Effective PPC Strategies for B2B Tech

By Yeager Marketing

In 2019 companies spent $106.5 billion on search advertising globally, with 92.96% of the search market going to Google, according to Statcounter. The statistics below show why 77% of marketers plan to increase their Google Ads spend in the coming year.

Google Search Ads Average CTR, CPC, Conversion Rates, and ROI

Paid Google search advertising returns $2 for every $1 spent – a 200% ROI

Users who click Google Search Ads are 50% more likely to make a purchase than those who arrive through organic results

Search ads increase brand awareness by as much as 80%

Challenges and Strategies for B2B Tech Marketers

Paid search advertising has a great deal of potential for B2B technology companies, but it’s not without its challenges. The B2B audience is smaller than the B2C audience, making search volumes lower and competition for searchers tougher. Here are a few challenges frequently encountered with paid search along with ways to minimize or eliminate them altogether.

Crafting the Right Strategy

An effective PPC strategy requires time, effort, and expertise, but strategy makes all the difference. The first step in the planning phase is pinpointing the targeted audience—who your audience is and where they are in the buying cycle–and determining the goals of the paid search effort. Whether it’s leads, sales, or conversions, the campaign goal should align with and support the organization’s overall marketing strategy.

The next step is diving into who your competitors are and the keywords they’re using. Depending on how many competitors are in market, it may make sense to prioritize them rather than try to outrank all of them all at once. Don’t assume competitors cornered the market on all the best keywords; use keyword tools to see if there are high-value terms other marketers are neglecting (niche B2B acronyms and model numbers are often overlooked). And be careful to not cast too wide a net. As mentioned above, the B2B audiences are smaller and more focused than a B2C audience, so make sure to fish where the fish are.

Once the audience, goals, and keywords are identified and agreed upon it’s time to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and plug the goals into Google Analytics to track the KPIs.

Finally, determine the budget allocation based on the desired keywords, the estimated CPC cost, and the potential impressions and clicks anticipated. Once the campaign launches, Google’s algorithm will monitor it for two to three weeks. During this time the search engine is learning your keywords, keyword match types, and bidding to determine how you compare to others competing within the same auction. From that point on, continue to optimize based on relevant metrics such as impression share, CPCs, CTRs, CPAs, conversion rate, and ROI to stay competitive within the auction.

Containing Costs

Because there’s so much competition for B2B keywords, costs can spiral out of control. Focusing on tightly-themed ad groups to ensure maximum return on spend, and sticking to a smart keyword strategy, are effective ways to combat cost overruns while remaining competitive. Make sure long-tail keywords are part of the planning stage, too. Long-tail keywords are typically three or four words specific to a particular market segment and may cost less—and perform better—than standalone keywords.

Staying Competitive

The PPC game isn’t easy in high competition niche markets, but there are ways to improve paid ad performance.

  • Tightly-Themed Ad Groups: Establish very specific themes and sub-themes for ad groups and use multiple, closely related keywords (we recommend 10-15) for ads. Tightly-themed ad groups make it easier to optimize performance as a campaign progresses.
  • Negative Keyword Strategy: How do you prevent an ad from displaying to non-interested users? Negative keywords. A robust negative keyword list will reduce irrelevant traffic, save budget, and boost CTRs while dropping CPCs.
  • Keyword Match Types: Keyword match types help control which searches on Google trigger an ad. Broad match and Broad match Modifiers show an ad to a wide audience. Alternately, Phrase and Exact matches are recommended for advertisers trying to get their ads in front of customers using specific keywords and phrases.
  • Cater Offers, CTAs to Audience: Identifying who the target customers are, and where they are in the buying process is part of the planning process. Make sure the creative—CTA, offers, landing page—used is geared to them.
  • Multi-Layered Targeting: Go beyond the obvious with target segments and cross-reference demographic, geographic, behavioral, and psychographic data to find less obvious segments and deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.
  • Monitor, Optimize Search Impression Share (SIS): A high SIS is based on targeting, approval status, bids, budget, and quality score, and tells Google an advertiser’s online ads have higher relevance and quality. This increases how often ads are eligible to be displayed in the auction and also potentially lowers CPC.

Play the Long Game

B2B sales cycles are longer than the B2C sales cycles, so it’s critical to monitor your site and analytics and optimize as data becomes available. Visitors aren’t necessarily going to hit a “Buy Now” button for high-dollar technology products and services. It’s important that you build a retargeting campaign into your digital advertising programs to stay in front of the customer with high-value, relevant content, and offers throughout the buyer journey. As you continue to promote, your contacts will return to your site for more information. Be sure to build dedicated landing pages with forms to capture email addresses and build a nurture campaign with other engagement opportunities to accompany the paid search campaign.

Pay-per-click advertising is more complex for B2B than B2C, but with the right approach, it’s both effective and efficient. For maximum effectiveness, it’s best to rely on PPC experts to guide targeting, keywords, and ad development. If your organization doesn’t have the luxury of in-house PPC expertise—few do—contact Yeager Marketing for a free digital audit. We bring extensive pay-per-click experience to B2B tech marketers and can craft your next campaign based on your unique business needs. Learn more.