We’re long past the days of focusing on single-channel data in evaluating B2B Marketing Efforts. B2B sales funnels are long and complex, requiring many touchpoints. While Google Paid Search is clearly mandatory for any serious marketing effort, in 2023, it’s not nearly enough. People are spending time on many different platforms and any boundaries between “work-related” activities and “non-work” activities have long since dissolved. Smart marketers are making sure that their messaging is present on each of these platforms where prospects are spending their time, no matter their current behavior on them. For example, I am compelled to watch work-related ads to get additional “credit” when I play Madden on my tablet, and I both accept and embrace the tradeoff.
It’s well-established that Google Search Advertising focuses on click-based metrics while Google Display Advertising and YouTube Advertising focuses on view-thru conversions instead of click-based conversions (with some exceptions). Brands have become much smarter about the value of view-thru conversions and with the widespread adoption of data-driven attribution, brands can not only see a view-thru conversion “number” in their campaigns but the relative value of them can be weighted algorithmically to see their impact on the Google Search investment.
I am still sometimes seeing view-thru conversion “resistance” when non-Google channels are considered. Sure, many verticals can make sales or generate leads on Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit + others. However, with the B2B clients I’ve worked with, I’m frequently challenged to generate comparable click-thru CPA’s on these other channels compared to Google and it’s frequently difficult to get budget to push on these other channels due to that fact. Conceptually, clients do know that these channels give ancillary marketing value but the data to support these efforts can be lacking.
However, view-thru conversions can be captured and measured with the various non-Google pixels. For many clients, I would suggest that the relatively small handful of click conversions can be safely ignored as not-being determinative of the campaign success level. Focus on the volume and CPA of the view-thru conversions and realize that you’ll likely see significant latency in the view-thru data (since B2B sales cycles are long). We have found that the percentages of LinkedIn / Reddit / Facebook view-thrus compared to total Google Search Conversions can be quite sizeable (which doesn’t even consider their view-thru impact on Organic or Direct conversions which are also substantial). Advanced data science can give more precise answers to the channel specific impact, but basic view-thru CPA data will give directional indications of success.
If you’re viewing non-Google platforms as contributory channels more than direct response channels, you should change up your marketing messaging in recognition of this fact. While you probably could use your direct response Google-themed marketing in other channels with some success, that would be suboptimal. Try to use different messaging and assets so not to give the sense that a particular ad is stalking a prospect around the Internet. You can focus more on Branding and less on Direct Response in these other channels. Realize that some people will have already seen your message on Google properties, but many have not. Many will click your ad (or view it) and then do a subsequent Google Search to learn more about your offering and they’re far more likely to convert from the Google Search than from the initial non-Google exposure. Were it not for the initial exposure to your ad, they would have never gone to Google in the first place. While many Google Searches are driven by direct user intent, many others are triggered by seeing something while web-surfing and investigating the offering more closely due to that trigger. Without seeing that other ad, the trigger might not have happened until much later, if at all.
In closing, the confluence of multi-channel marketing for B2B is greater than ever and it’s becoming more feasible to weigh relative channel contribution in deciding upon an optimal marketing mix. It is necessary to understand user behavior to properly evaluate marketing channels and channels that don’t offer the same level of Direct Response as Google Search should not be discriminated against because they contributed views and not clicks to the user journey.