7 Expert Tips for a Killer B2B Google Display Network Strategy

B2B, B2B marketing, google+, Paid Search, search marketing

June 3, 2013 by

Think the Google Display Network only makes sense for B2C campaigns? Think again.

In his popular OMI tutorial, How to Create a B2B Strategy for the Google Display Network,  Joe Kerschbaum, PPC wizard and Senior Client Strategist at PPC Associates, demonstrates how B2B marketers can effectively integrate the Google Display Network with their paid search strategy in order to generate leads and drive awareness.

Before you dive into launching your Display Network campaigns, read on. In this short interview, Joe shares why B2B marketers should advertise on the display network, the benefits of leveraging it, tips for getting started, and more.

1. Does the Google Display Network make sense for B2B marketers? Why?

Yes! The Google Display Network (GDN) makes very good sense for B2B marketers.

Here are a few statistics from a recent Demand Gen report, “2012 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey:” 67% of B2B buyers are using a wider variety of resources to research vendors & products; 55% say they spend more time researching purchases; 60% of buyers state that white papers and other authoritative content are extremely influential in the purchase process.

The data from this report is important, especially for the GDN, for a few reasons:

In general, B2B buyers are spending more time researching purchases online. This means that the GDN is a perfect match for this mindset. On the GDN advertisers can place ads alongside content that is relevant and timely for their products. Also, the purchase intent of B2B buys is a great match for the GDN. When many B2B buyers are conducting research, they aren’t in the mode to purchase yet. They are still in the research mode. We have found that softer conversion actions such as whitepapers, case studies, free trials and free demos work great on the GDN. So, the mindset of a B2B buyer is focused on research and hunting great content – and the by placing ads through the GDN, advertisers can get in front of the right people at the right time with the right conversion action.

2. What kind of results have your B2B clients achieved on the Google Display network?

We’ve seen very positive results for our B2B clients on the GDN. We have worked with clients in various verticals who offer a wide array of products and services that appeal to disparate audiences. But we’re usually able to find the best niche for each client and service. On average, admittedly, conversion rates on the GDN tend to be lower than the Search Network. This only makes sense because when someone is searching for specifically for a product/service you offer, they are more likely to convert. On the GDN, the user intention is very different.  A visitor on the GDN may be thinking of your product/service by conducting research and reading content related to your offering – but they aren’t in, “action mode.” However, on the flip side, the cost-per-click (CPC) on the GDN tends to be lower than Search. So the cost-per-acquisition should balance out and the ROI should be positive.

3. Is the Google Display Network better for driving leads, awareness, or both?

We’ve done very well with lead-based conversion actions on the GDN too. As I mentioned in the previous question; information-based conversion actions do well on the GDN. Also, we have had success with eCommerce in the B2B space via the GDN. Ecommerce can be a bit more challenging due to the user intention on the GDN but it’s not impossible.

For businesses with longer sales cycles, the GDN can be a very powerful tool for generating and maintaining awareness. You can utilize Remarketing in order to deliver supporting content to prospects as they wade through a longer purchase process. Usually we utilize the GDN a direct response channel (generating leads) but we do use this channel for B2B clients that have extended sales cycles.

4. If a B2B marketer is just starting out with a paid search campaign, should they add the Display Network, or just focus on advertising on the Google search results page? What do you suggest?

If an advertiser is new to paid search, I suggest they focus on the Search Network first. They should establish a solid campaign structure that is generating a positive ROI and then they can focus on the GDN. This will allow advertisers to focus on just one channel at a time. Both Search and GDN channels are extremely complex and they require varying optimization skill sets. Sure, you can run both channels through Google AdWords and they may look the same within that interface, but in reality they are extremely different. Advertisers shouldn’t launch GDN campaigns until they are knowledgeable how each targeting option works, the best reports to run, and the optimization techniques that help achieve an acceptable ROI as quickly as possible.

5. What are some common mistakes you see B2B marketers make when advertising on the Google Display Network?

There is great potential to gain awesome results on the GDN; but there is also the potential to generate a lot of traffic without a positive ROI. There are two main culprits for poor results on the GDN: unfocused campaign structure and inefficient optimization. Here is a quick list of mistakes I commonly see on the GDN:

  • Not segmenting targeting options
  • Not separating mobile devices
  • Not adjusting for time-of-day
  • Not excluding under-performing elements
  • Not adhering to text/image best practices
  • Not rotating ads frequently
  • Not utilizing impression cap
  • Not testing auto-optimization tools

6. Are there any Google Display Network targeting options that you recommend for B2B marketers?

I suggest trying them all! However, if someone is new to the GDN, they should get their feet wet with Remarketing. That tends to have the best traffic quality and the best conversion rates. From there, new advertisers should experiment with keyword (contextual targeting) and some placement targeting.

7. Should Google Display Network campaigns always be run in conjunction with regular paid search?

Yes! The two channels should complement each other.

Learn how to generate leads and drive awareness the Google Display network.

Watch How to Create a B2B Strategy for the Google Display Networkand get step-by-step instructions on launching and optimizing your B2B Google Display Network Strategy. Learn how to write ads for the Google Display Network that will attract clicks and leads how to structure your listening program, how to utilize the various targeting functions within Google AdWords for optimal Display Network distribution, how to generate demand for a little-known or freshly-launched B2B product or service, and more. Activate trial now.


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