B2B Marketing
Marketing Tips

3 Steps to Becoming a B2B Facebook Advertising Wizard

Published by in B2B Marketing

I once tutored this kid who referred to himself as a “Facegod.” I have never forgotten the term, much to my eternal annoyance. Like I did at the time, you may be wondering what on earth that means, unless you’re unfortunate enough to have a teenager in your household. Basically, according to the Facegod himself, a Facegod is a person who is able to garner massive engagement with their Facebook content.

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Even if your company isn’t a teenager, you should want to turn it into a Facegod, particularly relating to your Facebook ads. And that is the last time I’m using that phrase.

So to help you out, I’ve compiled a list of some of the easiest things any B2B marketer can do to make their Facebook advertising campaigns super successful.

Why would you want to market B2B products on a network that people use for entertainment, not work?

Well, for starters, 43% of B2B marketers using Facebook to market their business have acquired new customers, and Facebook is the most popular network in the US. Add in the fact that 41% of people admit to using Facebook while at work (key word: admit), and even the least interested B2B marketer has to start paying attention to this powerful platform. As technology changes the way we work, and marketers from all walks of marketing start to see themselves as B2P (person) marketers, we can’t ignore Facebook anymore.

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Before we start, let’s quickly go over the two basic types of Facebook ads intended for lead generation.

b2b facebook advertising tips

Sidebar Ads

Sidebar ads are the most traditional form of ad on Facebook, and they appear on the right side of the homepage while users are on a desktop. They contain a single image, a 25 character headline and 90 characters of explainer text.

b2b facebook advertising tips

This is a sidebar ad from B2B software company, Procore.

News Feed Ads

These ads appear within users’ newsfeeds, so they are wider and taller than sidebar ads, otherwise they are the same format as sidebar ads. Typically, you make a single ad and can choose to run it as either a side bar or a news feed ad, or both.

This is a news feed ad from B2B software company, Vend.

This is a news feed ad from B2B software company, Vend.

1. Create a Facebook buyer persona.

You’ve likely already created a buyer persona. If you haven’t, you should really get on that train. A buyer persona is incredibly helpful to not only your advertising efforts, but really all of your sales and marketing efforts. If you already have one, pat yourself on the back and now get ready to update it a little.

You compile a buyer persona from (A LOT) of data you have collected about your customers, combined with a bit of what you want your ideal customer to be like. When you’ve got that collected, you’re ready to figure out your Facebook buyer persona. This is going to be mainly based off of your current persona, but you may want to actually look into who follows you already on Facebook. You may discover that only a section of your buyer persona is active on Facebook. By that I mean, if your typical buyer persona is dentists who work in small to medium sized practices and are ages 25-50, you may find that only dentists of small practices between the ages of 25-35 are active on Facebook, based on your following.

Your Facebook buyer persona needs to contain information on important interests and likes that your ideal customer on Facebook has. Because it is unlikely that the vast majority of the people you want to reach all like Lynyrd Skynyrd (although, let’s be real, who doesn’t?), you want to make sure that your research focuses on information relating to their career. Job function, job title, and education are all really good things to collect. All these will be extremely useful for…

2. Targeting like Robin Hood.

Facebook’s ad targeting feature is extremely customizable. It allows you to target quite specifically, in some ways more so even than LinkedIn ad targeting. Facebook allows you to target using all sorts of different pieces of information: age, gender, language, location, job title, job industry, religion, education, and charitable donation activities, to name literally just a few.

B2B marketers may feel a little bit thrown off by the ability to target based on someone’s interest in Britney Spears, but fear not. Facebook does have ways for B2Bers to target their ideal customers. There is an entire section in “More Demographics” that allows you to target via employers, job title, office type and industries. Additionally, in the interests section, you can search for interests related to job skills. For example, if you’re targeting plumbers, “pipefitter,” “plumbing,” and “plumber” are all interests that you can target for.

You can and should layer these options. Let’s say you’ve got a buyer persona that specifies your ideal clients are between 25-40 years old, they’re small plumbing business owners, they tend to be interested in pipefitting, and they all have the function “email marketer” in their job description. Facebook will let you layer these so you advertise only to people who hit ALL of these qualities.

Facebook ads, initial tageting

Facebook ads targeting page

More demographics in targeting.

More demographics in targeting.

Additionally, Facebook has a few other targeting options.

  • You can create a custom audience by uploading a list of emails. Why not upload your newsletter subscribers? They are already familiar with your brand and you know they what you have. Half the work is already done.
  • Facebook also lets you create a “look alike audience” once you’ve already created a custom audience. Essentially, you decide how many people you want in an audience that looks similar to your custom one, and Facebook goes and hunts down the viewers for you.
  • Finally, there’s also retargeting. Long story short, Facebook retargeting allows you to serve ads to Facebook users who have already visited your website once. Retargeting may be the most effective way to increase conversions. One study found it can boost ad response up to 400%!

3. Design with clicks in mind.

There are several important design elements when it comes to an ad. There’s the image, the copy, and the landing page. You need all three of these elements to be strong in order to optimize your Facebook ads.

Let’s start with the image. For both sidebar ads and news feed ads, you only get one picture. Sidebar ads are smaller, so their pictures are smaller. As a result, sidebar ad images should be less complex than news feed ads (ie no text, tiny charts, etc.) Additionally, while ads can include multiple images that users can scroll through, you really only get one shot at grabbing their attention.

What makes a good image? There are a number of elements you want to try and get into your imagery, but of course, finding a good image for an ad is really only limited by your creativity.

One thing I recommend no matter what, is paying attention to your image’s color scheme. Facebook uses a blue and white background, and you need your image to pop off that. As a result, you want to look towards images favoring yellows and reds (and that means pinks too). Orange (the red and yellow combination) pops best against the background because it’s the complimentary color to blue, and thus stands out the most.

These two ads do an excellent job with using pops of color to stand out on Facebook. The Zendesk one is a sidebar ad, the Julep one is a news feed ad.

Facebook ads, Zendesk

Facebook ads, Julep

This Marketo ad is a very creative take on using orange to pop. While the image itself is rather dull, they made sure to put the call to action in that bright orange. When the word free is combined with the bright orange, it’s sure to grab anyone’s attention.

Facebook ads, Marketo

Another element that goes into a good image is showing a story. A picture is worth a thousand words – especially on Facebook, because it’s a visual medium. You have a much better chance of trying to convey your ad with a picture than you do with limited ad copy space. It can be difficult to figure out how to portray a story in B2B ad images, but it’s still very possible. This ad by Vend nails it.

Facebook ads, Vend

The picture tells the story of a retail store that is clean, well lit, and chic, with an easy-to-use, mobile point of sale system. Every single one of those things is something all retailers dream of being/having. Vend tells you through that image that this is something they can make happen for you.

Finally, while Facebook does limit text in its ad images, you can still get a call to action put into your ad. The Marketo ad obviously does that perfectly. This ad by Club W also does it well.

Facebook ads, Club W

Putting text in your images certainly isn’t necessary, but it can help if you’re worried about people noticing your CTA. Do keep in mind that only 20% of your image can be text though.

The next element of design is the ad copy. In Facebook, you get a grand total of 115 characters to get your point across – 25 in the headline and 90 in the status update section. (You also get 200 characters of link description text, but this is essentially unread text. It’s there to more or less provide suspicious viewers with a brief introduction to your brand.)

Facebook ads, copy

Obviously, you need to make these characters sing like Steven Sondheim could. For your headline,  go for the clickbait. You don’t have enough time for subtlety. Use eye-catching words like “free” or “save.” You could ask a question like “Sick of filing paperwork?” Questions, Claire Pelletreau notes, are particularly good in that they attract just the type of clicks you’re looking for. If a person answers “no” to your question, they won’t click on your ad – but then, you didn’t want them clicking. And for those that the question does apply to, it’s very engaging.

In your explanatory text, you have very limited space to get across at least two of the following points:

  • Who your ad applies to.
  • What your ad is about.
  • What your ad will do for the viewer.

This Big Commerce ad is a very good example of a B2B Facebook ad that uses the explainer text well:

Facebook ads, big commerce

The ad copy tells you what Big Commerce is, and it tells you what clicking on the ad will do for you. Furthermore, they used the image space to give an idea of who the ad is for (young entrepreneurs). In fact, my only quibble with this ad is the fact that the actual call to action (free trial) is very minimized, while “Sell More With Big Commerce” is the focus, although that’s not a bad secondary CTA.

Finally, you need to pick your CTA button (not applicable to sponsored content). Facebook has a variety of different CTA buttons that you can use, and you want to make sure that your button closely aligns with your headline CTA. If you say “Free Software Download,” make sure your button says “Download Here.” If your CTA is “50% off POS Software,” make sure your button says “Shop Now.”

Facebook's CTA button choices.

Facebook’s CTA button choices.

The final element of the perfect ad is, of course, the landing page. If you’re looking for a lot of details about the perfect landing page, please check out our infographic about designing the perfect landing page.

But for Facebook-specific landing pages, here are my tips:

  • Unlike LinkedIn, Facebook allows to you upload a conversion tracking pixel to your thank-you  page, so that you can easily see, in your Facebook ad manager, how many people converted after clicking your ad. It’s not a difficult process, and it will make your life loads easier.
  • Make sure your landing page matches your call to action. Nothing will turn visitors away faster than clicking on an ad promising them a free software trial and landing on a page advertising dresses.
  • Keep everything simple. Go light on text and even images, and make sure your form to capture information is extremely short. Visitors coming from social channels have short attention spans, since they likely weren’t actively looking for your software when they went to check their Facebook. With only seconds to convince them to give you their email, you have to make everything count.

Anything else?

That’s it for my list of B2B Facebook advertising tips. What do you recommend to people? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you? Share in the comments below!

Looking for Social Networking software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Social Networking software solutions.

About the Author

Cara Wood

Cara Wood

Cara Wood is a marketing associate at Capterra and a graduate of Mary Washington! When she's not hard at work at Capterra, she can be found horse-back riding, reading and just generally having a good time at life.


Comment by srp on

In my case Facebook ads have been a dismal failure. The incubation period in my industry is at least a year. It takes an extraordinary amount of dollars to first get likes, followers and eventually a client. I have gone back to more traditional methods and the results are much better than any Facebook ad I ever ran.


Comment by Cara Wood on

Thanks Sheena!!! You know, this post is actually part 2 of a social media ad series. Part 1 is on LinkedIn ads. Check it out here!

Comment by Sheena Mathieson on


This article is so informative, im hoping that there will be more.
It is really useful 🙂

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