B2B Ad Basics: 4 Examples of Powerful B2B Ads

If you’re a B2B marketer looking to improve your B2B ad performance there are 4 basic types of B2B ads that are must-haves in your arsenal.

While running an ad search via Moat will show you thousands of ad variations, at the end of the day all B2B ads can be categorized into these 4 basic ad categories. Here are 4 B2B ad examples you should definitely be running and the key reasons why:

 

Note: Click on the B2B ads to view the content they link to

 

Air Cover B2B ads

Sometimes referred to as brand awareness ads, these types of ads are really an introduction to your company. It has been shown that on average it takes 5 interactions with your brand to make get a B2B meeting.

Buyers have a tendency to buy brands that they have already seen. One B2B advertising strategy you can use to help speed up the process of getting buyers familiar with your brand is to run some basic B2B ads where the focus of the ad is your company name or product.

The goal of these ads is to set someone up to say, “O yeah, I’ve heard about you,” once your sales team reaches out to them.

You can see a great example of how Outreach used this B2B ad strategy to help their sales team fill their conference here.

 

Retargeting B2B ads

The most basic B2B ads that are recommended across all industries are retargeting ads. The retargeting ad works because like we mentioned above, on average it takes 5 interactions to get a sale.

There are a variety of retargeting ads that you can run so we’ve assembled 6 types of retargeting ad examples here.

The most important thing to keep in mind about retargeting ads is that they can get stale if they’re not refreshed frequently. The most common reason that people are “annoyed” by retargeting ads is simply because the marketer has set their frequency too high and doesn’t bother to update them with fresh ads.

If you run retargeting ads, and you definitely should, we recommend using a full-funnel approach so that your ads are helpful rather than just more noise on the internet.

 

Content ads

Another basic component of a B2B advertising strategy that’s a must-have is a set of content ads. These ads link to a piece of content that’s relevant to your buyer and helpful to them. These are some of the most common B2B ad examples out there, but a lot of marketers still get a vital piece of these ads wrong: They don’t target them precisely.


The most important quality of a content ad is its relevance to the person you’re serving it to. While it might be intuitive to send lots of content to your buyer, sending an irrelevant piece of content can do more harm than good.

Imagine that the prospect clicks on your B2B ad and goes to a piece of content that’s completely irrelevant to them. Will they be more or less likely to click on your next ad?

Improving the precision of your ad targeting is an easy mistake to fix if you have the right intent data and cookie data in your system.

 

Testimonial & Proof Point ads

The last component of your B2B advertising strategy are testimonial and proof point ads. These ads usually feature a statistic or a quote from one of your customers. This type of B2B ad is best used once someone already knows about your company and product.

 

Once a prospect is actively looking for your product they usually want to know what kind of performance they can expect from it. If your ad platform of choice uses intent data, they can trigger your testimonial and proofpoint ads to run once someone shows a strong amount of intent.

 

Intent is usually demonstrated by the amount of engagement someone exhibits. We’ve written about the difference between IP-based vs Cookie-based ABM providers, but essentially if your platform of choice is cookie-based, they can track the engagement of a given prospect and serve the right ad to the right person at the right time.

 

Next Steps

If you’d like to go beyond these B2B ad basics, you can look through some B2B ad examples that other companies have run in their marketing campaigns in our Big Book of ABM Campaigns, which was co-written with Bizible, Datanyze, LiveRamp, and Radius. It includes 5 ABM campaigns that each company actually ran, along with pictures and lessons learned.

 

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6 Types of Effective Retargeting Ads That Can Boost Your Campaigns

If you asked any digital marketer about which advertising tactic you aren’t using but should, they’d tell you without flinching an eye: retargeting.

The reason for this is simple: retargeting works. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 91% of marketers who have used retargeting have found it to perform equally or better than search, email, or other display ads.

When building an effective retargeting campaign, however, you need to rotate your ads frequently. If you don’t, your audience will ignore your ads, lowering their effectiveness and increasing their costs.

If you feel like you are running out of creative ad ideas to use, we have you covered. In this article, you’ll discover six examples of retargeting ads you can try in your next digital campaign.

 

 

Retargeting ad type #1: Events

Events are a fantastic way to engage your accounts. Not only does it show a large commitment from the account’s stakeholder, events also allow you to develop a stronger relationship with them.

One way to run retargeting ads is by using a little bit of FOMO (fear of missing out). This type of ad is targeted at people who want to be part of their peer group and it works very well because they encourage high-performers to join other high-performers.

Here is a retargeting ad example from Outreach. The sales-enablement tool used FOMO retargeting ads to get signups for their conference called “Unleash.”

Read more about how these event ads performed for Outreach.

 

Retargeting ad type #2: Promote the feature

If your solution offers a wide variety of features, you may want to segment one of them and promote it alone. Personalizing your ad campaign by company type, size, or industry can make your ads more effective, as they speak to the one group that needs that particular feature.

Intercom is a company that offers customer messaging, lifecycle marketing management, and more. By making their ad all about improving the timing of a marketing message, they are speaking to the audience that needs that specific solution: product marketers.

Retargeting ad example from the Intercom brand. Facebook retargeting ad.

 

Retargeting ad type #3: Offer middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content

If you have a well-developed content marketing strategy, you probably have guides, checklists, and other kinds of middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content. Content is a very effective way to keep your accounts engaged and learn about the value you provide.

Here’s a good example of a MOFU content retargeting ad in which Pardot promotes an ebook about B2B email marketing. After you’ve downloaded the ebook, they continue the conversation through an email nurture campaign that leads to an offer for their marketing automation software.

 

Retargeting ad type #4: Offer bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content

While the MOFU content strives to keep your accounts active, your bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content is focused on getting the account closer to the conversion, which can be a sale, a consultation, or a trial account. Some examples of BOFU content include webinars and case studies, which have a higher buying intent.

Here you can see a good example of a BOFU retargeting ad in which we use a case study quote to show proof points of the RollWorks platform. These ads should only be run to an audience that is already familiar with your brand because they lead to bottom-of-funnel content.

Read the Transpay case study this ad links to.

 

Retargeting ad type #5: Drive the conversion

While MOFU and BOFU content drive the account closer to the final conversion, the final action — like the actual sign up for a trial or a demo — may not happen if you don’t follow up with the right message.

That’s where a conversion-focused retargeting ad can help you close the loop. After an account has downloaded your BOFU content, you can assume they’re ready for your offer. Your ad then should be focused around the final action to take, nothing more.

In the case of Upcall, you can see how they use a simple, effective retargeting ad focused exclusively on the desired action: getting a free trial sign up.

 

Retargeting ad type #6: Upsell and cross-sell

Veteran marketers know that even after you have closed an account you should still be using retargeting ads because you can continue to expand on the value you deliver. In other words, you can upsell your accounts to upgrade to further product features.

Soundcloud is a popular platform for music producers and podcast listeners. While their platform is free to use, they still have a paid account that offers music producers better tools to connect with their fans. After a user has uploaded any kind of audio file in their platform, they start retargeting those users with an upsell for their pro account:

Showing the customer additional material on how to make the most of your platform is crucial to helping them understand the benefits they can get from upgrading. Using marketing to educate them helps set up a successful conversation for the account manager once they feel that the customer is a good fit for an upgrade.

Read more about upsell and cross-sell ads in our latest blog post.

 

Takeaways and Next Steps

As you rework your retargeting ad campaign, try to take inventory of how often you rotate your ads. A big reason that retargeting is considered “annoying” by most people is simply because the ads are set on repeat and become stale.

If you want your retargeting campaigns to be successful, check the “Frequency” metric in your retargeting dashboard and see if you are using the same ad over and over.

If you see you are getting a high frequency and high CPM, try using some of the ideas we highlighted here to increase the effectiveness of your retargeting campaigns.

 

If you want to go one step further and see how other companies have run their multi-channel digital marketing campaigns, you can browse through The Big Book of ABM Campaigns, which was co-written with Bizible, Datanyze, LiveRamp, and Radius. It includes 5 account-based marketing campaigns that each company actually ran, along with pictures and lessons learned.

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How Outreach doubled their event attendance with digital event ads

If you’re evaluating digital marketers, there’s really one tell tale sign that separates the novices from the pros: the quality of their measurement.

Pretty much all digital marketers will have some type of measurement in place, but the quality of that measurement can vary drastically. We’ve all heard about vanity metrics and how we can be misled by them. But what are those vanity metrics? Should click-through rates (CTR) really be our north star? Or should it be impressions? Or conversions?

Those are the questions that Outreach had to figure out if they were to be successful with their big event, Unleash 2018.

This year, Outreach, a customer engagement platform that helps companies improve the efficiency of their sales funnel, was putting together one of their biggest events to date.

Unleash 2018 was going to be an incredible event where top sales leaders joined Navy Seals on an island near San Diego, California. The event would feature top performance coaches like Joseph McClendon III and retired navy SEAL Jocko Willink.

Sounds pretty incredible, right?

 

The Challenge

The problem was that even with a superstar speaker lineup, in a location resembling paradise, it was still a big ask for Outreach’s customers and prospects to take time out of the schedules and travel to Unleash.

While the marketing emails successfully spread the word about the event, they simply weren’t enough to drive conversions for such a big purchase. Through some experimentation, however, the Outreach team did discover that personal interactions paired with event awareness campaigns was a much better tactic at getting registrations.

Specifically, after listening to countless call recordings, the marketing team identified that when people had heard about the event in advance, they were much more likely to be receptive to a personal invitation by a customer-facing rep.

The question now was how to keep the event top of mind consistently?

 

An upgrade was needed

How could the Outreach marketing team keep Unleash top of mind without sending more marketing emails? This is when they turned to targeted display advertising for the additional air cover they needed.

They chose to run their ads on AdRoll (now RollWorks) because they could be very precise with their targeted audience and also use advanced attribution to track view-through conversions closely.

 

The new game plan

Outreach began to run targeted display ads that they would evaluate based on view-through conversions. They chose view-through conversions as their metric for a few reasons:

  • They didn’t expect many people to make such a large commitment directly from engaging with a single ad (similar to running ads for car purchases, for example, the conversion doesn’t happen right away, but is still influenced by the ads seen)
  • The audience was very tightly controlled so they could track their event registrations against their ads quite easily
  • They could also verify that the ads were increasing awareness by listening to call recordings

 

Their digital marketing strategy was set up for 3 audience segments:

    • All existing active users of the Outreach platform
    • All visitors to the Unleash landing page
    • All confirmed registrations via tag on the eventbrite confirmation page

They then ran 3 types of ads to attract different types of visitor personas from each of these segments.

 

FOMO digital event ads

The first type of ad was targeted at people who want to be part of their peer group. These “Fear of Missing Out” (or FOMU as they called it, fear of missing Unleash) ads work very well because they encourage high-performers to join other high-performers. After all, part of what makes a seller successful is that drive to compete with his/her peers.

Early Bird digital event ads

The next type of ad they ran was for the deal seekers and procrastinators. They wanted to encourage people to register for the event early so that they would know what their headcount would be. Providing a limited discount was a good way to encourage them to sign up sooner rather than later.

 

Retargeting event ads

The final type of ad they set up was a retargeting ad. This ad would be served to those who had visited the event page, but hadn’t converted yet.

This is the must-have ad for any digital ad campaign because, like we mentioned above, it is highly unlikely you’ll secure a conversion on the first visit. By setting up retargeting ads, Outreach was able to stay top of mind to those high-intent visitors until they were ready to pull the trigger and reserve their spot.

 

Measuring the results of their event ads

If Outreach measured their results with the traditional vanity metric of click-through, their campaign would have looked like a complete disaster. In fact, they had less than 5 click-through conversions throughout their whole campaign.

But, since Outreach used view-through conversions as their primary metric for this campaign, they were able to see just how big of an impact the digital ad campaign had on their event. More than 50% of the people who registered for the event had seen their ads.

And Outreach didn’t just stop there. They actually collected qualitative data on the ad campaign by having their sales reps ask customers and prospects if they had heard of the Unleash conference.

Before the ads ran they received a lot of silent stares and questions about, “what’s Unleash?” But, after their ads ran they were greeted with, “Oh yeah I keep hearing about that! It looks awesome!”

 

Next Steps

If you’re curious about how other companies are running their ad campaigns, be sure to read through the Big Book of ABM Campaigns. It features 5 companies and how they ran their actual campaigns as well as how they’d change them if they could.

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