Facebook Marketing for the B2B Client

There’s a common misconception that Facebook advertising is only relevant for consumer-based products, leaving companies who focus on business-to-business services scratching their heads. But what are B2B audiences if not consumers for their company? 77% of all employees admit to browsing social media while on the clock, giving these B2B focused companies ample opportunities to reach their core audience while they may be in the purchasing mindset. Today we pull back on the curtain on this misconception to discuss all things B2B Marketing on Facebook with our very own Emily Martin.


What you’ll learn in this episode of Getting Granular:

  • The big question – is your business a good fit for advertising on Facebook? (03:00)
  • Prospective on the B2B marketing funnel (06:04)
  • Don’t forget the creative (08:49)
  • What does using Facebook correctly look like? (10:44)
    • Audience retargeting (12:44)
    • Lookalike audiences (15:20)
    • Website visitors retargeting (17:00)
    • The LinkedIn hack (18:11)
    • Interest-based targeting (20:30)
  • The Pros & Cons (22:34)


Chris: There’s a common misconception that Facebook advertising is only relevant for consumer-based products. But what are B2B audiences, if not consumers for their company? 77% of all employees admit to browsing social media while on the clock, giving you ample opportunity to reach them while they may be in the purchasing mindset.

Narrator: Welcome to Getting Granular, the podcast where digital marketing experts from the agency granular talk about the latest trends, tried and true best practices, and share their unfiltered thoughts about the industry. Whether you are here to learn how to grow your business, improve your digital skills, or just want to hear some Midwest PPC experts rant about digital media, you’ve come to the right place.

Chris: Thank you everyone once again, for tuning into the getting granular podcast. I am your host, Chris Cesar, a senior manager of paid media here at Granular. And I am joined once again by one of my favorite guests, Emily Martin.

Emily: Ooh.

Chris: Also a senior manager of paid media here at Granular. Welcome Emily.

Emily: Thank you, Chris. Thank you for having me on my favorite podcast.

Chris: So before we jump into what we’re here to talk about today, I think we got to talk about the big news.

Emily: Yeah. What’s that?

Chris: I think you know. You are now the first Facebook face person, first meta certified person at the agency.

Emily: Yeah, I guess so.

Chris: Well, congratulations. How is that going for you? How do you feel? How was the process and tell us all about it.

Emily: Yeah. Thanks. Well, thanks for asking and the congratulations. Appreciate it. It was an interesting process. So Chris, like you know, everyone here at Granular has gone through the Google Certification Program and we’re all Google certified. But this was the first time I personally took the Facebook meta certification. And it was definitely a different process. Had to study. And then you have to take the exam in an empty room and someone watches you on camera to make sure you’re being honest, you are who you say you are.

Emily: And the part that really threw me, honestly, more than any of the questions was that I … They have you on camera, but they have you look at yourself on the top of the screen. So you see yourself. So the half the test, I was just focused on looking at myself and it was distracting. But we got through it and I’m glad I passed and now we can apply what I learned. Because I did learn some things that I didn’t necessarily know that actually I’m going to talk about here later in this podcast and we could take that to our clients. So it’s pretty exciting stuff there.

Chris: That’s good to know. And what’s the exact certification?

Emily: So there’s a couple different ones that you can take. I took the Media Buying Professional one because that’s most relevant for obviously our jobs. But they have a bunch of different ones. Everything from the creative for designers to developers and such. So I recommend it, really, for anyone.

Chris: Very cool. Well, once again, congratulations. And that’s a good reason we have you on today since you’re now the Facebook expert. A question that we get from a lot of our B2B clients and B2B prospects is whether or not they’re a good fit for advertising on Facebook.

Emily: Yeah. Yeah. This is a big one. I feel like most B2B clients we onboard, we have this discussion at some point during the first two months. And that discussion is really … there’s a lot of … I don’t know if it’s a misconception on their end or just something that’s gone over time, but it’s no we’re advertising to business, not consumers. So why would Facebook, Instagram be a good place for us to advertise?

Emily: And it’s a topic I like to talking about because I am a big Facebook advertiser fan, Instagram, as well, just because I’ve seen the power that the ad platform has. And at the end of the day, even though you’re a B2B business, you’re not marketing to other businesses. You are marketing to other people who work at businesses who have the purchasing power and are the decision makers. And you need to meet those people where they are. And a lot of people are on Facebook and Instagram.

Chris: Yeah. So I think that, that goes into some research we did while we were prepping for this. Like you mentioned, when someone is logging onto Facebook, are they logging on with the intention of buying something? Probably not. But we did … We were-

Emily: Not on purpose, at least.

Chris: True. I have had some very accidental purchases, but I just happened to see as I scrolled social media.

Emily: Yeah. I’ve been there.

Chris: And that’s a good jumping off point where in a 2018 article we found about social media in the workplace by digital information world, a study they did found that 77% of people in the workforce access their social media while working and 27% of them admitted to using it for social purposes. Be it talking with their friends and family or sharing life updates, postings pics.

Emily: Sure.

Chris: TBD if that includes having nice political, heated arguments on Facebook. But …

Emily: Yeah.

Chris: We’ll leave that up for everybody else to decide.

Emily: Yeah. That’s actually crazy. I’m just looking at the stat again on paper and this was done in 2018, like you mentioned. But now it’s 2022. I can only imagine that number has gone up since then, especially with the increased, people being virtual or communication, just being really driven online.

Chris: Well it’s 77% of people admitted to using social media.

Emily: Yeah, that’s true.

Chris: So that number may not have gone up.

Emily: People are probably still lying. But yeah, it’s really interesting. But yeah, at the end of the day, we’re advertising to people and we need to meet where they’re at and if 77% of people are admitting to be on social … Even if they’re not at work, if it’s off hours, it’s hard to turn off the work brain completely. I’ll have a thought about work randomly at 3:00 AM. So yeah, that’s really interesting.

Chris: I think one, and to take that a step further, it’s not necessarily since we’re talking a lot about, I see something on Facebook and it’s, oh, I buy it because it was 20 bucks and I may or may not have made a great decision.

Emily: Yeah.

Chris: Something like a Facebook ad may not necessarily be the lowest funnel thing if I’m selling industrial machinery or whatever it may be where my end goal is a lead generation from a business. I think we, you have to view it as a potential higher funnel option where you’ll get in front of that person, make an impression on them. They may or may not click and follow through and read more about you. But the fact that you made that impression on them, they’re now aware of you, if they hadn’t been previously, and now they’ll be able to follow that through. If in three months from now, the time comes, okay, I need X machine for my warehouse. Oh, I’m familiar with this brand or this company that advertised to me previously and-

Emily: Right.

Chris: That can end up

Emily: I at least had one interaction.

Chris: Exactly.

Emily: And I might not remember where that was. If you look at logos. I can’t remember, I can’t tell you the first time I saw a McDonald’s logo. Stuff like that. So … and that’s a really good point. And that comes down to, like you mentioned, it might be higher funnel campaigns that you’re running on B2B. But then it’s up to your company and maybe the agency that you work with to really decide, okay, how are we going to define whether this B2B campaign was successful or not? Because if we just throw money on Facebook, I guarantee you, you’ll get impressions. You’ll get clicks. That’s a guarantee. But how then are we deciding if it was a successful campaign or not? You know. We’re looking at click through rate; we’re looking at the bounce rate once we’re on the landing page and so forth. So I think making sure you manage those expectations and have clear defined metrics that you are willing, wanting to measure, is a very big part before, well, when you start any campaign, but especially a B2B campaign.

Chris: Sure. And I think you touched on it a little bit, but to more specifically call it out is that Facebook is just going to be one touch point in that entire buying journey.

Emily: A hundred percent. Yeah. And that’s something that we can’t lose fact on; we’re going to have to hit these people more than once. Typically, when you’re selling B2B products, they are typically more expensive. There’s something for a company that a company buys and most people aren’t making those purchase decisions overnight. It usually has to get approved. There are many hands in the pot. So that’s another good call out that is important to just keep in mind.

Emily: Another topic I like to talk about, especially with B2B, because there’s that stigma of B2B advertising has to be boring. Because we’re marketing maybe not an exciting product, not something consumer-based. So our creative has to be boring. And that is just far from the truth. Because again, like we talked about, you’re not advertising to a business. You are advertising to people and those decision makers. So it’s so important that you understand the human component to the product that you’re selling. What is that purchase buyer’s/decision maker’s needs, wants, fears, problems? You know? It’s so important. More important than almost consumer-based to really understand who that person is behind the computer.

Chris: Sure. Do you, off the top of your head, know of any … Can you think of any good B2B messaging you’ve seen recently?

Emily: So we work in, obviously, digital marketing/advertising space. So the type of B2B messaging I’ll get is, for me, personally, on my personal social media, and I’ll see it on various social channels; honestly, even starting to get hit on TikTok with a lot of this stuff, is really different applications or third party tools that different companies have created to help marketers make their job “easier” or automate. So that’s a lot of the B2B I see. And I will say a lot of that creative is good. I don’t get served boring ads and that could be the space we’re in. But that’s really the top stuff I’ve seen. I’ve worked with some B2B clients in the past that have done some really cool creative stuff, especially when it comes down to really focusing on educating their potential buyer and not just asking for something. But providing, really providing value, is huge, so.

Chris: Okay. So Facebook, I think we’ve go a good baseline. Facebook has the potential to be successful if we use it correctly.

Emily: hmm.

Chris: So let’s talk a little bit more about, okay, what does using it correctly look like?

Emily: Yeah.

Chris: What are options when it comes to Facebook?

Emily: Yeah, exactly. Because that’s what comes down to the success of any campaign. Making sure everything’s set up to the best we can and then testing, and then reevaluating as we go. So my favorite part about Facebook is their algorithm, especially their ad algorithm, is crazy. It’s very good. It’s really the top of the line as far as social platforms go at this point, in my opinion. So a lot of different things we can do here. When it comes to B2B advertising, ones that I would look at and we can go into these, one by one, but just rattling them off at the top is I love doing custom audience lists. So uploading either … if you have a list of prospects or current customers that might be interested in this other product or so forth. Newsletter subscribers. A lot you could do here, that we can get into.

Emily: Personal favorite of mine is the lookalike audience. This is when you can upload a list and then Facebook can create a list of people who look like these people online. It’s crazy. It’s very powerful. Also, we can do website visitor retargeting. So if there’s a certain page on your website that really calls out the specific product you’re offering, or maybe it was a blog post that gives more information, would be relevant. We can target those users within whatever day, range. And then finally, which is, this is probably the broadest and I would say … I don’t want to say the most riskiest, but I want to say it takes the most work and testing to make sure it’s right. And that’s the interest based audience because it can be so broad.

Chris: Cool. Okay. So I guess let’s start at the top. Take these one by one.

Emily: Yeah.

Chris: So this specific audience list retargeting, I think you already mentioned it’s pretty straightforward and simple what it is. You have a customer list, a prospect list. You just upload the information of those people. Email, name-

Emily: Phone number.

Chris: Depending on how much, yeah. The more info you’ll have about each person, obviously, the more effective you’ll be at reaching them. So, I guess, what are some pros and potential downsides here?

Emily: Yeah, so this is really good for if you have … if you’re looking for a repurchase, a return customer. So let’s say a company has bought one product from you and now you’re coming out with the next version of that product or a product that might go along with that product. This would be an awesome tool because you already know these people have this product. And this gets tough because you obviously have to have the information of the person who bought the product at the company you work for. I realize that. But a lot of places do have that. They have a list of clients or at least newsletters, emails, and so forth. So it can be really powerful for that. No true downsides here. The only thing is that if you run it and it’s not working, the worst thing you do is you pause it. You put a little budget into it and see how big your audience is. I would say, if anything, sometimes I’ll see the retargeting list isn’t big enough. They just won’t have … It won’t match. So …

Chris: Is there, I would say, I would think those were the two things in my mind of potential downsides of, is there a minimum list size we would need to reach people?

Emily: For a lookalike, you need at least a thousand people. So it really has to be roughly that for a customer list as well. And then the last downside, I think, I can think of, too, is what’s on everyone’s mind and that’s privacy. Some companies might not feel comfortable sharing that information to Facebook and so forth. So something to keep in mind.

Chris: Yeah. And I think …. Sorry, to take us one step back.

Emily: No. Yeah.

Chris: My other potential downside was when you said, “Matching,” it could be a matter of someone submitted their information or the information you have of theirs is a work email.

Emily: Right.

Chris: As opposed to what may be, they would be using their personal email.

Emily: Exactly.

Chris: So that may or may not always match up, depending on, again, if you have that supplemental information about that person.

Emily: Yes.

Chris: Cool. So then you did, again, good segue. You mentioned the lookalike audiences. I guess, you want to explain overall what this is.

Emily: Yeah.

Chris: You mentioned “a thousand people.” And then a good example of how we would use that.

Emily: So lookalike audience is also pretty straightforward. Basically, you’re going to upload a customer list like you would in the first one we talked about. And then you are going to tell Facebook that you’d like to make a percentage of this list. So it ranges. You can go from 1% to 10%. 1% is going to be a look alike of the people that are closest to that list. Up to 10% is going to be the most broad. I’ve typically in the past toggled with different percentages to see which worked best. I don’t think, honestly, though, I’ve ever gone above a 6%. And that’s one time and it was a stretch. Usually, to start off, I always start with a 1% look alike. And then you’re really letting the algorithm play and find people who look like that customer list. And again, it might not work for everyone.

Chris: So they’ll share similar interests and web activity?

Emily: Exactly. Yup.

Chris: And things like that. They like similar posts.

Emily: Similar posts. Go to similar sites with the Facebook pixel and so forth. So …

Chris: Yeah. And I think we’ve all established, and it’s common knowledge at this point of how scary good that Facebook is at grouping people together.

Emily: Yeah, absolutely.

Chris: Cool. So I think those are the two we talked the most, the most focused. But then if we were looking to grow a little bit more … and I guess, this next one isn’t super broad, necessarily, but it is helping grow people that we may not have directly interacted with on Facebook.

Emily: For sure. Yeah. This, the website visitor retargeting audience is really good for retargeting people who may have already heard about your brand. Maybe hasn’t taken the action that you want them to take. But you can serve them, potentially, different creative than you would maybe the lookalike audience because you have to figure the lookalike people probably have never heard of you. Maybe they have. Maybe they haven’t. But the website visitors, they’ve definitely heard of you in some capacity because they’ve been on the website, and that audience is basically just taking the Facebook, you have to have the Facebook pixel on your website. You should have that regardless of any Facebook advertising you’re doing, but especially if you’re running this. It’s a must.

Emily: And then it’ll generate based off of a certain date range. I usually start with running a couple different date range. I’ll do like one day out, seven day out, 30-day out and then go from audience size from there. I’ve worked with smaller companies where they can’t generate enough traffic with just the 30-day out and we’ll have to go to 90. So again, there are little toggles you have to do; but a great option, especially for retargeting for B2B.

Chris: So I think another way that we can leverage this website retargeting, and it’s something that as we were planning this out, you came up to me about and I thought it was genius. It was revolutionary. It’s maybe not overall revolutionary, but it was something that I thought was a fantastic idea that I’d never thought about before.

Emily: Oh. You might have to refresh my memory here quick.

Chris: With using, you can use people’s-

Emily: Oh yup, It’s … Oh, okay. I remember. Actually, yes, I thought of this and now-

Chris: I didn’t even have to remind you.

Emily: Okay. And now I’m rethinking about it. And now I just had a conversation earlier today that I almost want to go email that person and be like, actually, we need to do this. I’ve done this before and forgot about it. But here’s my idea with website retargeting, and incorporating Facebook and using the job title targeting with LinkedIn. So what I would do is I would set up a LinkedIn campaign, which targeted specific job titles because that’s a really powerful tool, especially for B2B.

Emily: Because you could be purchasing manager, whatever, so forth. And then I would drive them to a specific landing page. Maybe more top of funnel content, something, give them something of value. And then I would create an audience on Facebook of those people that went to that page from LinkedIn, with those job titles and then retarget them on Facebook with different ad content. It’s almost like we are qualifying the audiences through LinkedIn’s job title targeting. Because most people have their job titles on LinkedIn, not on Facebook, unless they’re unemployed or I don’t know. I feel like I see the weirdest Facebook titles.

Chris: The new people using their titles as inspiration.

Emily: Yeah.

Chris: A inspirational message.

Emily: CEO at my house. Or I’ve seen some great ones. But anyway, so by doing this, it’s a way to all of a sudden, it’s kind of a loophole in the system where you’re sending traffic from a qualified campaign in LinkedIn and then retargeting those people through Facebook. And then, at the same time, you’re also, you’re hitting them twice and you have two opportunities to capture their engagement.

Chris: Yeah. That is actually pretty genius. And I’m pretty upset that I didn’t think about it first. So, I guess, to moving on to our fourth different option of targeting here, like you mentioned, it’s the most broad interest-based targeting. Explain it to me.

Emily: Yeah. So like you mentioned, this is going to be the most broad and this is going to be the one that’s probably going to take the most amount of testing to get right. And then you’re also going to have to work with … you’re also going to have to really understand who that person is you’re trying to sell to because you are thinking of their interests. Whether it’s what are they doing outside of work, what’s their job where they would … What kind of pages would they be searching in work? You know?

Emily: If they work for an outdoor company, they’re probably interested in outdoor, maybe fitness, stuff like that. So you’re really thinking outside the box and developing that persona on Facebook and then advertising to these people. This, like Chris mentioned, like I mentioned, most broad, I would say most risky, and would take the most time to really nail down the correct audience for, but if you get it correct, it can be really powerful because you’re reaching people that might not have known about you before and are potential buyers. So wouldn’t be the one I would start with for B2B. But I’m not ruling it out. That’s my thoughts on that.

Chris: Sure. Do you have an example of a good company that it might work for?

Emily: I would say, a well known company. I would think it would have to be more a company that’s really put the time in with branding. But yeah, and really any company that really understands who that buyer is. And maybe they’re in a specific small niche that there’s a smaller audience. But like if it was a larger manufacturing company that maybe not a lot of people had heard of, it could be difficult. And we probably want to start somewhere else and really start understanding those people before we move into something as broad as interest-based.

Chris: Very cool. So I know we covered a lot about these different options and we touched a little bit on the pros and cons. But let’s dive down a little bit deeper into each one of those. So let’s start off with the pros. Why? You have two minutes. Tell me why I should be using Facebook?

Emily: As a B2B company?

Chris: As a B2B company, trying to find new customers.

Emily: Well, first I would tell you, at the end of the day, you’re not advertising to a company. You’re advertising to a person who works at the company and has buying power. And we need to ultimately reach those people where they are to get our message across. So we stay top of mind. So when they are in that purchasing mindset and making those decisions, that your brand is at the top. Additionally, Facebook and Instagram placements are rather inexpensive compared to a lot of other social platforms, especially when you look at average CPMs on LinkedIn and so forth. So it’s a really good testing ground to get different content out. Also, almost everyone’s on it. It’s crazy, I know. There’s been articles out there that talk about Facebook’s decline. But like we mentioned in the beginning, 77% of people in 2018 were still on it. And as the pandemic has gone, I can only imagine how many more people are logged on. Yup.

Chris: Screen time has gone up, and yeah. And I think because back … Again, 2018 is now three-ish years ago. Didn’t they come out with that announcement where it was one in seven people in the world logged onto to Facebook one day.

Emily: Right.

Chris: And even if that number went down a lot, one in 10 people in the world.

Emily: Yeah. It’s still a lot.

Chris: That’s still a lot of people. So I think that’s something that you just can’t write off just because … It’s like you said, the “Facebook decline” is.

Emily: At the end of the day, it’s worth a test. It is worth spending $5 a day to see if it could work.

Chris: Cool. Yeah. So then, I guess, just for quality’s sake, what might be some potential downsides of, it’s worth a test. What might some downfalls be there?

Emily: The biggest downfall is the potential for wasted, wasted ad spend. Especially if you’re setting up a campaign and you’re not necessarily hitting on the specific points we mentioned earlier. If you are just running a very broad, interest-based campaign, there’s a good chance that you could lose a lot of your money.

Chris: Yeah. Make sure that the person that’s doing it-

Emily: Is doing it right. Yeah.

Chris: Knows what they’re doing and doing it correctly.

Emily: Yeah. And make sure that, that person is like willing to put in the work of testing and optimizing because I don’t think I’ve ever gotten it 100% right the first time I’ve set up a campaign. It’s a matter of trial and error.

Chris: Sure. And I don’t remember who it’s attributed to, but it was an old ad guy back in the day. And I should definitely know who his name is, but one of the monikers was, “Half of my advertising is wasted spend, but the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Emily: Yeah, exactly. So yeah, and I would say the biggest way to combat that is to have those clear KPIs before you launch the campaign and clear expectations of this might not be a huge converter. We might not sell all these products in one day, but really looking at it for what it is.

Chris: Yeah, definitely. So then I guess just to wrap things up here, I think the main takeaway is that if and when we’re using it properly, and like you said, we have those set standard and expectations and KPIs and willing to put in that work and effort, Facebook can be a very excellent tool for me to be advertising. Is there anything else that you would want to add on top of that?

Emily: I think my last 2 cents before we log off here is I just want to reemphasize the importance of B2B creative and that it doesn’t have to be some boring ad. Even if it’s a highly technical product that’s complex, that doesn’t equal it has to be boring. You know? You’re still advertising to people. You still need to recognize their needs. Entertain them, inspire them, educate them. Your ads should be accomplishing at least one of those. And I think that’s all I got.

Chris: That’s very inspiring.

Emily: I’m waiting for it to be on a poster in the office. So.

Chris: All right. You heard this. You heard that Emily is making posts for everybody with the inspirational quotes. Yeah. But no, thanks again for joining us. It’s always a pleasure having you talk about … What now, you’re the senior expert in meta and Facebook.

Emily: Well, thanks for having me. I like taking some time out of the day to talk Facebook, so.

Chris: All right. And thanks everyone else for listening to The Getting Granular podcast. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any PPC tips, tricks, or news in the digital marketing world. Feel free to throw us a Like or throw us a Review. And if there’s anything you do like or don’t like, by all means, we’re always open to feedback, too. Once again, I’ve been your host, Chris Cesar. Thanks for getting granular with us today.