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The anything but basic guide to Google Ads in B2B marketing

November 8, 2021

The benefits of paid search are endless…

Not only does it increase your brand awareness, but buyers are 50% more likely to make a purchase because of a paid ad.

And because 73% of the paid search market share belongs to Google, it makes sense to start your PPC campaigns there, right?

In this article, we speak to Richard Tank, Head of Global Performance Marketing at Cognism, to find out everything you need to know about Google Ads, including:

The benefits of using PPC for B2B lead generation | Starting a pay per click ad strategy | Choosing and using the right keywords| Making the most of Google Ads with Ad Extensions | Avoiding bots and unqualified clicks | Do paid better with intent data

Click ☝️ to jump to your desired topic or scroll 👇 to start reading.

Cognism LinkedIn Ad

The benefits of using PPC for B2B lead generation 👏

Whether you want to push content, drive revenue through lead generation or create awareness for your brand, a Pay Per Click campaign is a great place to start.

Especially when used in conjunction with organic marketing like well-built SEO pages.

PPC is a universal digitaladvertising model that can be used to drive traffic to your website. There are many advantages for B2B companies that use it, starting with:

BOFU targeting

PPC is a great way to capture prospects who are actively searching for a specific keyword related to your product. All it takes is a bit of research to ensure you’re using the right keywords for a highly targeted and effective bottom of the funnel campaign.

Richard adds:

“You're not pushing ads out to prospects on Linkedin and Facebook. You’re not trying to convince them to take action or download content etc. They're actually looking for something. So all you’re doing is providing a route for them to follow to your product. If you've got a good website and you’re doing a good job, you should generate leads.”

Budget-friendly campaigns

Google Ads is an excellent option for generating B2B leads because you can tailor your campaigns to work for you, no matter the size of your budget. Most advertising can be pretty costly, but PPC is exactly what it says it is - you only pay per click.

But the number of leads you bring in all depends on your industry, market and budget, as Richard explains:

“Some keywords have a high search volume, but it really depends on your industry and market. You can spend hundreds and thousands of pounds a month capturing search volume and even more for certain industries” “You can scale your budget based on your market and goals. It’s a very flexible platform.”

So be sure to identify your TAM and account for the amount of leads you hope to bring in from your ads before setting your budget.

Room for growth

Like all great B2B marketing campaigns, experimentation is everything. If you find your campaign isn’t working, you can turn it off. You can optimise, use a vast range of keywords and you can gain insights from the data..

For example, Richard suggests:

“Try targeting other keywords just outside what your buyers are searching for to bring in additional leads.

Easy to track

Not only is PPC great for hyper-personalised targeting, but you can optimise the way you target your buyers just by measuring and tracking your results.

Google Ads offers you all the B2B data and analytics you need to track results on a granular level. It’s up to you to take these learnings and improve your campaigns.

Richard advises:

“Make sure you’re not only tracking traffic and clicks but meetings booked and attended too, and most importantly - revenue! This will help you optimise your messaging and CTAs and you’ll better understand your customer journey.”

“Keep an open line of communication with your sales team and encourage them to input any sales data they have into your CRM, so it’s easily accessible to all your teams. If you can’t integrate this data with your CRM, invest in Zapier.”

Starting a pay per click ad strategy 🖱️

How you strategise your PPC campaigns all comes down to who you’re selling to and what you want to achieve.

Richard suggests before setting some goals, ask yourself:

  • Who am I selling to?
  • What am I selling to them?
  • What action do I want them to take?

For instance, if you’re targeting B2B sales leaders and you have a few services on offer, choose one service per campaign. Then ask yourself, do you want them to book a demo, fill in a form or read a blog?

The action your prospect takes will all depend on what your campaign is for.

👉 If you want to sell a service, then booking a demo is a great CTA.

👉 If you want to create awareness, then sending them over to a blog or podcast is the best CTA.

Once you know the answers to the three questions, decide how many leads you’d like to capture and set a budget based on this volume.

Richard adds:

“Think carefully about your budget and choose one service as a priority for that campaign. You’ll only waste your budget if you try and push three services at once. Especially if you find that one out of the three has a tiny search volume - it won’t be a priority keyword for you.”

Knowing which keywords work for your target audience all comes down to one thing:

Research. Research. Research.

Researching your keywords and audience will be what sets you and your campaigns apart from your competitors.

Choosing and using the right keywords ✅

Richard has an interesting analogy for choosing keywords which he calls the brand onion. Here’s how it works:

Richard says:

“When choosing keywords, think about how far or near you want to be in the search. You can have one priority keyword and then a few others that aren’t exactly what you’re selling but are related to it. For instance, we specialise in data, but we don’t sell email lists, so we’ll use that keyword to attract people who do search for email lists because they might be more interested in better quality, compliant data and verified contacts.”

Keep in mind the further you peel away the layers of your brand onion, the more generic your keywords become until they are used more as a content play than to drive revenue.

You’ll also want to make sure your priority keywords match your buyers’ intent.

When they search for these keywords, you’ll know they’re looking for a product like yours as opposed to you finding them on LinkedIn because they fit your total addressable market, but you can’t be sure they really want what you’re selling.

To help with all your keywords, it’s a good idea to invest in automation, as Richard explains:

“The Google algorithm has improved drastically over the years, so it's a good idea to invest in automation rather than do things manually. Google Ads is the biggest revenue driver for Google. 29% of all ad spend is Google. 50% of all ad spend is digital, and 25% is search. Google has about 80% percent of the market share globally.”

Here are our top three rules for choosing keywords:

  1. Remember who your audience is.
  2. Stick to the words related to what you’re selling.
  3. Make sure your CTAs are concise and actionable.

Keep in mind that everything should tie back to what you’re selling, and linking your SEO to your paid strategy is a great place to start.

You can use an SEO tool like Ahrefs to help find keywords, see search traffic and volume and Google rankings for your SEO pages. It can also scan your website for SEO issues.

Automation tools like Google Ads and Ahrefs have a lot of great features you can implement for marketing success.

Making the most of Google Ads with Ad Extensions 🍋

When Google gives you Ad Extensions…

Make the most out of them!

Or as Richard says:

“You should use as many as possible! Google chooses up to two, based on what it thinks is the most relevant, but the more you have, the better your quality score and the higher your quality score, the lower your CPC and CPL. So it's a great way to get your quality score up and get more search volume and conversions.”

Google Ad Extensions are what separates your ads from your competitors. The best part about them - they don’t cost anything!

The reason they’re so beneficial is because they allow you to add extra information to your Google Ad without having to sacrifice ad space. This means you can focus on the best messaging for your target audience.

You can use several extensions to help elevate your ad, including:

Sitelink extensions

These are additional links that direct prospects to your website.

They’re great for measuring clicks to specific pages, running short term campaigns and creating sitelinks specifically for mobile.

Callout extensions

These give you the option to add additional descriptive text like products and services in your standard text ads.

They’re flexible and easy to implement at no extra cost, so you can promote more business attributes you couldn’t in the initial ad.

Click to text extensions

These are great for your mobile audience because they provide a quick and effective way for prospects to contact you.

Call extensions

These help drive up conversions by including a convenient way for your prospects to contact you without leaving the search results.

It’s a great extension because you can track how many calls came from that advert, and they can be scheduled to only appear at specific times of the day, like within your business hours.

Richard advises speaking to your Google rep (if you have one) about beta extensions:

“There's about eight or ten ad extensions at the moment, and there's always one or two betas. Some are public, so anyone can go into that ad account and find them and then some you have to activate through your Google rep. Those are generally the ones being tested and might not get rolled out.”

Avoiding bots and unqualified clicks 🤖

Of course, with all good things come some negatives, and for Google Ads, it's bots hiking up your clicks...

Luckily, there are a number of solutions available to stop them, as Richard explains:

“You can sign up for ClickCease™. It's fraud prevention software that looks at the users clicking on your ads and examines their IP addresses and behaviour. It also gives you insight into why you're getting multiple clicks, and how many of those are occurring in a short period. You can then choose to block five or more clicks so that the bots can't hike up your clicks and the costs associated with it.”

ClickCease also looks at things like how long the user has been on the page. If they’re going on for a second and going off and then coming back on again, it’s immediately marked as a fraudulent click, and Google will refund you for these.

But, if investing in more software isn't an option for you right now, Google does have ways to prevent fraudulent clicks too.

The great thing about Google Ads is that if you do notice something erratic, you can contact them, and they’ll sort it out and automatically remove invalid clicks.

But, bots aren’t the only internet click menace you’ll encounter with ads.

Sometimes, if your messaging isn’t resonating with the right audience, or you’re using the wrong keywords, you’ll get a lot of unqualified clicks.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways to counteract this, like reviewing your keywords, rewording your copy or creating a custom intent audience.

Richard says:

“To counteract unqualified clicks, you can use negative keywords. For instance, a Cognism customer might frequently search for the office address, which is not something you want to pay for, so you'll add 'address' to your negative keywords. It's a good idea to do this once or twice a month to ensure your budget is going to clicks that bring in conversions.”

To help with your keyword research, Richard offers some advice:

“Google Ads has a report on their site where you can see what terms users searched for the most. However, due to privacy concerns, this report has become restricted. Although you can still see some of what your buyers might be searching for, which is helpful when doing keyword research.”

Have a look at this report next time. You might find some keywords you haven’t already added to your negative keywords, or you might find a few gems to help with your ad campaign journey.

Closing thoughts 💭

If you haven’t implemented a PPC strategy to work with your SEO, now is the time.

The results are well worth it, and it doesn’t require a huge budget to get started, as Richard explains:

“Fundamentally, as long as you get your messaging right and you’re aware of your customer journey, then all the other stuff is extra when it comes to Google Ads. Once you get this right, it just takes a couple of months of experimenting to get it all synced up and correct.”

So give it a go, and let us know how this guide works for you!

Do paid better with intent data 🚀

You know what can make your paid ad campaigns even better?

Connecting with ideal fit accounts that are searching for a solution like yours right now!

Cognism’s intent data can help you connect to the buying team before your competitors have a chance to chime in.

Interested?

Book your screen share 👇

Cognism intent data advert