April 15, 2024
Darren Stewart

10 B2B PPC Hacks

10 Hacks for B2B Marketers looking to optimise their PPC campaigns with some quick fixes.

These are my top ‘hacks’ or optimisations I like to implement on Google Ads when looking at a new account. Most of these are not rocket-science but they are a few simple tweaks that I’ve learnt can help B2B specific PPC campaigns due to the nature of the B2B buyer audience. Some may not be relevant to you but hopefully at least one is useful.

1. Adjust Mobile Bids down by 90%

Running an optimised B2B PPC strategy means making your ads as efficient as possible. That means spending the bulk of your budget in the right place at the right time. For B2B companies, adjusting your bids on mobile devices is an example of a marginal gain that can benefit your PPC campaigns.

Yes buyers will see your ads on mobile devices but the majority of high-intent searches for B2B services are done on desktops.

The reality of working for a company that sells to other companies is that the purchase is with the company's money and not the buyers. Also the purchase and work is generally done during working hours and during the week. All these elements point to the fact that most buyers will be searching whilst using a desktop screen or laptop rather than on a mobile device.

It’s important to note that I’m not suggesting no searches are done on mobile, my point is that to optimise your campaigns you need to spend your budget where you stand the best chance of getting conversions.

If you have an endless budget then maybe it doesn’t matter so much, but remember Google will always try to spend your money for you.

This is a ‘hack’ recommended specifically for a lot of B2B companies because it allows most of your budget to be spent on desktop searches. Although it's right that google’s algorithms will optimise your campaigns for you, if that was the case you wouldn’t need any specialists to manage your campaigns for you!

You can set bid adjustments on a campaign or account level, we would recommend setting it on an account level to ensure it covers all your campaigns and if you set it to 90% it pretty much will exclude mobile devices from your PPC ads.

2. Split your Campaigns & Budget By Region

This is especially relevant for companies based outside the USA. You should always try to have duplicate campaigns for each of your target regions. You will be targeting the same keywords in the campaigns but they will be set to charge different regions.

Splitting campaigns by region is useful because it usually aligns with your internal budgets and go-to-market strategy. Many companies have specific strategies by region and this means separate budgets.

Another reason to split them out is because of the difference in addressable market size. The US has a huge market compared to the UK so if you combine your budgets and ads you may find you have little to know budget to address the US market later in the day once the campaign has used up the budget on the UK market.

The final reason is analysis and reporting. It’s really helpful when reporting on campaign performance to be able to easily see how campaigns run in different markets, it also makes the account much easier to manage.

3. Connect to Google Ads to Google Search Console

This is not such a hack as an admin recommendation and something we do to be able to combine both SEO and PPC into one truly combined strategy. By linking Google Search Console to Google Ads you enable a report within Google Ads that allows you to see organic performance vs paid performance for your keywords.

This Organic & Paid report in Google Ads is really good for improving both your SEO and PPC and using the combined data.

4. Don’t use broad match type

The match types in Google Ads have changed over the years and with the improvements made to the algorithms that automatically show ads at the best times you can be forgiven if you leave everything up to Google to decide.

It is true that by using broad match you provide Google with more data to optimise your ads and if you are really sure about your keyword research then perhaps you can try using broad match terms, but, generally I would recommend not to use broad match.

Why? Well, exact match and phrase match types already include an element of looking and targeting similar terms, [exact match] is not really exact anymore so you already have an element of automated targeting without broadening your target keywords too much. The other reason is that if you have done your keyword research well enough you should have a really good idea about where to show your ads and therefore don’t need to waste money allowing Google to suggest other terms that may not be correct - you’ll also spend a lot of your time managing your negative keyword list.

5. Exclude educational audiences

Google has lots of in-built audiences that are created based on user data. These audiences can be used for either observation or to narrow or expand your current keyword targeting. One audience that is useful to exclude in most cases are those that relate to people who are at university or higher education.

Usually what happens with a campaign that has an automated bidding strategy, you may end up getting more conversions from students and educational buyers and as these are treated as high-value by Google Ads it then starts to optimise the campaigns for the similar audience and you will get more and more. Therefore I recommend excluding these audiences from the start, unless you are specifically targeting them of course.

6. Low conversions? Use micro-conversions to train Google

A common issue many enterprise B2B PPC strategies face is the lack of volume of traffic and conversions and therefore a lack in data to optimise campaigns. One way to get around this is to utilise micro-conversions such as page views to train algorithms to optimise for certain buyers.

2You can even assign a fake monetary value to these conversions to train the algorithm to optimise as if you were selling something online. This data helps the computer learn faster and will optimise based on other interactions rather than just the hero conversion.

7. Spend 80% of your budget on high-intent keywords

One of the most common mistakes with B2B PPC campaigns is that most of a person's budget ends up being used by the searches with the most volume. This is completely predictable, of course the queries with the most searches will trigger more ads and therefore spend money faster.

The problem is, these search queries are often the more general queries that show less intent to buy and therefore lead less quality leads and conversions. We still want to bid on some of these terms in some way but we want to be spending the majority of our PPC budget on high-intent terms and leave the broader ones to your SEO work.

You can do this by splitting out campaigns not only by region but by intent and then assigning budget accordingly to the relevant campaigns.

8. Import conversions from GA and use Optimise for conversions bidding strategy

The simplest way to optimise your Google Ad campaigns is to ensure that you have your key conversion goals (usually submit a form) recording in Google Analytics correctly. Once you have this done you can then import these conversion goals into Google Ads to track conversions. This is better than manually configuring conversions as it means you conversions are syncing correctly between Google Analytics and Google Ads.

Once you have imported your conversions you can start to optimise your campaigns based on conversions. This is a better approach than maximising clicks which is something that is often done by marketers because it trains the algorithm to prioritise ads that drive conversions rather than just clicks.

9. Target large conferences and large campuses

If you are aware of any large conferences your buyers attend that may be held in a city like San Francisco. A good example would be the salesforce conference. Because thousands of people attend these conferences they likely stay in the city and they are often held in large venues.

You can use radius targeting in Google Ads location settings. This can also be useful if you are targeting specific regions in cities or large tech campuses like the Google or Apple HQs. A good example of this would be targeting the area in London where a lot of tech companies are, or a lot of law firms etc. 

10. Turn off search partner networks

Google always suggests for you to tick the box that expands your ads into their search partner network as it gives more opportunities for your ads to reach a wider audience. One issue with this is that you lose control of where your ads appear.

These additional sites and therefore clicks also use up your budget so its better to consolidate your budget into their areas where you have more control over your ads. 

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