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In 7 steps to optimize your campaigns for online advertising in B2B

Data is the key to optimizing your online campaigns for B2B. Like never before, we can follow along with the prospect during every step of the buyer journey. But how to use that data intelligently is another. Because everyone shouts that data is the solution to everything, but where do you start?

In this blog, I explain how to use data to target online advertising in B2B. With a roadmap, I'll show you what to store and how to use this data. Let's go!

Frank van Kampen

Frank van Kampen

Senior advertising & automation consultant

"No first-party data? Then you will have a very hard time reaching your customers starting next year."

What does it look like without data?

What if you don't use data for online advertising in B2B? Then it will be difficult to reach your customers after next year anyway if third party data disappears. So if you want to approach (potential) customers at all, you need to start now with a good data strategy, of which first party data is a part.

Not just to approach them directly yourself or to see if the type of customers match your website and content, but mainly to get more value out of your advertising budget. Because with the right data, you can make AI work for you. The Google algorithm, for example, is becoming increasingly important for a good campaign within Google Ads. If you feed it with quality data, you'll get more conversion from your budget.

Roadmap to targeted online advertising in B2B based on data

So do you want to maintain a complete customer profile and achieve higher conversion rates from online advertising in B2B with AI? Then now is the time to start capturing the right data. How do you go about doing that?

Roadmap for online advertising in B2B

Step 1: a good data strategy

The first step is to determine what data you want to collect and when it is best to obtain it. Should this data be deterministic (based on certainty) or probabilistic (based on prediction) ? Can you collect that data or do you need permission first? And is your privacy statement in place to collect this data?

Using use cases and mapping out the customer journey step by step, you define what data you will store (when) and where (and when) you will use it. This process requires some time, but it gives you overview and control.

Step 2: collect the right advertising data

Next, to target advertising, you need the following:

  • Analytics tools on your website. With these scripts, you will know what is happening on your website, where your opportunities are and what, if anything, you can improve.
  • Conversion pixels. These pieces of code provide insight into conversions. Make sure you measure hard and soft conversions and assign the right value to these - for you. Do people click that button (soft conversion) or do they opt for a callback request (hard conversion)? The advertising algorithm uses these conversion points to fine-tune further.

Step 3: collect first-party data

This step is super important right now because soon you won't have access to third-party data. If you haven't started yet, start collecting PII data (personally identifiable information) today, so that you can reach your leads later. You collect this through:

  • First party cookie via, for example, a CDP
  • Contact form (name, company name, email address)
  • Callback request (phone number)
  • Download whitepaper (email address)

Step 4: use your first-party data effectively

With first-party data, you can perform 1-to-1 communication on these leads. What you can do depends on what type of first party data you have stored. With just a cookie, you can retarget these people. If you have an e-mail address and a marketing consent included in your privacy statement, you can also e-mail the prospect and use his data for targeting through the well-known walled gardens, such as Meta and Google. And don't forget the consent for app/web push messages! A very powerful means of reaching your target audience the moment they are online on their device.

If you have the right consent, you can also feed the data to the algorithm in your advertising channels. With relevant (!) data you can thus steer for new conversions.

You can also use the data to optimize your budget. It's a waste of money to show ads to people who are already logged into your website. With PII and Website audiences data, you can exclude them from your campaigns.

"With the right data, you're no longer wasting budget on ads for customers you're reaching anyway."

Step 5: enrich your Google campaigns with hard conversion metrics

For hard conversions, you can also capture the GCLID (Google Click ID). Keep track not only of the fact that a request for a quotation has been made, but also of whether it has led to sales. Leads with offer value can be shot back into the system, so that the algorithm can focus even better on them.

In time, you'll also see which keywords convert well and which don't.

Step 6: analyze the performance of your campaigns

At a set time - say once a week - analyze reports from your campaigns. Compare KPIs such as ROAS, conversion rate and cost per conversion with your goals. See which ads and audiences are performing well and which are not. And why, so you can take this into account in the next step.

In this step, you may also take a pretty critical look at your smart bidding campaigns (campaigns based on AI). Google's AI works really well, but only if you feed it with the right data.

"If ROAS goes up then you've done the right optimizations!"

Step 7: optimize your B2B ad campaigns

In the last step, the main thing is to optimize your best-performing ads. That's where the most profit can be made! Turn off ads that are underperforming. Depending on the results, you can then make your target audience broader or more specific. Advertising to a more specific target audience is more expensive, but it yields more conversions. Does your ROAS rise after your adjustments? Then you know you did the right thing!

Put your data to work!

Using the above roadmap, you can get started on increasing the conversion rate of B2B ad campaigns. But you're not done with that. Collecting, updating your data and optimizing your campaigns is an ongoing process. So be sure to make performance evaluation a recurring appointment in your calendar.

Once you get the hang of it, playing with data becomes fun. You get to know your customers better. You know better what he is looking for. You can predict what he needs in the next step, so you can target the right ad.

And when you improve your ROAS by using the right data, it becomes easier to get the rest of the organization on board. Then you can invest more in great online campaigns because you get more value out of your ad budget. Kicking right?

Measuring better in Google Analytics

To drive data, though, you have to make sure it comes in properly. And let it be just that the current version of Google Analytics will stop collecting data as of July 1. In fact, Google has come out with an upgrade called Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

But unlike a software update that runs automatically, like on your phone, you have to actively implement GA4 yourself. Need help with this? We'll set up your GA4, customized to your measurement needs, within a week for a flat fee of €349. Want to know more?