Doing Business on Facebook

How Targeting Helps B2B Buyers Get Social

With 1.65 billion users worldwide, Facebook is the largest social network on the planet, boasting more users than the population of most industrial nations. Naturally, it’s been an attractive channel for B2C marketers to reach a diverse audience of engaged consumers. But Facebook’s global reach and sophisticated targeting capabilities have given B2B brands many reasons to “like” the social network for their own advertising goals. 

According to comScore, Facebook is accessed an average of eight times per day. Think that’s happening at night when people are unwinding from a long day? Think again. Facebook’s highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 pm, when most people are allegedly at their desks doing work. I confess, I’m guilty of scrolling through my Facebook feed during business hours, and I know I’m not alone.

B2B marketers have begun to recognize the untapped value that lies in reaching a professional audience on Facebook.

Social media is nothing new for B2B marketers. More than two-thirds of B2B businesses devote dollars to social media advertising, according to research by Regalix. Originally, B2B marketers prioritized social platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, which they considered to be more appropriate business environments. The prevailing consensus amongst B2B marketers was that Facebook was better suited for sharing pictures of babies and cat MEMEs than whitepapers and research. But like its audience, Facebook has matured.

Facebook users are not only sharing their personal lives, they're posting more links to videos, news and business articles. This change in content-sharing behavior has been noted by traffic analytics service, which reported last year that Facebook accounted for more traffic to news sites than Google. Facebook has become a destination for people and brands, both B2C and B2B, to share and discuss ideas that routinely influence many facets of our global society. In just a few short years, the social media behemoth has built on its core strength (as a global community) a rich platform for storytelling.

As B2B brands take a page from their B2C counterparts and shift from traditional direct response campaigns to delivering encompassing brand narratives, Facebook is now viewed as an attractive platform for engaging B2B audiences. In fact, many B2B brands are experimenting with evocative brand stories to build and strengthen relationships with these users. Facebook is not seen as a place for someone to make a purchase, but instead, Facebook is effective for building brand awareness, loyalty, and driving website traffic. And it appears to be working. A majority of B2B marketers (almost three-fifths) pointed to Facebook as one of the platforms that gave the best return on their social media investment.

But even as B2B marketers agree Facebook is a channel worth investing in, it still requires the right strategy and execution to reach the most relevant users. Facebook’s advantage is its sophisticated ad targeting menu, which gives B2B marketers the opportunity to segment based on job titles, business size and geography, assuring marketers’ ads are surfaced to the right users and eliminating the wasted media dollars they’ve become accustomed to in many standard display advertising campaigns.

Although targeting is foundational for how Facebook enables marketers to advertise on the platform, they recently announced that they have disabled segments around self-reported user information. The decision came after the platform discovered advertisers could target users with derogatory terms. According to the report, the ban includes employer segments, as Facebook users can list anyone under that category without verifying their listed company.

But that doesn’t mean B2B brands can’t still hone in on the most relevant Facebook user. Facebook brings verified third-party data segments into the mix to validate Facebook audiences against legitimate companies and job titles. Facebook's expanded third-party audience segments provide a key advertising advantage: business context. This equips B2B marketers to define audience segments by company profiles or professional personas – something that can't be done well with basic demographic, interest or behavior-related information alone.

For example, Dun & Bradstreet offers B2B marketers 400+ audience segments directly in Facebook Ads Manager — allowing marketers to reach business professionals across Facebook for desktop and mobile, Instagram, and the Facebook Audience Network.

Additionally, the social media platform’s Lookalike Audiences tool allows you to target similar business professionals to your current clients, eliminating some of the guesswork so inherent in marketing today.

Facebook has given B2B marketers the tools to build an engaged audience. It’s up to you and your teams to create engaging content that reaches the right professionals and leave you with a reason to “like” Facebook as an advertising channel.


*Dun & Bradstreet partners with LiveRamp, an Acxiom company, to enable connectivity with Facebook.