How to Make Your B2B Advertising More Impactful

Table of Content

what is b2b advertising

According to multiple industry studies, over 80% of consumers surveyed think B2B marketing is less creative than B2C. Over 40% went so far as to say they believe B2B advertising is boring. 

Well, advertising for businesses certainly presents a different kind of challenge than B2C. But, why is that the situation? 

Let’s look at what you need to know to compete successfully in the daunting realm of the B2B advertising, promotion, and branding arena, including B2B e-commerce marketing essentials. The information below will help you apply B2B marketing principles, resources, and strategies with maximal effectiveness.

What is B2B Advertising?

B2B advertising (also known as business-to-business advertisement or trade marketing) is a business marketing activity directed at advertising for companies, not individual consumers. The kinds and grades of products and services represented in B2B advertising are often of unique interest to commercial and industrial consumers, whereas B2C ads help B2C sellers inform and attract people with a personal interest in their products or services.

What’s So Different About Advertising for B2B vs. B2C?

B2B consumers, typically take longer to complete their buying process, which often involves layers of higher management approvals. To complicate matters for B2B advertisers, business purchases are further unencumbered with B2B clients’ employers or clients to whom they must account if they fail to obtain the best possible value.

Meanwhile, B2C customers are relatively free, often even impulse buying when an exciting product catches their attention. The purchases B2C consumers are considering in any given class of product or service are naturally likely to be less costly and more personally stimulating than their commercial or industrial equivalents.  That’s much more rare in B2B buying habits. 

Of the two radically different decisional modes, B2B is naturally much more difficult to impact. That’s why B2B marketers face very different creative requirements, product and service types, budget limitations, and consumer motivations compared to B2C pros.

Read More: B2B vs. B2C Sales: Strategies, Techniques, and Market Dynamic Differences

Importance and Benefits of B2B Advertisements

B2B advertisement serves a truly critical role in the health of the commercial and industrial subsectors of the larger business economic sector. So, what does B2B marketing accomplish for B2B sellers, their customers, and the larger community around them?

Promotes Quality Products and Services

All marketing, whether B2C or B2B, benefits society through the best marketing professionals. They are those who succeed in informing and inspiring people to buy the best available products of given types, vs. paying competitors offering similar items of lesser value.

Grows Businesses’ Sales and Profits

Marketing is the lifeblood of businesses. Without it, in some form, whether word-of-mouth or assertive advertising, sales inevitably become anemic and profitability – weak. Business-to-business marketing is not just an optional expense, but an investment that can yield a strong ROI.

Builds Brand Awareness and Reputation

The alternative to marketing is rudderless drifting among a sea of competitors, the smartest of whom understand the power of sharing their message. Advertising and promoting a brand increases the positive mentions of it in the consumer domain. That, of course, is the singular way to build a winning reputation in any industry.

KPI Metrics in B2B Marketing

Your Key Performance Metrics constitute your system for tracking your progress toward generating the required volume ratio of leads to needs (with needs being the KPIs around ROI and cash flow thresholds, etc.) for B2B sellers. 

Whatever the goal of your current campaign, your metrics can be leveraged to optimize your lead generation strategy and maximize your conversion rates and brand visibility. In addition to standard business performance metrics you may require some custom metrics for your particular type of business, but these are the indispensable basics:

Website Traffic

You need to generate enough interest to attract people to visit you online to avoid losing your investment in marketing. The benchmark for marketing success has been raised through the years from the traditional objective of getting prospects in the door (of your physical store or online store). Now marketers must meet the more advanced challenge of drawing in very well-qualified prospects.

Conversion Rate

This is proof that prospects are truly following through with the desired actions you have been striving to inspire them to take. Quality of leads aside, conversion is the only meaningful proof of the campaign’s success — money being made, or not. Of course, if your campaign is merely promotional, then your goal could be limited to motivating people to fill out a survey, click through a series of links, etc.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

This ratio affords you an expansive strategic perspective on the long-range financial gain for your business in customer acquisition. It spotlights the company-wide priority of implementing internal programs and methods for increasing customer engagement, satisfaction, retention, and referral rates. Naturally, focusing resources on CLV is typically a much smaller and more secure investment than external marketing.

Cost Per Lead (CPL)

Understanding how much you’re spending to yield the results of your marketing efforts reveals the cost-effectiveness of your marketing work. When CPL is evaluated alongside CPL, you can get a comprehensive view of the health of your program. Ideally, a low CPL and high CLV together indicate highly efficient and sustainable strategic marketing. Personalized content is one common way to generate a higher CLV at a lower CPL.

Return on Investment (ROI)

The income from your B2B advertising sales is proof that your work has been worth your effort and that it makes sense to continue to do it. So, the need to know how much income your business has generated through your efforts to attract prospective customers is the single most fundamental of all business KPI principles.

Why Do People Think B2B Advertising is Boring?

Before we look at where successful marketers are putting their business-to-business ad dollars, let’s revisit the matter of boring B2B advertising. After all, why is it boring? We’ll see that all of the same sufficiently exciting ad venues available to B2C marketers are wide open to B2B ad buyers as well. So, what’s the problem? Some analyses of business-to-business advertising examples conclude that key issues in B2B marketing quality include:

  • Not memorable. B2B ads are often perceived as bland, without attention-getting elements or noteworthy themes that capture and retain enough interest to be effective. The products may be viewed by the advertiser as merely necessary utility items.
  • Not as glamorous as B2C. B2B marketing ads are typically not infused with spectacular imagery, music jingles, catchy slogans, clever dialogue, location shooting, special effects, and other high-end elements that are standard in national B2C advertising.
  • Too much industry jargon. B2B ad content is often filled with technical language, complex details, acronyms, and relatively drab coverage of product information. Too frequently, features and benefits are understated.
  • Not well-targeted. Business 2 Business marketing email programs, text campaigns, postal mailers, newsletters, and targeted social ads are often slow in responding to news and updates, resulting in being sent to disinterested recipients.
  • Poor creative training. Many B2B adverts give consumers the impression that the advertiser does not have high-quality creative resources with the vision to produce inspiring ads.

Good news for modern B2B marketers includes the fact that the majority of today’s most popular ad venues are inexpensive or free to use. Also, raw creative talent can replace dollars, to some extent, in creating compelling advertising B2B content.

Further, business advertisers who want to stand out among B2B competitors always have the option of digging into the budget a little deeper to fund higher-quality ads. It’s the same choice B2C sellers make — paying more or settling for less.

B2B Advertising Strategies: How to Make Great B2B Ads

Marketing strategies, however complex, start with this set of core basics. This may seem obvious, but check to ensure that you’re actually not overlooking any of these B2B marketing essentials:

1. Set one or more goals for your B2B ad campaign

Sharply define what you will count as success, and avoid vague generalizations that can make it too difficult to track progress in your metrics. Choose a few key goals, for example::

  • Increase subscribers by 10 per month within 30 days.
  • Increase lead card generation through your website by 5% within 60 days.
  • Generate 20 coupon redemptions within 30 days.

2. Map out a plan of action

Decide what tasks need to be done and who will do each one. Collaborate effectively with team members to meet objectives and goals. Create a schedule to keep everyone on track throughout the process.

3. Identify your target audience

Do the necessary research to identify your best prospects in the consumer market. You may choose to use surveys, focus groups, etc., to develop a brand-representative buyer persona that characterizes people most likely to be interested in your product. 

Consider business types and demographics, needs, budget classes, internal cultures, business goals and values, personal goals, etc.Design ads that make clear how your product or service solution(s) can help them resolve the relevant pain points.

4. Go where your target audience is

There are advantages in B2B in placing your marketers physically where your customers go to engage on just the kinds of products you offer. Trade magazines, local newspapers, broadsheets, tradeshows, speaking at convention seminars, and other events allow you to represent your company as an industry expert.

5. Strategize and modify strategies based on the data in your metrics

Observe progress in prospect engagement based on your Web Traffic changes and the effectiveness of your strategy based on changes in Conversion Rate. Monitor your CPL Rate as your campaign continues. Use the validations of your strategies to guide your plans for long-term growth and increasing CLV. Let your ROI determine your B2B campaign’s success rate. Apply this overall data-driven strategy template to all your future campaigns.

6. Choose the best combination of ad outlets for your needs

Make the best use of social media and other marketing and branding venues that deliver high value for the investment of your resources and offer the best fit with your purposes for your ad campaign. Pick some combinations from the comprehensive list below.

Explore those options and be very selective. That will increase the value of your efforts by maximizing the amount of your display ads and other marketing content that your target audience will be more likely to see. Because your ad, or cluster of ads, will be in the right place.

Read More: Key B2B Challenges in E-commerce and How to Address Them

Types of B2B Advertising

Of course, the best-laid plans of B2B marketers are only as good as the media resources you choose as your marketing outlet. One key to success in modern marketing is to be where the members of your target market are spending their time. Some ad venues are better than others for B2C and some are better for B2B. 

Another best practice is to leverage pixel technology to properly measure the effectiveness of your B2B digital ads on other platforms. As the cookie-less future advances, pixels can be your surest way to success assessment. 

Rather than lay out a series of hypothetical ad venue combinations here, we’ll use the remaining room to provide a big list of ad resources.


LinkedIn is the premier B2B media social platform for professionals. There you can put your B2B ad in front of the industries, companies of the sizes you want to reach, and the people in the positions you most want to inform and motivate. Use LinkedIn to introduce yourself and your company, share content of high value to your target prospects, and make key industry contacts.


Facebook display ads, Facebook groups, influencer pages, and your own business’s page are all exceptional options for generating leads by finely targeting B2B prospects. The platform is also one of today’s most highly effective tools for building your brand’s reputation as an expert in your industry and as a caring company that reliably helps customers.

Note: Research shows that around 80% of B2B sales leads generated from social media are from LinkedIn compared to only about 7% from Facebook. The data strongly indicates the importance of putting your social platform ads where people with the strongest interest in B2B product promotion are spending more time.  

X (Formerly Twitter)

X continues to be an effective advertising platform, especially when applying fine targeting of niche market members. Using recognized hashtags or appealing to influencers’ audiences in a given industry and retweeting from promoted accounts can capture a lot of attention and generate traffic for your website.

Bing Ads

This much smaller version of Google Ads is still second only to it. The Bing Search Network enables B2B purchasers to find products and services they want. Your ads there are exposed widely to attract and engage prospects.

TikTok Ads

While TikTok is definitely a new kid on the block, he's certainly gone viral. Some (and we do mean 'some') B2B can benefit from this platform, especially if the businesses are somehow related to Gen-Z's interests or activities. It also supports video content that is easily consumable and beneficial for advertisements. However, do make sure that your audience uses this highly specific channel before investing in it.


Like other social platforms, Reddit has its multitudinous industry groups popping into discussions of topics relevant to its members. Engaging in such interactions increases the group members’ awareness of your brand and trust in you as an authority on the subject. That helps cultivate positive word of mouth.

Online Communities

Aside from Reddit, you can identify online forums and communities in which your knowledge and insights are helpful. Advertise where you can directly communicate with your target audience and present your company as an industry expert and an especially caring brand that helps customers.

Formerly Google AdWords, this feature of Google displays sponsored Google Ads on Google SERPs, with the results of their searches for content containing keywords to which your business is relevant. This provides you with broad-reaching exposure. 

Google Display Network

This is Google’s network of millions of sites where your B2B ads can appear. It’s a vast array of opportunities for exposure to help build your brand. GDN ads can be presented in various digital formats, including text and banners. Ad campaigns can be modified to fit users’ preferred demographics and interests and to increase their relevance.

Influencer Blogs

Find popular business blogs in industries to which you want to appeal. The bloggers have become influential in their field, delivering helpful insights to their audiences on a wide range of topics that are highly relevant to them. Advertising on such sites can boost your branding efforts and strengthen your reputation with your target audience, especially if the influencer personally endorses your product.

Podcasts and Webinars

Popular online programs draw strongly engaged audiences. So, ads appearing with such content and sponsoring them financially make your business a part of the elevated conversation among the industry members you seek to reach. That can increase your credibility with leaders in the field served by the podcast.

For B2B purchasing, studies indicate that decision-makers view ads in newspapers and publications like The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Inc., Fortune, and others as more credible than other types of advertising.

Brochures and Flyers

Brochures are information-rich. They give the marketer room to tell the story of the product and the brand much more fully and guide the B2B prospect to closing. Flyers are convenient and can make a big splash with local distribution. 

Outdoor Ads

Outdoor advertising may seem old-school, but it still works very well. Depending on your B2B product message, placing your ads in areas with high visibility to your target audience works. Signs, billboards, digital signs, banners, flags, vehicle wraps, and even human directives can be very effective. Sponsorship of outdoor events can also accomplish wonders for local branding.

TV Ads

Television ads are the premium brand builders, used to dazzle and captivate viewers and excite them to action brand awareness among prospective clients. Yes, it’s the most expensive, but quality TV ads can be well worth the investment and produce more profitable results than any other form of B2B ad.

Business to Business Advertising: Final Tips

We have entered a veritable age of video marketing. So, whatever venue you choose for your advertising activities, consider incorporating video. Display product explainer videos, feature and benefit videos, etc., on your website. At least one study indicates that quality video increases conversion rates by over 55%.

Other advice includes optimizing your site for mobile users. Research shows that a staggering percentage of mobile device users (nearly all) bounce from sites with poorly behaving page elements or slow load times.

Above all, by any means, perform A/B Testing to ascertain whether your digital mailers are capturing and keeping recipients’ attention sufficiently to be worth your efforts. Continue tweaking the elements of your personalized marketing emails, from subject lines to CTAs.  

In other words, find out where your B2B audience is spending time, form advertising that fits that venue, and message it to make it all it can be – be bold and jazz it up a little. People appreciate that creative effort. Then, present your ads with sufficient frequency to help ensure that your message is being received by the people you most want to inform of the benefits you’re offering.

Have you followed every tip in this article already? Congratulations, you are doing it right and you can expect your metrics to show that!

June 5, 2024
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