Jeffrey Lupo
Nov 18, 2022

B2B Targeting on Google Search Ads

Ever wonder how Google made its fortune? According to Corporate Eye, 97% of Google's revenue comes from Google Ads. 

You can bet that Google is invested in ensuring its paid advertisement platform is second to none.

If you're interested in B2B-targeting Google Ads, then you've chosen what's arguably the most powerful form of paid advertising on the planet.

By the end of this post you'll understand the following:

  • What B2B ads are
  • How they differ from B2C ads
  • Common challenges running B2B ads
  • 12 steps to kicking off your B2B Google search ad campaign

Let's start with defining terms.

What Are B2B Ads?

Business-to-business (B2B) advertisements are ads in which one company advertises its product or service to another company.

B2C advertising, on the other hand, would be a business advertising directly to a customer for personal use or consumption.

B2C Ads vs. B2B Ads

With B2C advertising, you are typically only targeting one individual.

In contrast, B2B advertising process, you frequently speak with multiple decision-makers, occasionally a whole department. 

B2B transactions can be much more expensive, year-long contracts. For this reason, there's increased purchasing pressure and a longer period for research and deliberation as well as a longer sales cycle.

In short, B2B transactions are not as impulsive as B2C transactions. Understanding and appreciating these distinctions is the first step toward comprehending an effective B2B Google Ads strategy.

Do Google Search Ads Work for B2B?

Yes, Google Ads are an excellent tool for generating high-quality leads with strong buying intent. In fact, the average conversion rate for Google Ads is 75%!

Google provides access to both search and display ads. However, for this article, we'll focus on paid search ads that appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) rather than on a partner or competing website.

When you pay for Google Ads to reach the appropriate party, you obtain higher-quality leads than you would with B2C ads or a traditional lead magnet. One reason is that companies tend to have greater purchasing power than individuals. 

Additionally, a successful transaction more often results in a business relationship involving multiple future purchases.

The key to using Google search ads successfully is selecting the keywords with the highest purchase intent and intelligently utilizing the tools provided by Google Ads.

What Are the Challenges in B2B Advertising?

When it comes to setting up and optimizing B2B Google Ads campaigns, it's normal to run into various challenges. Here are a few of the most notable ones:

  • Google search ads are pay-per-click (PPC), which means you pay every time a user clicks the ad
  • High volume and other competitive keywords are more expensive
  • Primary keywords in niche markets often have low search volume

Additionally, a long sales cycle can make it difficult to determine the return on investment (ROI) of your Google Ads campaign.

How to B2B-Target Google Search Ads

Targeting a B2B audience on Google Ads is relatively simple once you understand your audience and know how long you need to run the campaign.

The B2B audience is constantly learning and searching for value. That could mean thought leadership or informational solutions.

Your ad campaign should be part of a greater strategy to establish a relationship with your audience. As the relationship improves with time, so will your conversion rate.

Ads that lead to content that fully answers user queries, while also producing an ROI, are ads that'll grow a qualified audience.

1. Plan According to the B2B Sales Cycle

Using Google Ads to create trust with your consumers benefits you in two ways:

  • Reduces workload by shortening the sales cycle
  • Increases client retention by producing valuable content.

A B2B sales cycle is, on average, 102 days. However, it's not unusual for deals to take a year to close. 

If you plan to succeed in the long game, it's crucial to identify which stage of the sales funnel your target audience is in when creating an ad campaign. 

Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

TOFU prospects aren't interested in your company. They're not looking to buy or even form a business relationship. 

The only thing they care about is getting a handle on their current pain point.

While people in this category are not likely to convert into an immediate sale, they do represent the largest available audience.

TOFU is where you'll find the opportunity to make a lasting first impression, deliver excellent quality content, and establish your brand in your audience's mind.

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

At this stage, your audience has enough understanding of their problem to foresee potential solutions.

Here is where you present your product or service as the best possible solution.

That said, MOFU prospects are still unlikely to buy because they're in the research phase. Case studies and comparison posts make good content strategies to bring users into the next phase of the funnel.

Because the middle of the funnel tends to be more difficult to identify, it's helpful to think about it in terms of conversion goals.

Common conversion metrics for this stage of the funnel include:

  • Click-through-rate (CTR)
  • Social engagement
  • Email sign ups
  • Whitepaper downloads
  • Webinar participation

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

Here is the highest-quality (and most qualified) audience. 

Approach with caution. It's important not to come across as greedy or overly aggressive.

At this stage, the prospect is ready to engage in a form of discussion with your company on how to solve their problem. 

It can be done through a white paper, case study, sales call, or well-crafted landing page to name a few examples.

2. Create Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) To Structure Your Account

Many B2B Google Ads professionals establish groups based on the funnel stage. 

In a SKAG, each funnel group has its own budget, target audience, landing page, bid amount, and target keyword.

Therefore, each target keyword is used for multiple ads targeting prospects within their respective funnel stage.

3. Research Industry-Specific High-Intent Keywords

Long-tail keywords (three words or more) tend to be lower volume, but higher in intent.

For instance, you may target a long-tail keyword like "best budget ADA-compliant CRM," if you offer subscription-based customer relationship management software that meets web accessibility compliance guidelines.

Once you've decided on a host of high-intent keywords, it's important to monitor traffic, engagement, and conversion. 

Analytics tell you how well your keywords are performing and whether or not you need to target different ones.

Google Keywords Planner

Google Ads has a tool called Google Keyword Planner that helps you discover viable keywords.

It works by providing an overview of the volume (estimated monthly searches), difficulty in terms of competition, and the bid amount for paid ads.

4. Conduct Competitor Analysis

Another good way to start is by gaining a thorough understanding of your competition. 

How much are competing companies investing in online advertising? Which keywords can you acquire by target bidding?

5. Set the Campaign Objective

Once you've decided on your keywords, go to Google Ads, create an account, and attach a payment source.

Google's first query will be, "What is your primary advertising goal?"

Google does its own analysis to determine which advertisements are most appropriate. It's to be expected that your chosen keywords will not be the same.

Next, select the most appropriate marketing objective for your campaign. For example, if the goal of this campaign is to acquire leads, select "Leads."

Keep in mind that the Google-provided objectives are suggestions. If you don't experience desirable results, try a different campaign objective. 

Choose the Appropriate Ad Type

There are several ad types, which might be confusing if you're new to Google Ads.

Here are the ones that are most helpful for B2B lead generation:

  • Text ads are the most cost-effective and common, most recommended for searches with high buying intent. 
  • Dynamic search advertisements require a well-optimized website because they run based on data from your website.
  • Responsive search advertisements tailor ad wording to consumers' searches, making them more relevant.

6. Determine Your Target Audience

Your location and device are identified by your Internet Protocol (IP) address.

Most medium and large businesses have their own IP address, which means you can identify businesses visiting your website. 

Once you've determined which organizations visited your website, you can use the User Domain of the IP addresses to create a bespoke audience in Google Ads.

Tools like LeadFeeder are great for obtaining this information.

Additionally, you can use these tools to exclude specific IP addresses.

7. Utilize Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are often overlooked when it comes to optimizing B2B campaigns.

They're important because they keep your ad from being seen and clicked by individuals outside your intended audience.

For example, if you're selling an enterprise package for a software as a service (SaaS) subscription your negative keywords might include "free," "basic," and "premium."

A few other common negative keywords that help B2B marketers avoid unqualified clicks include:

  • Employment
  • Jobs
  • Association
  • Pay
  • Research
  • Definition

8. Incorporate Google Ad Extensions

Google Ad extensions increase search advertising functionality. They allow you to gather leads, add buttons, direct people to contact you, and more.

To view ad extensions, go to your Google Ads dashboard and choose "Ad & Extensions."

Google selects which extensions to display based on your business purpose, so you may only have access to some of them.

Extensions also increase the size and visibility of your actual ad space in search results. Keep in mind that Google does not guarantee that extensions will appear for every ad.

9. Craft and Optimize Your Ad Copy

Effective copywriting is critical to the success of your Google search ads.

Here are a few best practices to follow:

  • Recognize the client's pain points.
  • Cut filler content.
  • Be explicit and utilize numbers.

10. Customize and Optimize Your Landing Page

The landing page is equally if not more crucial than your ads.

A successful landing page tailors the call to action (CTA), text, and images to the user's stage in the sales funnel.

Remember, don't try to sell anything before you've established who you are and what you do.

11. Test, Measure, and Optimize

Every aspect of a successful PPC campaign is fine-tuned over time.

You can't tell what's working well and what’s wasting money without access to data. To do so, connect your Google Analytics (GA) and Google Ads accounts.

Conversions are your most desired action. So, ensure all conversion metrics have been set as goals in GA. 

The use of analytics for optimization is an ongoing process, and the more data over time you have the better. Don't wait until you have a few sales, set up your data collection measures from the start.

12. Retarget and Remarket

Remarketing allows you to stay top-of-mind even when customers shop for your competition.

Additionally, social media promotion and discounts can earn you a second chance to convert lost leads.

As a handy tool, using Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RSLAs) simplifies retargeting visitors.


By now we hope you have a fundamental grasp of B2B-targeting Google ads. 

As you delve into each step and apply it to your industry, you'll discover plenty of nuances and the need for further education.

If you have a particular question in mind, drop it in the comments below.

If you're ready to start generating high-value leads for your business, book a free strategy call with us today.

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