Can Facebook advertising work for B2B marketers? Surely not, you say, given the conventional wisdom that Facebook advertising doesn’t even work for consumer marketing, right? Perhaps 12 months ago, both of these assumptions might have been true; today, however, Facebook is rapidly becoming a major force (for good) for B2B advertising. In a short two months, Facebook has unleashed two major product offers that are no-brainers for many B2B advertisers. Let’s review each of these briefly.
Product #1: FBX
Readers of my prior posts on this blog know that I have high hopes for FBX – the Facebook Ad Exchange that (currently) allows advertisers to retarget to potential customers on Facebook. No doubt B2C companies are liberally using FBX to retarget customers; what has surprised me, however, is the extent to which B2B companies are heavily investing in FBX. Indeed, the screenshot below is from my own Facebook feed. The first two ads, for SurveyMonkey and American Express, are definitely FBX-driven (I’ve seen each of them at least 100 times), and both are B2B driven (the AmEx card is intended for heavy business travelers):
The results for SurveyMonkey are publicly available, as Triggit – their FBX provider – released a case study suggesting “1146% less CPA” as a result of FBX. That’s impressive performance and shows the power of B2B marketing on Facebook.
And anecdotally, given the frequency of B2B FBX ads showing up on my Facebook page, these ads must be performing for advertisers better than the standard FB PPC campaigns, so I’d expect to see a lot more of them in the future.
Product #2: Facebook Custom Audiences
Last Thursday at SalesForce’s “DreamForce” conference, Facebook publicly announced their Custom Audiences tool – or as TechCrunch calls it, their CRM Ads. Custom Audiences allows advertisers to upload a list of email addresses that Facebook will match against Facebook user information, allowing the advertiser to bid specifically for users for whom they have existing customer data. This is a gold mine for B2B advertisers. Imagine creating a custom list of users who have signed up for your freemium product but not upgraded to a paid solution, or a list of people who downloaded a white paper but never talked to a sales person? There’s a reason Facebook announced this at a SalesForce conference – businesses should absolutely love this targeting.
This is Only the Beginning
Add FBX and Custom Audiences to existing Facebook data, and B2B marketers now have the ability to effectively market to potential customers at all stages of the consideration stage; they can start with standard FB ads to drive targeted audiences to their Web sites, migrate to FBX to encourage visitors to download a white paper, and then use Facebook customer audiences to offer up specific calls-to-actions to bottom-of-the-funnel customers.
And again, keep in mind that most of these innovative advertising tools are less than 60 days old. Give Facebook another 60 days, and who knows what they’ll launch? (My big bet is still on an expansion of FBX to web sites outside of Facebook, effectively creating a rival ad network to the Google Display Network (GDN).) The future for B2B marketing on Facebook is looking very good indeed.
– David Rodnitzky