We Reviewed 100 B2B SaaS Brands’ Facebook Advertising Efforts—Here’s What We Found

Posted by Taru Bhargava 17 June, 2019 No comments

If you are a B2B SaaS marketer, you know that Facebook advertising is for you. With over 91% of B2B marketers preferring Facebook ads over LinkedIn, there’s no debating its popularity.  

Image Source: Statista

And of course, there are tons of ways to make Facebook advertising work.

But here’s the thing:

Facebook advertising comes with its own challenges, and it can be difficult to make sense of your advertising efforts if you don’t know what your competitors are doing.

But what if you could peel back the curtain of the best B2B SaaS companies and see what ad formats they dabble in, which calls-to-action work for them, and what’s trending in B2B SaaS Facebook advertising?

Wouldn’t info like this set you up for a win?

Drum roll, please…

That info is right here—we evaluated 100 Facebook ads from 100 B2B SaaS companies to give you the insights you’re looking for. In this post, we’re going to share our findings as well as takeaways you can apply to your Facebook advertising efforts.

But before you start experimenting, let’s talk about the B2B SaaS buying process and why marketers need to tweak their advertising efforts to make their ads effective.

Facebook Advertising Is Different For B2B SaaS Companies

B2B SaaS companies operate differently than other businesses—the product isn’t physical, the purchasing process usually isn’t self-service and the buying cycle is often long.

But as in most industries, B2B and B2C alike, B2B SaaS Facebook ads have one primary purpose: conversion.

One of the most effective ways to ensure your ads are converting is to map them to your buyer journey and deliver ads for each stage in the funnel.

Here’s an example of how B2B SaaS customers move through the funnel:

Here’s a great example from our research of a company aligning their ads with the buyer journey—during the month of May, HubSpot ran several ads, and most were mapped to a specific stage in the funnel:

The first ad, for example, is designed to generate awareness by inviting “strangers” (to use the term in the funnel above) to consume information and visit HubSpot’s site. The video provides a crisp snippet of the information that’s available, prompting the prospect to click the ad for more.

On the other hand, the ad below is for prospects who may already be evaluating a CRM. See how the copy lures the buyer with the word “free. It’s clearly meant for prospects in the consideration stage of the funnel.

The last ad encourages prospects who are in the conversion stage to get a free demo.

Now that you’ve seen how Facebook ads for B2B companies can be designed to match the conversion funnel, let’s look at FB advertising trends among high-growth SaaS companies.

Let’s get to it…

69% Of B2B SaaS Companies Use Custom Images In Their Facebook Ads

Of the 100 from 100 different B2B SaaS ads that we reviewed, custom images were by far the most popular choice for visuals. These included custom illustrations, images overlaid with text as well as stock images with added branding. Only 6% of companies opted for stock images without any branding.

Looking at this ad analysis it is safe to say that B2B SaaS companies have a clear understanding of the power of visuals and creatives when working on Facebook ads, how they make a difference in ad performance and how it impacts ad delivery.

45% Of Companies Used “Learn More” As The CTA

A clear and actionable CTA is the backbone of a conversion. With so much riding on a click, it is important that companies marry the right CTA with their copy. Our research found that “Learn More” was the CTA of choice for 45% of companies, whereas 40% of companies chose more direct CTAs such as “Sign Up,” “Download” and others (“Like Page,” “Install Now”).

Is there a reason behind the popularity of “Learn More”?

An experiment by AdEspresso found that while “Learn More” had a relatively low cost per conversion, “Download” had a higher conversion rate. Another very direct CTA, “Sign Up,” was less successful:

Our research revealed that while “Learn More” may sound like a CTA meant for the awareness stage of the funnel, marketers don’t always use it for that purpose. Upon clicking “Learn More” in the ads we analyzed, prospects were led to all kinds of destinations—the company blog, company homepage, product pages, promotions for offline and online events, and even product trial pages.

Even though Facebook offers a limited number of CTAs (and some, like “Get showtimes,” don’t really apply to SaaS), marketers can use creative copy skills to say different things with the same CTA.

But it’s important for marketers to design ads for specific stages in the buying process so that they’ll know when to use a more direct CTA like “Download” and when to use a subtler CTA that will draw prospects into the funnel.

Emojis Show Up Frequently In Facebook Ads For B2B SaaS Companies

The way we communicate on digital channels is constantly evolving, and nowadays it’s hard to envision a conversation without an emoji—ads included.

But contrary to that, our research showed that only 16% of B2B SaaS companies use them in their ads.

That brings us to a valid question: Should B2B SaaS companies use emojis in their content and their ads? Do emojis improve conversion in any way?

The answer is yes.

LeadsBridge, a B2B lead generation company, experimented with using emojis in their Facebook ads and wound up increasing their lead generation by 2,000%.

That’s massive!

Here are the results by the numbers:

Here’s another example, in which Scoro used a red flag emoji in the headline and saw a clear difference in their CTR: The ad with the emoji had a CTR of 0.846% while the ad with no emoji had a CTR of only 0.351%.

The bottom line: Using emojis clearly has benefits—they reveal your company’s playful side and attract people to click. That said, the emojis you use should make sense for your SaaS business and match the tone and voice of your company.

Text Ads Are Preferred Over Video Ads By B2B SaaS Companies

Despite the surging popularity of video, text-based ads dominated the sample we studied. There could be a couple of reasons for this; for one, not every company has the time, resources or budget to create video ads.

So which ad format works better on Facebook—text or video? That’s still up for debate, and it depends on how well the ad is optimized. HubSpot tested video vs. text for an ad promoting a blog post, and the video got 20% more clicks.

83% Of B2B SaaS Companies Used Only One Version Of Their Ad

Only 17% of the companies had at least one variation, though it was hard to decipher the magnitude of the variation without an appropriate tool.

Depending on their budget and priorities, B2B SaaS companies can create multiple variations of their ads and experiment with ad types, verbiage, and CTA buttons.

A/B testing all these components can be overwhelming, however, this videos explain its nuances pretty effectively.

B2B SaaS Facebook Ads Analysis: Creative & Strategic Ideas For SaaS

You know your ad is successful when it attracts a click. And to do that, sometimes you need to think outside the box.  

When analyzing Facebook ads from B2B SaaS companies, we found a few that shone brighter than the rest.

Let’s see what we can learn from them.

Lucidchart: Telling A Stellar Visual Story Through Facebook Ads

It was hard for us NOT to click on Lucidchart’s ad. Lucidchart provides diagramming and data visualization solutions. With more and more companies offering Lucidchart’s core features, the company has found a creative way to stand out in their advertising. Instead of talking about the features or benefits of the product, Lucidchart tells a compelling visual story while subtly highlighting the product.

Here’s the video:

Visual storytelling is a clear winner when it comes to hooking your audience and enticing them to click for more. (Cute animals help too.)

Optimove: Experimenting With Personal Images To Get A Better Response

Booking demos is hard—every B2B SaaS business knows that.

That’s why Optimove uses a highly targeted ad with multiple variations to draw prospects in. Instead of custom illustrations or stock images, the ads feature photos of actual sales reps, giving prospects a face to connect with before they even hop on a call.

The ad promptly takes the user to that sales rep’s calendar, making the experience extremely interactive and highly personalized.

Wrapping It Up

The bottom line: For B2B SaaS companies, Facebook ads work—as long as you design them effectively. Use the research and examples shared above to create ads that convert at every stage of the buyer journey.

Here’s a quick recap of what you can do to make Facebook ads work for your B2B SaaS business:

    • Match your ads to your customer journey
    • Make your brand shine—invest in custom images
    • Experiment with CTAs and track your results
    • Add emojis to your ads
    • Add video ads to your campaign mix
    • Create a testing framework for your ads
    • Play around with visual storytelling concepts
    • Personalize your ad campaigns

What makes your Facebook ads stand out? What ideas are you testing? I would love to hear about your experiences. Loved the article? Want to read more research-driven content? Sign up for our newsletter.

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