Fans of this blog know that advertising on Facebook--as well as Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network--is extremely effective for consumer brands of all types. Consider that in Q2 2016 alone, Facebook had 6.2 billion dollars in ad revenue, and in the United States and Canada, $14 in revenue per user. In March, Facebook had three million businesses actively advertising, 70% of which were outside the U.S.

However, many B2B marketers still wonder: Is Facebook a good fit for B2B brands? In case the title of this post isn't obvious, the answer is a resounding yes! Facebook advertising is expected to be a key component of the $83 billion in B2B digital marketing and advertising spend this year and solve some of B2B advertisers' challenges with lead gen campaigns.

To understand why, let's look at three key reasons B2B advertisers will find success with Facebook:

  1. Success in the Facebook bidding auction
  2. The ability to reach the exact right audiences
  3. Closing the loop and taking real-time action on leads

How to Succeed in B2B Facebook bidding auctions

B2B brands value new customers much higher than essentially any consumer brand (except some high-consideration products, like new car sales). This is reflected in how much a B2B brand can afford to pay for a new lead. Let's compare two brands.

A hypothetical SaaS B2B brand might place a value of a new customer at $100,000. If 1% of people that complete a Facebook lead ad convert, and the marketer's goal is a 10x return on ad spend (ROAS), the brand can afford to spend $100 per Facebook lead! On the other hand, a hypothetical retail brand may value a sign-up to its mailing list at $20. For the same 10x ROAS, they can only spend $2 per Facebook lead.

This means that a successful B2B advertiser can afford to bid much, much, more for its conversions on Facebook than consumer brands, giving it the ability to win more Facebook auctions and Newsfeed placement.

Tips for Reaching the Right Audience with Advertising

But how should a B2B brand target people on Facebook? Traditional demographic targeting, like all 18-25 year old women in Chicago, doesn't work for B2B brands. However, Facebook provides many other options.

With Facebook behavioral targeting, you can start by targeting people with specific seniority levels and job titles, segmented by company size. Then, you can target people at specific companies. For here's an example if you only want to sell to people at specific companies, just select the ones you want.

B2B marketers can also target specific types of businesses that are most likely to be interested in the services the brand provides.

But we've saved the best for last. With Facebook, you can directly advertise to your own prospects, customers, and the people who look like your customers. With Facebook Custom Audiences, you can take the CRM data you already have stored with Salesforce and use it to target your advertising to exactly the right people.

But what if you only have the business email addresses of your prospects, many of whom likely use their personal email addresses on Facebook? Not a problem. With Advertising Studio, we just introduced support for Facebook Advanced Match, which increases the advertising match rate of your customer data using new attributes. It allows brands to target using 14 different attributes, including primary identifiers like email, mobile phone numbers, and mobile advertiser ID, as well as secondary categories like name, geography, age, and gender.

This has produced amazing results. Salesforce is a large B2B advertiser ourselves, so we tried out using Facebook Advanced Match ourselves with Pardot the moment it was available. In a joint case study with Facebook, we experienced a 2.3x increase in customer match rate compared to using Custom Audiences based on just email address. Best of all, the campaign had a 3.8x increase in ROAS over an already successful campaign.

Closing the loop and taking real-time action on leads

Once you've reached the right people with an ad, advertisers have a lot of choices for what type of content to show. One great option is a Facebook lead ad. Facebook lead ads allow brands to customize a lead form in Facebook that can be pre-populated with information that individuals have already given to Facebook. This has helped brands dramatically improve form completion and general conversion rates, particularly on mobile. Facebook lead forms are mobile-friendly and designed for the least amount of typing possible. It's fast and easy for prospects to give you accurate, actionable info so you can connect with them as a part of your sales process.

And as Salesforce announced in September, Lead Capture for Sales Cloud allows brands running demand generation campaigns on Facebook using Lead Ads to automate lead form submissions directly into Sales Cloud and map them to Lead Objects. Data flows directly from your advertising campaign into Salesforce in real-time. As soon as someone requests more information on Facebook your team can give them a call, send them an email, or add them to a lead nurturing program.

This personalized, real time connection between your advertising and your marketing automation lets you complete the loop. Target the right people, bid enough to reach them, and bring prospects on a journey with your brand using Facebook.

To get started with Facebook B2B Advertising and Lead Capture, check out our webinar.