an average of 2% to 5% click-through rate. Comparably, you could do paid lists which rank in the top 3 for your bottom of the funnel keywords. They can generate a 30% click-through rate at the first position, around 20% at the second, and 15% at the third.
In other words, you can 3x, 4x, or even 6x your volume of people going to your landing page from paid lists compared to that of search ads. This is critical to keep into consideration.
You really need to start making sure that you’re on these paid lists, you’re active there, and that you’re capturing all the demand that you’re generating at the top of the funnel.
B2B Advertising Insights For Your Funnel: The Take-Away
Your top of the funnel campaigns are critical to:
- Your brand awareness
- Generating demand for your product or services,
- Help build your brand
You need different metrics to judge those campaigns by than those at the bottom of the funnel so that you keep actually doing your top-of-funnel campaigns. If you look at it the same as your AdWords, usually the cost per opportunity is far higher. They aren’t meant for the same reasons. They’re not direct-response campaigns.
At the bottom of the funnel, it’s critical that we:
- Have our search ads for our most valuable keywords
- Have great content that’s ranking organically
- Show up on these third-party sites and paid lists
Paid lists have 30% click-through rates if they rank number one for your keyword, while your search ad is going to have 2%-5% click-through rate. If you want to 6x your lead volume, start to think outside of your own website in search ads and look at what paid lists rank for keywords that you care about.
We hope that, you’ve enjoyed this post on B2B advertising, learned some insights on why you should appreciate the different stages of the funnel, and why it’s important to compare each to their own set of metrics.
Feel free to leave a comment below with any questions or insight of what you’ve learned/tested from your funnel. As always, please subscribe and have a great day!