The ultimate goal of business-to-business marketing is to convert other businesses into your customers. Generally, paid search campaigns are designed for B2B marketers to reach high intent consumers, but it’s not one size fits all marketing.
The types of paid search brand campaigns that you launch should be based on such nuanced factors as your brand, the kind of product or service that you offer, and your competitor’s brand.
What Are Paid Search Campaigns?
Paid search campaigns are campaigns where you have the opportunity to show an ad when someone is searching for a specific phrase or keyword. The most popular platform is Google, specifically Google Ads, but Microsoft Ads campaigns are also effective.
Google Ads is the most expensive platform (on a cost-per-click basis), but it is the most popular and carries the most search inventory.
If a campaign is based on intent, potential clients find information using particular search terms. Not everyone who uses the same search terms is looking for the same products or services; they may also be at different places in their buyer’s journey.
You do need more demographic information to layer on top of the keywords to vary your advertising and reach these users where they are, but most of the value of the search is based on the searcher’s intent.
Types of Paid Search Campaigns for B2B Brands
Branded Paid Search Campaigns
The level of intent most aligned to your own company is called branded search. This depends on how well-known your brand is. For example, is it popular enough that people search for your company’s name, products, or website specifically? This is the highest level of intent.
You have a limited number of search terms, so you need to make them count. Branded paid search campaigns can be highly targeted – you have more control than you do in organic searches.
Google Ads assigns each company a quality score from 1-10. It is a diagnostic score based on how many clicks are made (click-through rate) on your ad, how closely your ad matches the search term, and how valuable and relevant your landing page or ad is compared to other companies for the same keyword or search term.
The quality score is important because it gives you feedback about how effective your marketing is, but also because the higher your quality score, the less you will have to pay for your pay-for-click ads.
In a branded paid search campaign, you will have the baseline for your conversions. The people who find you based on your own branded search terms will more than likely be ready to buy. When you think of it that way, it usually makes branded paid search campaigns the lowest acquisition cost.
You will also have access to demographic information such as location, age groups, and household income. All of this information can help you target your customers.
When you create a page, Google indexes it, which means it has been visited by the Google crawler and analyzed for content. When your page is indexed, you don’t necessarily get to choose the exact title or description used for organic search results.
Hopefully, your headline and meta description shows how you intend them to appear, but there is no guarantee. On the other hand, you will have more control and influence with paid search campaigns.
Your headline becomes that page title, and your descriptions become meta descriptions. You have multiple options to test, which is very hard to do on organic searches. You will have the possibility of presenting and trying numerous headlines and calls to action for effectiveness.
High Intent Paid Search Campaigns
High intent searches are based on a product category. This means that people are searching for a solution, not necessarily specifically for your company’s solution, but they are in the right ballpark. This type of campaign is high intent because the people searching has clear intent to purchase and are ready to buy.
If you use the right combination of keywords, you can make that presence only for high intent people. Extra keywords can make a big difference at the end, and you don’t want to show up as one of the hundreds of matches from your search terms.
For example, adding “near me” after your keyword can capture people looking for a service in their location. Big overarching themes mean users will get the whole haystack when they need the needle.
You can have these high intent paid campaigns targeting a specific market segment. Maybe searchers are looking for case studies or trying to understand if your company is a good fit; help these high intent buyers find what they are looking for.
It makes sense for your company to allocate most of your budget towards these high-impact campaigns because they are most likely to drive conversions.
Low Intent Paid Search Campaigns
These are for people who are not yet at the point in their buyer’s journey where they are ready to buy anything, and they are simply looking to get educated or come to some understanding. Organic searches are not paid and can operate through any platform, but they are the ones that bring in many low intent searches like this.
Low intent searches tend to result in great content, such as articles, audio, demos, or videos. It is beneficial for you to create this content for several reasons.
You need informational content to build trust and credibility with your potential consumers. At the beginning of their buyer’s journey, people aren’t looking to be sold to yet. Give them what they want (awareness and understanding), and don’t scare them away with heavy-handedness.
Bidding on Your Competitor’s Brand in Search
Another paid search campaign is based on your competitor’s keywords. A keyword could be the company’s actual name or the specific names of its products. This is a high-intent audience that you want to target.
There are limits when you bid for keywords from your competitors, and in many cases, you can’t mention your competitor’s brand to lure away their customers. However, you can get creative in the way that you present your headlines and descriptions.
Construct the things that make you different, what makes you better, and what your competition doesn’t have or doesn’t provide. Highlight those to someone who might be looking for them make them aware of you.
When you use your competitor’s keywords to promote your company, you will never be as relevant to your searchers as your competition is, so those campaigns are the ones that will be the most expensive in terms of cost-per-click.
Think of these campaigns as benefitting you through brand awareness. You are making people aware of options and giving the consumers the chance to explore a little before deciding. Just manage your expectations regarding the acquisition cost for this type of search campaign.
While I’m sure that you can think of many other types of paid search campaigns for your account, these four categories, I believe, allow you to allocate your resources better based on go-to-market strategy.
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