In this article, we’ll explore the question of whether Google Ads works and can deliver positive results in the B2B awareness stage. We’ll provide an overview of Google Ads and the B2B awareness stage, including the challenges of creating brand awareness in the B2B market.
We’ll also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using Google Ads during the awareness stage and share case studies of successful B2B awareness campaigns using Google Ads. Further down the article, we will provide tips for maximizing ad performance, including creating compelling ad content, conducting thorough keyword research, and targeting the right audience.t.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how Google Ads can be used in the B2B awareness phase and how to create successful ad campaigns that achieve your marketing goals. Whether you’re just starting out in B2B marketing or looking to improve your existing campaigns, this article will provide valuable insights and strategies to help you succeed.
Overview of Google Ads
Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google search that allows businesses to display their ads on Google’s search results pages and its partner sites. Advertisers can choose from various ad formats, such as text, display, video, and shopping ads.
Targeting options include keywords, location, demographics, interests, and remarketing. The cost structure of Google Ads is based on a bidding system, where advertisers compete for ad placements by setting a maximum cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM).
Usage of Google Ads in SaaS B2B marketing
According to a recent study, Google Ads are the most popular advertising channel used by B2B SaaS marketers, with 41% of marketers using it as their primary channel. This is followed by content marketing (19%), social media advertising (17%), and email marketing (10%).
The study also found that B2B SaaS marketers allocate an average of 14% of their budget to Google Ads. This indicates that Google Ads are a widely used and effective advertising channel for B2B SaaS businesses.
The B2B Awareness Phase
The B2B awareness stage is the initial phase of the sales funnel where potential customers first become aware of a company’s products or services. During this stage, businesses face the challenge of generating brand awareness and capturing the attention of their target audience.
To achieve this, they typically employ a mix of content marketing strategies, including blog posts, social media postings, ads, or many other things related to content marketing.
Sales-Led vs product-led marketing in the awareness stage
In the B2B SaaS world, there are two primary marketing approaches: sales-led and product-led. Sales-led marketing involves a sales team that reaches out to potential customers and persuades them to make a purchase. In contrast, product-led marketing involves a focus on creating a great product that users will love and recommend, resulting in increased brand awareness and sales.
During the awareness phase, product-led marketing can be particularly effective in generating interest and building trust with potential customers by providing valuable content that educates and informs them about the product and its benefits. In contrast, sales-led marketing in the awareness stage typically involves more direct outreach to potential customers through cold calling or email marketing.
While both approaches can be effective, the product-led approach is often more successful in the awareness stage as it focuses on creating a product that speaks for itself and attracts potential customers without the need for direct outreach.
Benefits of Using Google Ads and search engine marketing (SEM) in the B2B Awareness Stage
Targeting specific audiences
By using the targeting options available in Google Ads, advertisers can reach specific audiences based on demographics, location, interests, and behavior. This helps ensure that their ads are seen by the right people, which can result in higher click-through rates and conversions.
Measuring ad performance and ROI
Google Ads provides detailed metrics on ad performance, such as impressions, click-through rates, and conversions. Advertisers can use this information to optimize their ad campaigns, make data-driven decisions, and track their return on investment.
Promoting brand awareness through various ad formats
Google Ads offers various ad formats, such as display ads, video ads, and responsive search ads. Advertisers can use these ad formats to create visually appealing and engaging ads that promote brand awareness and reach potential customers at different stages of the funnel.
Attracting users deeper into the funnel
By altering the actual keywords, B2B SaaS advertisers can easily attract fewer awareness phase prospects (top of the funnel TOFU) and more users deeper in the funnel, such as those in the middle of the funnel (MOFU) or bottom of the funnel (BOFU).
For example, a B2B SaaS company can use keywords like “free trial” or “product demo” to target users who are more likely to be interested in their product and are closer to making a purchasing decision. This can lead to higher conversion rates and a greater return on investment.
For deeper-in-the-funnel activities, remarketing campaigns are a viable way to go as well.
Overall, Google Ads offers several benefits for B2B marketers in the awareness stage. By targeting specific audiences, measuring ad performance, and using various ad formats, advertisers can create effective ad campaigns that reach and engage their target audience.
However, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks and limitations of Google Ads at this stage, as well as how to overcome them to achieve the best results.
Drawbacks or Limitations of Google Ads and PPC advertising in the B2B Awareness Stage
While Google Ads can be effective in reaching potential customers who are actively searching for related products or services, they may not reach all potential customers in the B2B market. This is especially true for customers who may not be aware of the business or have not yet entered the awareness phase.
High competition: In highly competitive industries, Google Ads may be more expensive and less effective due to the number of advertisers vying for the same keywords and target audience. This is particularly true in the SaaS B2B marketing world, where big players often outbid smaller ones for the limited search volumes of highly in-demand keywords, making it difficult for smaller businesses to compete.
Some potential customers may develop ad blindness and overlook or ignore ads in search results or on websites. This is particularly true for customers who have been exposed to a large number of ads or who are using ad-blocking software.
Low search volume
This results in many advertisers bidding on too broad keywords: In some cases, low search volume for specific keywords may result in many advertisers bidding on too broad keywords, making it more difficult to target the right audience effectively.
Expensive clicks are often still in the awareness phase
While searchers may be actively looking for a solution, it’s important to remember that they may still be in the awareness phase of the B2B marketing funnel. This means that they may not yet be ready to make a purchasing decision (they have basically just started their buyers’ journey), and attempting to convert them right away may not be effective.
B2B SaaS marketing advertisers must recognize that it takes time to nurture prospects through the entire buying journey, from awareness to consideration to decision-making. By creating a well-crafted funnel that provides valuable content and engages with prospects at every stage, advertisers can build trust and credibility, and ultimately increase the likelihood of conversions.
Don’t expect too much initial engagement through a Google Ads campaign
The importance of providing valuable content cannot be overstated when it comes to B2B SaaS marketing. Users are unlikely to provide their contact details or book a meeting after clicking on a paid search and arriving at your landing page.
By offering them valuable content that helps them solve a problem or answers their questions, businesses can start building trust with potential customers and increase the likelihood of converting them in the future. It’s essential to provide content that is relevant, informative, and tailored to the needs of the target audience.
Remember, these visitors still don’t know you and are still in the awareness phase, so it’s still a long way to MQL, SQL, or sales pipeline phase.
While these potential drawbacks or limitations should be considered when using Google Ads in the B2B awareness stage, advertisers can take steps to overcome them. By using targeted keywords, relevant ad copy, and compelling ad formats, advertisers can increase the effectiveness of their ad campaigns.
Additionally, by monitoring ad performance and making data-driven decisions, advertisers can optimize their campaigns for the best results.
Tips for maximizing Google AdWords performance in the SaaS B2B awareness stage
Strategies for creating compelling ad content
In the B2B SaaS world, ad content needs to be informative, and educational, and highlight the product’s unique features and benefits. To create compelling ad content, focus on providing value to potential customers by addressing their pain points and offering solutions that meet their needs.
The more you use the Google display network the more important this point gets.
Importance of keyword research and selection
For B2B SaaS companies, keyword research is crucial for identifying the right keywords that potential customers are searching for. Conduct thorough research to identify relevant keywords and phrases that align with your product or service, and select the most effective keywords to target in ad campaigns.
Targeting options to reach the right audience
In the B2B SaaS market, targeting options need to be highly specific to reach the right audience. Consider targeting options such as job titles, company size, and industry to reach potential customers who are more likely to be interested in your product or service.
Ways to optimize ad performance and budget allocation
B2B SaaS marketers need to optimize ad performance and budget allocation to ensure they are getting the most out of their ad spend. Test different ad formats, targeting options, and bidding strategies to determine what works best for your business and adjust accordingly to maximize return on investment.
Importance of ICP and buyer personas
Before bidding on rare keywords with low search volume and high competition, B2B SaaS companies need to have their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer personas in place. These strategies help to identify the most relevant and valuable target audience for your product or service, allowing you to effectively target potential customers with Google Ads campaigns that align with their needs and interests.
Importance of monitoring and conversion optimization for paid search campaigns
B2B SaaS companies need to continuously monitor and optimize their paid search campaigns to ensure they are getting the most out of their ad spend. The cost per click for Google Ads can be quite high, making it essential to track metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on investment.
Depending on the type of campaign (search ads, retargeting, display ads), different optimization approaches may be necessary, such as adjusting ad copy, targeting options, or bidding strategies. By monitoring and optimizing paid search campaigns, B2B SaaS companies can improve ad performance and achieve a greater return on investment.
Here’s a little tutorial by Google:
The role of landing pages in Google Ads campaigns for B2B SaaS companies
For B2B SaaS companies, landing pages are critical for converting potential customers and driving business growth. To create effective landing pages, consider the following tips:
- Keep the messaging consistent: Make sure the messaging on the landing page aligns with the messaging in the Google Ads campaign. This helps create a seamless experience for potential customers and increases the likelihood of conversion.
- Focus on providing value: Landing pages should offer valuable information that addresses the pain points and needs of potential customers. This can include product information, case studies, testimonials, and other relevant content that educates and informs.
- Optimize for mobile: B2B SaaS companies should optimize landing pages for mobile devices to ensure maximum effectiveness. This includes using responsive design, ensuring fast load times, and simplifying forms and calls to action.
- Use clear calls to action: Make sure the landing page includes clear and prominent calls to action that align with the goals of the Google Ads campaign. This can include signing up for a trial, requesting a demo, or contacting sales.
Linkedin lead generation vs Facebook ads vs Google cost-per-click
Comparing the effectiveness of different advertising channels can be a valuable exercise for B2B SaaS marketers. LinkedIn lead-generation campaigns can be highly effective for targeting specific job titles and industries, while Facebook ads can be useful for reaching broader audiences.
However, Google cost-per-click campaigns can offer a unique combination of targeting options, ad formats, and measurable results that make them an essential part of any B2B SaaS marketing strategy in the awareness stage. It’s important to test different channels and optimize campaigns based on their effectiveness in achieving your marketing goals.
I have seen great results on social media platforms as well as PPC campaigns, really depending on the product itself. You will need to test the different platforms, but try to ‘fail fast’ (and ‘succeed fast’).
In conclusion, Google Ads can be a highly effective tool for B2B SaaS companies looking to generate interest and build brand awareness during the awareness stage of the sales funnel.
By adopting a product-led marketing approach, providing valuable content that educates and informs potential customers, and implementing the tips and strategies outlined in this article, B2B SaaS companies can create effective Google Ads campaigns that target the right audience, generate interest, and increase conversions.
However, it’s important to remember that creating effective brand awareness can be challenging in the B2B market, which is why it’s important to have a combination of content and marketing strategies that resonate with potential customers. By continuously monitoring and optimizing Google Ads campaigns and having ICP and buyer persona strategies in place, B2B SaaS companies can achieve a greater return on investment and drive success in their business.