Using Facebook Ads for B2B Targeting

If you had asked online marketers a couple of years ago to name the best channel for B2B targeting, most would not have said Facebook. In fact, it wasn’t until early 2014 that you could target someone in Facebook based on professional attributes, such as employer and title.

But now, in late 2015, if you were to ask that same group of marketers where to target for B2B advertising, most would tell you Facebook. It has become the Holy Grail of B2B advertising.

Facebook knows a lot about all of us. We tell Facebook everything, seemingly. Facebook knows our email, phone number, and address. It knows where we went to school and what for, where we work now, where we’ve worked in the past, and our hobbies.

We give this information to Facebook to have “a better Facebook experience,” though that experience has a trade off of being a more complete profile for advertisers. “Trade off” accurately describes the relationship. I don’t find it disruptive or invasive, since I fully know what Facebook does with the data I give it.

Using Facebook for B2B Targeting

To use Facebook for B2B targeting, keep these points in mind. First, you have four main “Work” targets. They are located within “More Demographics” section, under the “Work” menu.

  • Employers. This will allow you to show ads only to people that work for a specific company. This will not have every business in the world, but it will have many of them. I’ve seen businesses with as few as ten employees, to ones with tens of thousands. It depends on how many employees list that they work for the company, if the company has a page, and so on.
  • Job Titles. This will aggregate all of the titles that people list, which can result in some interesting results. Looking to show ads to the President of the United States? Something tells he may not see those ads.
"Job Titles" is an attribute to target in Facebook.

“Job Titles” is an attribute to target in Facebook.

  • Industries. This is a good way to start if you want to cover a larger group of people, or if you want to add other information, such as income or location. This list is based entirely off of Facebook’s own classifications. There aren’t very many options, but Facebook does show what is contained in each industry.
Facebook assigns companies and individuals to "Industries."

Facebook assigns companies and individuals to “Industries.”

  • Office Type. You have three choices here: Small Business, Home Office, or Small Office. This targeting is mostly for mixing and matching when you don’t have a big company to deal with, or if you’re going after specific personas. You wouldn’t use this demographic if the employer was Coca-Cola, for example.
"Office Type" offers three choices: Small Business, Home Office, or Small Office.

“Office Type” offers three choices: Small Business, Home Office, or Small Office.

Beyond ‘Work’ Attributes

There are other targets that aren’t in the “Work” menu that are still work related, if the targeting is right. Here are four that come to mind. They are in the “Life Events” section.

  • “Away from Family”
  • “Away from Hometown”
  • “New Job”
  • “Recently Moved”

Only “New Job” appears, initially, to be directly work related. But if you get creative with the targeting, you can create a very focused audience with the other attributes.

For example, assume the person works for Coca-Cola and recently moved to a new city, with no family or friends. She could be a good target for a local industry event showcasing your new vending machines. There are other targets that can be added, such as “Income” or “Behaviors.” But really, you can add almost anything so long as the audience count is sufficient to your needs.

In the end, it’s about how you combine this information. It’s the responsibility of the marketer, not Facebook, to create the winning audience.

To me, the best ads on Facebook are the B2B related. They have to be personal, attention grabbing, and ingeniously targeted. But when they are, they work. One of my best Facebook campaigns was for a B2B audience. It targeted less than 10 people. It cost $1. And it generated a response in less than 24 hours. That’s the power of B2B targeting on Facebook.

Michael Stancil
Michael Stancil
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