Russell Glass, Head of Products at Linkedin, speaking at INBOUND in 2015. Image via Linkedin Blog
As the case for Content gets stronger, b2b is still struggling to see success in Social Media. As little as 10% of b2b marketers are able to quantify any sort of social media impact on their business. So where’s the disconnect? In a world oversaturated with adtech and social tools, b2b can’t seem to benefit. The answer is targeting— or lack thereof. Social platforms and tools fail to connect b2b marketers with decision makers, at the right place and right time. This makes the case for content targeting that much hotter, and social networks are taking note in a big way.
B2B Has Always Fallen Behind
It’s no secret b2b struggles to easily adapt new social platforms and technologies. Particularly, Facebook’s b2b value has been a disappointment, to say the least. Until recently, the platform all together ignored the b2b space, placing focus instead on expanding their consumer-based audience offerings. And b2b marketers have been skeptical to pioneer robust business-facing campaigns with inadequate targeting and rampant ad fraud still present within Facebook’s network. Despite the best efforts of some of the industry’s top players, ad fraud is still a major issue plaguing social networks, and expected to cost brands $7.2 billion in wasted spend this year.
Even Linkedin, the flagship of b2b has struggled to fine tune its ad business. In February, the company announced it was shutting down it’s ad network, formerly known as Bizo. While it’s expected to cost Linkedin over $50 Million dollars in revenue generated by the unit, the move is actually highly strategic. Linkedin is using this opportunity to redirect capital into expanding its walled garden offering and boost its targeting capabilities to better serve ads on its own network.
But The Networks Are Responding
The good news is we are seeing significant effort by social networks to expand their b2b capabilities. Facebook, for example, has launched its new b2b marketing group, making a bold effort to curate a suite of tools endemic to targeting business decision-makers. Particularly of interest is Facebook’s content offering, launched around the same time as the Facebook For Business unit. We’ve talked before about the high value of content rich marketing in a b2b capacity, so the capabilities to reach decision makers via Facebook are skyrocketing. And marketers are taking notice, with 62% planning to increase Facebook activities in 2016.
Perhaps some of the most exciting moves are coming from b2b’s flagship social network, Linkedin. As mentioned above, Linkedin is channeling time, energy and money previously spent on its external network into better enhancing targeting for its internal ad business. In an interview with Adage, Russell Glass, Head of Products at Linkedin stated the move will “allow customers to target — or exclude — companies if they want to do specific account-based marketing to their customer bases.” This coincides with the massive success of Linkedin’s booming Sponsored Updates offering, which has grown to account for over 52% of its entire advertising business. Furthermore, Linkedin is re-positioning its Lead-Gen and Conversion tracking features developed by the form Ad Network unit towards its walled garden— making for a potential gold mine of marketing capabilities.
Circling Back To Content
These new offerings are centered around content-based marketing. This makes the case for content that much hotter. However, b2b digital marketers tend to overlook the importance of ‘creative’ when developing robust campaigns. This is an asinine approach in the context of Content Marketing, as decision makers will only remain interested and engaged in quality, insight-rich content. New and advanced targeting will not alone keep your campaigns afloat if the content or ‘creative’ behind them is lackluster and shallow. Maintaining an engaged audience will obviously lead to stronger interest, and more conversions. And the key to that engagement is pumping out great content.
Dillon Roulet is the Founder and Partner at Duplici, a Progressive Positioning Agency. To learn more about how Duplici works with B2B Marketers and Executives to create insightful and unique content, reach out to Dillon at firstname.lastname@example.org.