Search advertising campaigns on Google and (sometimes) Bing let you put targeted messages in front of users who’ve expressed interest in a topic. But before you throw money at a network, you need to answer these seven questions about B2B PPC.
Top-line, B2B PPC is an advertising format where brands pay a search engine to show a specific message when someone looks for a term. Typically, the advertiser only pays when someone clicks their ad – hence “pay per click,” or PPC. In exchange, Google gives you priority placement over organic results earned from SEO (usually the top two or three placements).
Sounds simple enough, but there’s actually a lot more to it than you might expect. Here are the top questions companies ask us about B2B PPC.
7 Questions About B2B PPC
#1: How do you maintain scent in your paid search funnel?
Before we answer this question – what even is “scent?”
Ad scent is the consistency between your B2B PPC ad and the landing page it sends you to when people actually click on it.
The idea is having a seamless transition from ad to landing page. Users should get exactly what the ad promises. Otherwise, you risk losing their interest.
Okay, so how do you maintain this scent?
Single keyword ad groups (SKAGs) are critical here. In today’s world of rapid inputs and dwindling attention spans, even the slightest disconnect between ad creative, landing pages and follow-up can drive a buyer to turn elsewhere.
SKAGs and dedicated landing pages for display and native advertising let you maintain consistency in imagery, language, offers and perceived benefits.
#2. How should you measure drop-off rates in a paid search funnel?
We look at drop-off rates as multiple levels of attrition. They begin with the impression share or win rate, then flow into click-through rate, conversion rate, MQL-SQL conversion rate, and ultimately revenue and renewal.
An issue at any stage has significant downstream effects. Taken holistically, this can be daunting. But breaking the funnel up into its constituent parts allows you to rapidly identify potential problem spots and proactively solve issues.
#3. What are the most important elements of paid search?
There’s a lot to B2B PPC. But generally, these are the most important elements, in order:
- Keywords: The terms users search for on Google.
- Landing pages: Where the user ends up after clicking on an ad.
- Quality score: A metric that combines how well an ad and a landing page match the intent of the searcher—part of the equation that influences your ad rank.
- Ad copy: The headline and descriptive text of the ad that you write to persuade people to click on your ad.
- Data analysis: Keeping a close eye on the performance of your B2B PPC campaigns to optimize over time (and not blow your budget).
- Bidding: The maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend on each click on an ad.
- Match-types: Exact, phrase, broad and modified broad match are different ways you can bid on a set of keywords.
- Negative keywords: Keywords that tell Google not to show your ad when a search query includes a word or phrase.
In technical B2B sales, keywords always come first. There are two reasons for this.
1. The need to avoid junk clicks from consumers.
For example, in the field of healthcare identity verification: Consumers hoping to get their identity verified for a credit card or new job are a constant nuisance.
2. The big bidders driving up huge swaths of keywords with broad matches on general terms.
Our clients often sell to subsets of industries; meeting buyers where they are with resonant language is critical.
#4. How do you approach keyword research?
Keyword research begins with understanding the audience’s drivers and language.
Once you have that in hand, turn to technology like Semrush, Google Keyword Planner and Keywords Everywhere to gain an understanding of volume, competition and likely cost per click (CPC). This lets you build a set of bid targets that align both with user intent and your budget.
#5. How do you optimize paid search campaigns?
You should approach B2B PPC optimization on a regular basis.
Focus on campaigns’ real-world performance. In particular, look at the terms users are entering to trigger your ads.
This lets you rapidly negative out bad traffic and adjust creative to more closely align with audience behavior. Bids and budget allocation should also be adjusted as applicable.
#6. How do you spot winning and losing ads, keywords, ad groups and campaigns?
Every campaign is different, but the core metric you should be concerned about here is CPA: cost per acquisition.
We work with CPA goals on every level – from the account through campaigns and SKAGs.
Additionally, attention needs to be paid to quality score, impression share, CTR and conversion rate.
Ideally, every ad delivers a 10/10 QS, excellent impression share and a high CR. In reality, each level requires constant tweaking and tuning to maximize ROAS and performance.
#7. What analytics platforms are best to use for optimization?
Ninety-nine percent of the time, you’re going to rely on Google Analytics. It’s free, powerful and industry-standard.
WordStream provides deep insights into Google Ads, Bing and Facebook performance.
Other CRMs and marketing automation tools that you might have will offer their own flavor of user and cohort analytics.
When heatmapping is required – relatively rarely – we typically turn to Hotjar.
Conclusion: B2B PPC Questions
Paid search is one essential piece of the integrated marketing puzzle, and there’s a lot more to it than you might have originally thought. Hopefully with these questions answered you feel ready to get started with paid search advertising – but let us know if you need help. We do this stuff for B2B clients just like you all the time.