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B2B Demand Generation Part III: Pay-per-click or Sponsored Updates?

Posted by Kenneth Connolly on 16-Apr-2015 17:17:00

Study shows that being on the top page of Google gets at least 33% of the search traffic - cjgdigitalmarketing 

Pay-per-click advertising, as the name suggests, is a process of advertising on popular search engine results pages or websites and incurring a charge every time someone clicks your advertisement. The premise is that depending on the term the user entered into the search engine, the more relevant advertisements they’ll see. The outcome then, is that by creating keyword-specific advertisements they should appear in front of the people most likely to be looking for that solution and therefore are more likely to click on them. All sounds straightforward, right? So PPC ads should definitely be part of every one of your multi-channel marketing campaigns from now on? Not quite.

B2B Demand Generation PPC

Given that this form of advertising is based on focused keyword usage such as specific solutions or even brand names, the prospects searching these phrases are most likely in the decision stage of their buying process. The outcome then is that this form of PPC advertising may be good for lead generation, but not so good for demand generation and targeting prospects in their research stage. 

LinkedIn is the world’s largest business network with roughly 300 million members in more than 200 countries - webmarketingtoday.com 

As we all know, LinkedIn is the social media network for professionals, which means that this is the ideal place to focus your efforts when targeting prospects and key decision-makers. Within the LinkedIn social network, there is an opportunity to publish sponsored updates on a pay-per-click basis. Similar to PPC ads on search engines, this allows you to get your information in front of those who are most likely going to engage with it… but in a much more targeted and in-depth way. 

Unlike PPC ads which are limited to a small number of words, LinkedIn sponsored updates allow you to create much larger posts, add images, and of course benefit from social media tools such as Likes, shares and comments. Unlike search engines which use keyword targeting to determine which users see your ads, LinkedIn provides a much more targeted solution, allowing you to choose your audience based on… 

  • Industry
  • Geography
  • Company
  • Job title
  • Role in the company
  • Membership in LinkedIn groups 

This means that instead of your ads being a reaction to someone’s search term, you can actually position your update in front of prospects that meet the criteria of your ideal lead/customer. The outcome is that this form of marketing no longer targets prospects in the decision stage of their buying process, but can in fact proactively approach prospects that have not yet even begun their research stage. 

Content drives 7x the engagement of job-related postings on LinkedIn - ExactTarget 

Given that the prospects who see your sponsored update may not be aware they have an issue, these posts are a great opportunity to help educate them and also show thought leadership. As we know, demand generation is all about converting prospects to leads, so driving prospects to your landing pages is a key factor. 

Use well-targeted and highly relevant updates to highlight information that the prospect may wish to read, and then direct them to your landing pages to download the related content.  From this stage onwards, your landing page design, copy and call to action will be responsible for converting the prospect to a lead, but getting them here was entirely the work of the PPC sponsored update – that’s demand generation in action. 

To find out more about LinkedIn advertising and getting the most from your social media strategy…

Download our B2B Social Selling on LinkedIn Ebook

Topics: B2B Lead Generation, B2B Pay-per-click, pay-per-click marketing, B2B Demand Generation