Except for retargeting, most B2B marketers have been ignoring Facebook for the last 2 years. They should stop. Now.
With that said, before we explain how you can achieve LinkedIn-level B2B targeting on Facebook, we have to provide a little backstory to explain why it has become nearly impossible to target highly specific (i.e. B2B) audiences using Facebook’s built-in targeting.
Then we’ll get into how you can turn the tables to make B2B targeting on Facebook work at unprecedented scale.
How marketers ruined B2B targeting on Facebook
Facebook’s advertising platform has changed quite dramatically over the past 4 years.
Between 2016 and 2018 Facebook reeled from the Cambridge Analytica scandal and an exploit where an individual’s identity could be determined using estimated reach reporting.
Cliff Notes: 'Clever researchers found a way to identify individual users using estimated reach reporting in the advertising interface. By adding an additional user and seeing if potential reach changed, they were able to infer if that user was in the audience.'
As a result of that vulnerability, Cambridge Analytica, the 2016 election, etc., Facebook began stripping out a LOT of its built-in targeting functionality. About half of their 1,200 targeting options were removed from the platform, such as purchasing behavior, in-market audiences, household income, and all of their third-party data from various vendors.
They also significantly limited the ability to see potential reach of custom audiences.
All in all, Facebook became, rightfully so, more sensitive to privacy.
B2B targeting was already hard, but as a result, it became nearly impossible to do with Facebook’s built-in functionality.
Gone were the days where you could rely on Facebook’s native targeting to effectively reach the right people.
But, importantly, Facebook never shut the door on bringing 1st or 3rd party data into its platform, which left a huge opportunity that B2B companies are only now beginning to take advantage of.
How Facebook’s B2B targeting works
Facebook has three main types of custom audiences:
- Interest/demographic audiences that you create using Facebook’s built-in targeting functionality.
- Retargeting audiences that allow you to serve ads to people who have visited your site based on a pixel which cookies their device. (Note: We have an article coming soon about the forthcoming cookie “apocalypse”. Pixel-based retargeting is going to be hit hard)
- List-based audiences, which are the most effective as they allow you to serve ads only to people you have determined are a good fit based based on their behavior (e.g. users or customers) or profile (e.g. leads that look like potential customers).
You can learn more about Facebook audience types here.
B2B marketers have found the most success with retargeting and list-based audiences, but they often hit a ceiling:
- Leads have to visit your website for you to retarget them.
- List-based audiences are often quite small or have very low match rates.
Let’s dig into how you can remove the ceiling and make the sky the limit on list-based audiences.
How do effective Facebook audiences work? Matching
Facebook, and other online ad platforms, use what they call “matching.” Meaning they take the data points you provide in your audience file and see how those data points correspond to their user base and what matches result.
Facebook allows for “Advanced Matching” using the following data characteristics:
- Email Address (i.e. the email a user uses to log into Facebook)
- Phone Number (i.e. the mobile phone number they use with Facebook)
- First Name
- Last Name
- Date of Birth
- Mobile Advertiser ID
- Facebook App User ID
Google, LinkedIn and most other advertising platforms follow a similar approach.
The question is: What data for precise b2b targeting do you have on your customers or prospects?
If you’re B2B? Not much. You probably have a name, business email, and office phone number (sometimes more, sometimes less).
These may produce relatively high match rates on LinkedIn, but on most social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and even Google, your customers and prospects created their accounts with their personal information. Therefore, the match rates are quite low.
- Facebook: 10–20%
- Google: 10–20%
- LinkedIn: 20–40%
So what’s the takeaway? To get a higher match rate, you need the right ad profile matching data points.
How Primer helps B2B companies get higher match rates
Enter Primer. Primer enables LinkedIn level (and better) targeting across ad platforms. You can build audiences based on any combination of attributes that you have on your leads — title, company, company size, the technology used, lost opportunity, growing website traffic, etc.
Primer does this through identity resolution and data enrichment.
Primer takes your existing lists (or your targeting criteria) and works with more than seven GDPR and CCPA compliant data providers to enrich those lists with the data points that ad networks use for matching — the ones we discussed above. Primer automatically syncs your enriched lists to your ad accounts as audiences, so they are ready to plug into newly effective campaigns.
Imagine you want to target only VPs of Marketing in the US at companies with greater than 150 employees using Hubspot on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, email and direct mail. Done, audience and list built.
Frankly, there’s no reason why email marketing and ad campaigns should be disassociated. Ad network matching data enrichment is the missing ingredient. It’s the secret to making inbound and outbound in sync with each other and vastly more effective and efficient.
Consumer marketers know this. Identity-resolution has been a big thing for years (see: DMPs, CDPs, LiveRamp, etc.), but for a variety of reasons it is only beginning to make its way into B2B.
You need identity matching to make paid digital effective. No if, ands, or buts.
Some reasons to believe — benefits of Facebook for B2B targeting
Here’s what our customers have found. In short, your overall costs go down while the volume of qualified leads goes up.
Average match rates go from 10–20% to 70–80%.
Your enrichment cost increases but your ad spend decreases as you stop serving ads to unqualified leads.
Your conversion rate jumps.
With hyper-targeted audiences, you can personalize your copy and creative. No more generic, general value proposition campaigns. Make a campaign specific to any segment, which results in higher conversion rates.
Oh, did we mention that Primer-powers incredibly strong lookalike audiences?
Let’s also not forget that Facebook has a much broader reach than LinkedIn. Facebook has 2.2 billion+ active users, while LinkedIn only has 550+ million.
Which means that Facebook has much lower CPCs than LinkedIn. Here’s what we see with one of our own Facebook campaigns.
Compare that to the exact same campaign we ran on LinkedIn.
Instead of writing off Facebook, B2B marketers should be running back to it, given its lower cost and broader reach.
Tools like Primer allow you to achieve LinkedIn-level B2B targeting on Facebook. Truthfully, targeting that goes BEYOND LinkedIn. Imagine the audience, and let us create it for you.