As you probably know, I work for an agency that deals strictly with B2B clients. B2B offers unique challenges for PPC, including lead tracking and pricey CPCs due to competition.
For years, Google Adwords has been our bread and butter. Their sheer market share makes them a must-use for B2B advertisers. But I’ve started to think that Google hates B2B advertisers. Here’s why.
Sitelinks Don’t Always Apply
I’ve written before about why sitelinks can be a worst practice, especially for B2B clients. In mid-2014, Google launched Dynamic Sitelinks – an even bigger nightmare for B2B advertisers than regular sitelinks. At least with regular sitelinks, we could just not add them. But now, it seems we’re stuck with them whether we want them or not.
Granted, Bing Ads also has dynamic sitelinks. I don’t like those any better than Google’s. But I wonder if Bing would have launched them if Google didn’t do it first.
Keyword Planner Suggestions Are B2C-Focused
I’ve long been frustrated with Google’s keyword planner and the crazy suggestions it offers. That’s the case whether you’re B2B or B2C. But what’s even more frustrating to me is that the keywords it suggests tend to be very consumer-focused. Even with something that’s obviously B2B like “business management systems,” it’ll come back with things like “what is a business management system” – not the type of queries an enterprise-level person researching a solution would use.
The Opportunities tab suggestions are even worse. Earlier this week I was reviewing Google’s “optimization” ideas for a client that offers a solution for businesses to sell gift cards to customers. Here are some of the “opportunities” Google wanted us to add to our campaign:
sell unwanted gift cards for cash
sell your gift card for cash
where can i cash gift cards
how to trade gift cards for cash
can i buy gift cards with a gift card
getting cash for gift cards
sell back giftcards for cash
These queries are clearly ones that would be used by consumers looking to offload unwanted gift cards – the exact opposite of what we’d want to bid on!
The only good part about this awful list is I used them for negative keywords instead. I’m sure that’s not what Google had in mind as an “opportunity,” but I took it nonetheless.
Display Interest Targeting Is All B2C
Google has announced that starting next week, they’re retiring the Other Interests targeting option for Display campaigns. Doesn’t sound like a big deal – unless you’re a B2B advertiser.
Nearly all the B2B-focused targeting options are in the Other Interests category:
We’re left with affinity audiences, or in-market segments. Check out the fine selection of options in affinity audiences:
See anything that looks remotely B2B-focused? Me neither.
In-market audiences are a little better, but not much. Here’s a view of the Business Services options:
Not awful – but we have clients who don’t fit into any of these categories. For those clients, we’ll be relegated to keyword or placement targeting, which doesn’t always perform as well. Clearly, Google has a bias toward B2C for display campaigns.
I’m sure there is a reason for this, probably because most of Google’s advertisers are B2C. But B2B advertisers have big bucks to spend. Many of their products and services are big-ticket items, and companies are willing to pay very high CPCs to advertise them. I rarely see CPCs below $20 in search for my clients. You’d think Google would want this money, but maybe not.
What do you think? Have your B2B clients struggled with Google’s B2C bias? Found any workarounds? Share in the comments!