While search engine optimization is still one of the most important disciplines to master, pay-per-click advertising is equally essential as a skill.
No matter if a brand is looking to attract B2B or B2C prospects, PPC is one of the most effective means of achieving this goal. That said, there is a vast chasm that separates the tactics employed for optimizing each type of campaign.
Understanding these differences, as well as the necessary PPC audience targeting strategies, is what will enable sellers to reach the right consumers.
To help delineate the necessary knowledge around the differences in B2B and B2C advertisements, today, we will explore the disparities, similarities and relevant tactics for using PPC ads to connect with buyers on both ends of the spectrum.
When initiating an advertising campaign, one of the primary considerations is how to reach the right consumers. After all, if a brand is selling homeowner’s insurance, targeting those in the 18-24 age bracket is likely to produce paltry results.
Take a look at the targeting categories in Google Ads:
Speaking to B2B advertisers, a prime tactic for ensuring that the right individuals are reached is to use social media ads to target by company position. Instead of targeting users by their age or interests as a B2C campaign might, a better route would be to target users based on their job title or industry via LinkedIn or Facebook.
However, where some overlap exists is that utilizing features like Lookalike Audiences can help both B2B and B2C brands find new users who are potentially interested in what the company offers.
No matter if targeting the average consumer or business leaders, brands should create buyer personas to better understand who they are trying to reach.
Here is an example buyer persona from Buffer:
Consider the clock
Another of the main differences in B2B and B2C advertising is that B2C sellers are trying to gain purchases as quickly as possible. However, with B2B, advertisers are attempting to generate business leads and ensure their product is considered in the prolonged purchase cycle.
To achieve this goal, brands must consider the timing of their ads.
In B2B advertising, businesses are trying to reach the key players within a company, those who make decisions or are closely connected to those with such power. This means that running ads within the nine-to-five timeframe is critical as this is when these individuals are actively engaged and show the highest intent to click-through.
While B2C consumers can potentially be targeted around the clock, the same is not true for B2B prospects. Instead, ads intended to reach business prospects should only run during business hours, not only for the aforementioned reason but also because this will help to conserve the business’s PPC budget.
Given this framework, brands should employ ad scheduling and bid modifications to alter bids for certain days of the week (Monday through Friday) and times of the day. For example, if advertisers notice that they receive the highest amount of click-throughs on Tuesday mornings, it is wise to increase the cost-per-click during this window.
To do this in Google Ads simply go to Ad schedule and click Bid adjustment for whichever time frame you want to increase or decrease:
While some sellers might feel equipped to manage such tasks, most will see more benefit from partnering with an e-commerce PPC management firm that can maximize potential impressions, clicks and conversions.
Much like targeting and timing, there are substantial differences in how advertisers will speak to B2B and B2C audiences.
The fact is that B2B buyers want to engage with brands that have evident expertise and knowledge of a given industry. This means that advertisers must showcase their acumen through relevant terminology, awareness of processes and similar traits that prospects will be interested in seeing.
For instance, if a CRM software provider is looking to reel in new users, but utilizes fluffy, emotionally-driven copy to do so, there is a significant chance that they will not engage the folks they are truly after. Instead, it is necessary to build confidence in potential users with more formal, fact-based messaging that has clear implications of how a product can improve business performance.
Take a look at how Intel communicates with its audience:
However, the exact inverse is true for B2C ads. When targeting average consumers, brands are wise to employ the most relatable voice possible by utilizing straightforward language that mirrors the audience. There is little to no place for jargon in B2C advertising.
Contrary to Intel, Gerber Childrenwear’s audience of mainly parents would appreciate copy like this:
Moreover, B2C ads should trigger emotions in consumers. Neil Patel speaks to this point, writing: “An analysis of 1,400 successful ad campaign case studies found that campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31 percent vs. 16 percent) as those with only rational content.”
This is a crucial dichotomy to recognize when producing B2B and B2C ads.
Negative keyword distinctions
In addition to targeting the audience on their proper characteristics, both B2C and B2B advertisers must understand what elements to exclude in order to reach the most relevant consumers.
The fact is that negative keywords are extremely helpful in weeding out irrelevant searches that eat up advertisers’ budgets. Naturally, the keywords and negative keywords that sellers employ are highly dependent on their specific industry and niche; however, there are some through lines that can be established for both B2B and B2C advertising efforts.
For instance, B2B brands offering a technological solution might want to exclude phrases that are commonly paired with the term “technology” such as:
Similarly, B2C retailers who sell new products can also immediately disqualify specific words and phrases that are not applicable to their efforts, such as:
To do this in Google Ads go to Keywords and click Negative Keywords
However, to get to the core of which terms a business should add to their negative keyword lists, it is best to consult Google’s search term report to uncover phrases that drive impressions and clicks but are wholly irrelevant or fail to convert.
Despite all the differences between B2B and B2C advertising methodologies, there are some commonalities that the two marketing efforts share.
While B2B and B2C ads can be quite different, there are some core components to each that remain the same.
For instance, no matter which type of audience is the target, it is necessary for advertisers to conduct in-depth keyword research to understand which terms and phrases will reach their customers.
Similarly, when advertising through Google, relevance is a significant component of campaign success. Therefore, utilizing compelling landing pages that closely match the ad’s offer is necessary for both B2B and B2C spaces. When there is congruence between an ad and its destination, campaigns will earn a higher quality score.
Moreover, given that consumers are prone to shopping cart abandonment and that B2B customers require a more extended courting period than other types of consumers, developing a retargeting strategy is also a fundamental aspect of campaign success shared across B2B and B2C efforts.
Bagsy decided to utilize Facebook for their retargeting efforts:
While there are plenty of differences between targeting everyday consumers and business prospects, when it comes right down to it, PPC best practices remain intact no matter who is being targeted.
No matter if ads are used in the B2B or B2C realm, it is vital for advertisers to understand the audiences to which they speak. This means that developing buyer personas and conducting market research are key elements for promoting the awareness needed to employ the right language, messaging, targeting tactics and other vital PPC campaign components.
Once this crucial piece of information has been procured, use the strategies outlined above to help your ad campaign reach and resonate with its respective buyers.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
About The Author
Ronald Dod is the chief marketing officer and co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end e-commerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
9 Local Search Developments You Need to Know About from Q3 2022
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
Did Q1 and Q2 whip past you? They did for me, but the pace of life often seems to slow down a little in autumn, and I hope you’ll join me for a relaxed and studious look at interesting local search marketing developments from the third quarter of 2022.
1) A small harvest of review-related changes
I’m grouping four different review-related developments under this heading. First, Joy Hawkins spotted a change to Google’s guidelines on prohibited and restricted content. As I’ve covered here exhaustively in my Moz column, there are lots of things a business can do to rectify a complaint in hopes of seeing an unhappy customer update their negative review to reflect an improved experience, but outright incentivization of negative review removal has now been declared out-of-bounds by Google.
Second and rather related, Greg Gifford captured a good stat from Aaron Weiche’s LocalU presentation that I’d not heard before: over ⅓ of negative experiences referenced in reviews mention communication problems. This means that you not only need to have your local business listings up-to-snuff with ongoing management of the accuracy of your contact info, but that all of your communications technologies (texting, live chat, phone, etc.) must be responsive!
Thirdly, Barry Schwartz spotted early testing of a Find Places Through Reviews feature in July, but as of September, I have still not been able to replicate this interesting result, which is a further indication of Google’s continuous experimentation in the review space.
Finally, another tip from the inimitable Hawkins as tweeted by Brandon Schmidt: longer reviews tend to remain higher up in your Google review corpus for a longer time. The problem with this is that lengthier reviews are commonly negative, with unhappy customers taking the time to wax poetic about their complaints. Take some time to consider whether you can finesse your review requests so that your delighted customers are inspired to leave more voluble reviews.
2) HCU near you
It’s my belief that local businesses which have already made a habit of publishing content that thoughtfully serves their specific customers should come out well in the much-talked-about Helpful Content Update, which finished rolling out on September 9th. While many SEOs are trying to ascertain which changes can rightfully be attributed to the update, our friends at NearMediaCo are having interesting discussions about whether the HCU is, in fact, part of Google’s response to the rise of TikTok as a vehicle for search. As Greg Sterling notes,
“Right now the most influential internet company is arguably TikTok. Google’s HCU appears to be partly a response to the popularity of the site and its much-touted “authenticity.”
Local SEOs and their clients cannot have failed to notice how many Google searches (including local searches) return low-quality results made up of optimized filler rather than human-worthy help. While the search engines and social sites play ball over who will win the authenticity trophy, my best advice to independent local businesses is to be sure that everything on your website is a proudly-published source of information for your community.
3) Beyond content: communication
There may be times when I’m willing to wander about in the Google maze or the morass of site search hoping for an answer to a complex query, but usually, I don’t have the patience and want to be able to ask a business directly, “Do you have size 8, man-made, furry boots, with fluffy linings, but not from this brand, and only from this brand, and can you deliver them to my house, and can you do that contactlessly, and is there a surcharge for that?” Local businesses can certainly publish content to cover all of these bases, but bless the brand that makes it easy for me to have a conversation with a human being.
Brandon Schmidt did us the favor of photographing Aaron Weiche’s recent presentation on this topic. Ahead of the holidays, be sure your texting, live chat, and phone staff is ready with all the answers via highly visible numbers and links (and my boots!).
4) Toggle to hide your address
Barry Schwartz highlighted Stefan Somborac’s screenshot of a new toggle feature in search and Maps that is meant to make it easier for business owners to hide the address on their Google Business Profile. The hidden address drama is one of the longest-running plots in the soap opera that is the Guidelines for representing your business on Google. I would personally like to see this character written out of the script in favor of businesses having the say in whether they want their exact location to be visible on their listings. I’ve never understood Google’s logic for requiring SABs to obscure their locations; living in an old house as I do, I’ve had too many opportunities of needing to know which 24-hour plumber is actually nearest to me.
5) Linked FAQs in Google Messaging
This might be one of the most exciting developments of the third quarter and we again have Stefan Somborac to thank for noticing it first. You can now populate Google Messaging with up to 10 FAQs with questions of up to 40 characters and answers of up to 500 characters and your answers can include links! While I’m not personally fond of automated consumer-brand communications, I can see a good use of this for answering really common questions about hours of operation, premise accessibility, or the availability of top brands in your inventory.
6) Filter local packs by days of the week
Google has long offered searchers the ability to filter packs by hours of the day, but Shameem Adhikarath realized that, at some point, the ability to filter results by specific days of the week was added. When a customer wants to know on Monday which are the best restaurants that are open on Saturday, a little feature like this makes sense. Word to the wise: be sure your hours of operation are always up-to-date on your listings!
7) Evaluate the role local SEO should play in property hunting
Elizabeth Rule brought us this screenshot of Andy Simpson’s LocalU presentation in which he reminded local SEOs that our concerns are not the only ones that should be involved when a client moves or opens a new branch. While I’m sorry to have missed Andy’s full presentation, I can see the sense of it, just from this slide. So many of the goodies of reputation and profit will flow naturally when other factors like the location, convenience, and size of a new locale are properly considered, so definitely weigh in with local SEO recommendations during times of change, but prepare to be in a queue of many priorities.
8) Maps Photo Pins exist, but have you seen them yet?
Our honored colleagues at BrightLocal captured a version of Maps-based photo pins in September that is different than the ones reported by Barry Schwartz back in July as spotted by Vishal Sharma. These latest examples are round instead of square. I have not been able to replicate this test with similar search terms from my location in the US, and so I have no way of sussing out what the source of these images is or how to nudge Google into giving a business pin like this. For now, keep adding photos and keep checking Maps for this intriguing feature.
9) Be the winner next-door next year?
Nextdoor users voted many local and ten national businesses as their favorites this past August, and the winners have received press, badges and $500 ad credits. It’s definitely a platform worth getting listed on, and home service providers came out especially well in the contest. Nextdoor highlighted how showing up on time for appointments, providing excellent service, offering specialty goods and services, and earning recommendations from neighbors all contributed to winners’ successes. Sounds like good advice to take with you into the fourth and final quarter of 2022!
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