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April 5, 2015

“Can Facebook actually work for business software and services?”

This is the first question we hear from companies wading into this space. It’s a fair question – Facebook often feels like a place where games and click-bait content rule. But, we’re confident (after having proven this for multiple clients) that the answer is “absolutely.”

 

Facebook B2B advertising Pros

  • Constant, Consistent Reach – With 1 billion users and counting, chances are that your audience is on Facebook. And, not just occasionally – over a dozen times a day. Given that purchase decisions around the business vertical are often more intensive given their costs and organizational implications, a medium that affords you a constant, consistent way to reach your audience is crucial.
  • Incredible Targeting – Need to reach the Chief Marketing Officer? Accountants in a certain industry? There’s no better way to do so than on Facebook. Utilizing a series of audience targeting options, you’ll ensure you’re speaking to the actual decision maker.
  • Ability to Create New Demand – Channels like search engine marketing are great for harvesting existing intent. Facebook, on the other hand, enables you to create new demand and reach fresh prospects.

Now that we know the opportunity is there, it’s time to consider best practices for success:

 

#1: Test Different Services and Plans

Whereas e-commerce companies might test through hundreds, if not thousands, of SKUs in their advertising, your options are much more limited. Still, it’s worth spending time testing different service categories or pricing plans in campaigns. It’s likely that one in particular will resonate best, but you won’t know until you test each against one another. We’ve witnessed a particular category performing 30-40% better on a consistent basis than all other options.

It’s proven that offering a free sample is a strong strategy. Utilizing this technique will improve your conversion rates on your campaigns – putting more prospects in front of your product or service at a lower cost. Of course, you’ll need a strong product-market fit (a requirement for acquisition campaigns in the first place!) to ensure trial users convert well to full purchasing users.

Related links: What Converts Better: Free Trial or Money-Back Guarantee?

 

#2: Be Relentless With Creative

It’s understood that click-through rates in the business vertical are much lower than other verticals. However, this should not be used as an excuse to allow poor performing creative to be your baseline. You’ll need to scratch and claw your way for every point of improvement at the ad level. Construct a strong framework for creative testing that will allow you to iterate through the core element of creative at a good pace. The effort will be worth it. If you can stand out amongst a group where the bar is low, you will be rewarded with lower costs and greater velocity in reaching your audience.

Related links: Saas Facebook Ad Teardown

 

#3: Be Specific With Creative

To be successful in the business vertical, it’s more important to generate large, key purchases from a small segment of the right people rather than small scattered purchases from a broad audience. Remember this, and craft creative to speak to specific people. If you are attempting to reach only accountants, a headline of “The app that has changed how accountants work” is certainly stronger than “The app that has changed how people work.”

 

#4: Utilize Facebook’s Global Scale

Take advantage of the fact that your service can likely work anywhere in the world. Other countries often produce lower CPAs than the United States. Start by launching campaigns in countries which you are already seeing strong organic growth, and move out from there by trying other countries with strong English speaking audiences. Once you’ve done this, test translated campaigns in other countries to reach another new audience. We’ve seen these techniques reveal costs in other countries that were consistently 40-50% lower than the United States.

Related Links:
List of countries by English speaking population  
Translations on One Hour Translation or Fiverr

 

5: Consider Weekday vs. Weekend Performance

We’ve seen time and time again that performance for business vertical campaigns fare better during the week versus the weekend, sometimes up to 25%. This makes sense given that many purchases here take place in an actual office, or at least when someone is in a work mindset. Keep a close eye on this and shape your budgets accordingly to make sure you’re spending at optimal times.

 

6: Understand Your Attribution Window

Purchases within the business vertical are often well thought out and sometimes require multiple people to weigh in. As a result, it’s the norm to expect a nice lift in performance over time. We’ve seen conversions to increase upwards of 40% when looking at Week 4 compared to Week 1. Be sure to consider this by building this expectation in, and revisiting campaigns as they mature.

We’re bullish on utilizing Facebook as a strong acquisition channel for business campaigns, especially if careful attention is paid to best practices as outlined above. We always love hearing from companies wading into the world of Facebook, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!


Interested in taking your Facebook ad strategy to the next level? Learn more about Bamboo’s Facebook advertising expertise and services >

About Bamboo

We design and execute highly scalable paid social programs for world-class brands in a mobile-first world.

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