While search engine optimization is still one of the most important disciplines to master, pay-per-click advertising is equally essential as a skill.

No matter if a brand is looking to attract B2B or B2C prospects, PPC is one of the most effective means of achieving this goal. That said, there is a vast chasm that separates the tactics employed for optimizing each type of campaign.

Understanding these differences, as well as the necessary PPC audience targeting strategies, is what will enable sellers to reach the right consumers.

To help delineate the necessary knowledge around the differences in B2B and B2C advertisements, today, we will explore the disparities, similarities and relevant tactics for using PPC ads to connect with buyers on both ends of the spectrum.

Targeting tactics

When initiating an advertising campaign, one of the primary considerations is how to reach the right consumers. After all, if a brand is selling homeowner’s insurance, targeting those in the 18-24 age bracket is likely to produce paltry results.

Take a look at the targeting categories in Google Ads:

Speaking to B2B advertisers, a prime tactic for ensuring that the right individuals are reached is to use social media ads to target by company position. Instead of targeting users by their age or interests as a B2C campaign might, a better route would be to target users based on their job title or industry via LinkedIn or Facebook.

However, where some overlap exists is that utilizing features like Lookalike Audiences can help both B2B and B2C brands find new users who are potentially interested in what the company offers.

No matter if targeting the average consumer or business leaders, brands should create buyer personas to better understand who they are trying to reach.

Here is an example buyer persona from Buffer:

Consider the clock

Another of the main differences in B2B and B2C advertising is that B2C sellers are trying to gain purchases as quickly as possible. However, with B2B, advertisers are attempting to generate business leads and ensure their product is considered in the prolonged purchase cycle.

To achieve this goal, brands must consider the timing of their ads.

In B2B advertising, businesses are trying to reach the key players within a company, those who make decisions or are closely connected to those with such power. This means that running ads within the nine-to-five timeframe is critical as this is when these individuals are actively engaged and show the highest intent to click-through.

While B2C consumers can potentially be targeted around the clock, the same is not true for B2B prospects. Instead, ads intended to reach business prospects should only run during business hours, not only for the aforementioned reason but also because this will help to conserve the business’s PPC budget.

Given this framework, brands should employ ad scheduling and bid modifications to alter bids for certain days of the week (Monday through Friday) and times of the day. For example, if advertisers notice that they receive the highest amount of click-throughs on Tuesday mornings, it is wise to increase the cost-per-click during this window.

To do this in Google Ads simply go to Ad schedule and click Bid adjustment for whichever time frame you want to increase or decrease:

While some sellers might feel equipped to manage such tasks, most will see more benefit from partnering with an e-commerce PPC management firm that can maximize potential impressions, clicks and conversions.

Messaging modifications

Much like targeting and timing, there are substantial differences in how advertisers will speak to B2B and B2C audiences.

The fact is that B2B buyers want to engage with brands that have evident expertise and knowledge of a given industry. This means that advertisers must showcase their acumen through relevant terminology, awareness of processes and similar traits that prospects will be interested in seeing.

For instance, if a CRM software provider is looking to reel in new users, but utilizes fluffy, emotionally-driven copy to do so, there is a significant chance that they will not engage the folks they are truly after. Instead, it is necessary to build confidence in potential users with more formal, fact-based messaging that has clear implications of how a product can improve business performance.

Take a look at how Intel communicates with its audience:

However, the exact inverse is true for B2C ads. When targeting average consumers, brands are wise to employ the most relatable voice possible by utilizing straightforward language that mirrors the audience. There is little to no place for jargon in B2C advertising.

Contrary to Intel, Gerber Childrenwear’s audience of mainly parents would appreciate copy like this:

Moreover, B2C ads should trigger emotions in consumers. Neil Patel speaks to this point, writing: “An analysis of 1,400 successful ad campaign case studies found that campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31 percent vs. 16 percent) as those with only rational content.”

This is a crucial dichotomy to recognize when producing B2B and B2C ads.

Negative keyword distinctions

In addition to targeting the audience on their proper characteristics, both B2C and B2B advertisers must understand what elements to exclude in order to reach the most relevant consumers.

The fact is that negative keywords are extremely helpful in weeding out irrelevant searches that eat up advertisers’ budgets. Naturally, the keywords and negative keywords that sellers employ are highly dependent on their specific industry and niche; however, there are some through lines that can be established for both B2B and B2C advertising efforts.

For instance, B2B brands offering a technological solution might want to exclude phrases that are commonly paired with the term “technology” such as:

  • Careers
  • Jobs
  • Hiring
  • Laws
  • Reviews
  • Free

Similarly, B2C retailers who sell new products can also immediately disqualify specific words and phrases that are not applicable to their efforts, such as:

  • Commercial
  • Bulk
  • Used

To do this in Google Ads go to Keywords and click Negative Keywords

However, to get to the core of which terms a business should add to their negative keyword lists, it is best to consult Google’s search term report to uncover phrases that drive impressions and clicks but are wholly irrelevant or fail to convert.

Despite all the differences between B2B and B2C advertising methodologies, there are some commonalities that the two marketing efforts share.

Shared traits

While B2B and B2C ads can be quite different, there are some core components to each that remain the same.

For instance, no matter which type of audience is the target, it is necessary for advertisers to conduct in-depth keyword research to understand which terms and phrases will reach their customers.

Similarly, when advertising through Google, relevance is a significant component of campaign success. Therefore, utilizing compelling landing pages that closely match the ad’s offer is necessary for both B2B and B2C spaces. When there is congruence between an ad and its destination, campaigns will earn a higher quality score.

Moreover, given that consumers are prone to shopping cart abandonment and that B2B customers require a more extended courting period than other types of consumers, developing a retargeting strategy is also a fundamental aspect of campaign success shared across B2B and B2C efforts.

Bagsy decided to utilize Facebook for their retargeting efforts:

While there are plenty of differences between targeting everyday consumers and business prospects, when it comes right down to it, PPC best practices remain intact no matter who is being targeted.

No matter if ads are used in the B2B or B2C realm, it is vital for advertisers to understand the audiences to which they speak. This means that developing buyer personas and conducting market research are key elements for promoting the awareness needed to employ the right language, messaging, targeting tactics and other vital PPC campaign components.

Once this crucial piece of information has been procured, use the strategies outlined above to help your ad campaign reach and resonate with its respective buyers.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Ronald Dod is the chief marketing officer and co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end e-commerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.


Contributor and SMX speaker, Duane Brown, explains in this video why 2020 is the year to get a handle on your mobile experience as well as find the platforms your customers are on and experiment if they’re new to you.

Below is the video transcript:

Hey, my name’s Duane Brown. I run an agency up in Montreal, Canada. We focus on kind of two areas, paid ads, PPC, Google, Facebook, stuff like that. We also do CRO for clients, we’ll often have to figure out how do their websites convert more. And a lot of our clients are in e-commerce.

There’s a lot of trends I think happening for next year. I think there are two areas we all need to focus on. One is that more people are going to spend time on like Pinterest and Snapchat and even Tik Tok. And so figuring out, do you have customers on those platforms? And does it make sense to test those out in 2020? You know Google, Bing, Microsoft,  Facebook – those are all great places to be. But I think spending more time on those other platforms makes sense if your customers are there.

I think the bigger issue for next year is we still don’t have a great mobile experience, especially your on e-commerce. You see people with pop-ups, people with experiences that don’t match the desktop, and with more and more traffic being on mobile, I think it makes sense to look at 2020 as the year to go through your website and figure out if this is the experience we want customers to have, especially on a mobile device. Is this the experience we want customers to have, and does this match your desktop?

If we go into a recession and people spend less money next year, you need to make sure you maintain all your customers. Or if the opportunity presents itself, grow your customer base in market share. Mobile is a great way to do that because the mobile experience is still not where it needs to be and 2020 can be the year to make mobile even better.

More predictions for 2020

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Duane has been called an international man of mystery and digital nomad by friends. He has lived in 6 cities across 3 continents and visited 40 countries around the world. He uses his curiosity for people and love for people watching to run better marketing campaigns for clients. After leaving Toronto in 2011 to gain an international view of the world. He has worked for Telstra in Australia and brands including ASOS, Jack Wills and Mopp (bought Sept. 2014) while in London, UK. He now lives in Montreal, Canada helping brands grow through data, CRO and marketing at Take Some Risk Inc.


“Install App” ads — which ask mobile website users to install the site’s application on their mobile device — are quite common on mobile e-commerce sites, with 53% of sites during testing displaying one.

Indeed, it’s entirely understandable that e-commerce sites that have apps would want to promote them while users are on their website.

Yet our newest round of large-scale mobile e-commerce usability testing reveals severe and disruptive issues caused by these “Install App” ads. These include:

  • “Install App” blocking the view for critical site content (e.g., blocking an “Add to Cart” button),
  • “Install App” appearing multiple times even after users have dismissed it, or
  • “Install App” narrowing the viewport when users choose to ignore it, leaving them with a reduced view of the main page content.

These issues make it clear that having an ad for “Install App” has a high cost in terms of causing an often severe negative impact on users’ product-browsing and -purchasing experience on the mobile website. During our testing “Install App” banners were the direct and sole cause of several abandonments of some of the world’s largest e-commerce websites.

In this article, we’ll discuss the test findings from our latest mobile usability study related to “Install App” ads. In particular, we’ll discuss:

  • Severe usability issues caused by “Install App” ads
  • 3 ways issues caused by “Install App” ads can be minimized
  • Carefully weigh the benefits vs. drawbacks to showing ‘Install App’ ads

Observed Issues Caused by ‘Install App’

It’s a bit of a disaster now, it’s not very straightforward. I can’t see where it says ‘Add to Cart’. A subject at Sephora, who had already decided that she wanted to add a lipstick to the cart, was unable to do so. She scrolled the product page multiple times, scanning for an “Add to Cart” button, then went to the cart and assumed she had to sign in to add the product to the cart. This was a stopping point for her, and only after the facilitator asked her to close the “Install App” ad did she see the “Add to Cart” button. Such a severe block to users’ ability to make a product-purchase decision will be a direct cause of site abandonments.

In testing, the most severe outcome of having the “Install App” ad displayed was when it covered critical site elements — for example, the “Add to Cart” button. As one user said, “‘Add to Basket’ was underneath the little flash pop-up thing. Yeah, that’s stupid [laughs]. That annoyed me.”

With the “Install App” ad displayed, some users won’t be able to add products to their cart without first dismissing the ad — which testing revealed not all users will think to do. Consequently, in some cases the “Install App” ad will be a direct cause of abandonments.

“I don’t know how to get out of this…Oh there”. A user at Under Armour was viewing images of shoes in an image gallery overlay. When she was finished she wanted to return to the product page but couldn’t figure out how to exit the overlay. She first tried tapping the page behind the overlay but nothing happened (first image). Stumped, she wasn’t sure what to do, before she finally noticed and closed the “Install App” ad, which revealed a “Back” link to exit the overlay (second image).

At Under Armour, the “Install App” ad blocks critical product filters (“Gender” and “Category”; first image) until another user dismisses the ad (second image).

“Is there a way I can find it for “Men” and not “Youth”? None of them are clickable. It doesn’t seem like I’ve got size options. There should be something underneath “Size” that I can click…I don’t know what to do.” A different user at Under Armour never thinks to dismiss the “Install App” ad — consequently, he never discovers the filters for “Gender” and “Category”, which were required selections in order to see “Size” filters. He ended up with an overly broad product list that was difficult to navigate.

At B&H Photo, the “Install App” ad covers the “Done” button to apply filters. This user initially exited the filter interface and was confused when his filter changes weren’t applied. He reentered the filter interface, dismissed the app ad, then noticed the “Done” button to apply his filtering choices.

Covering the “Add to Cart” button is obviously a severe issue, but other instances of the “Install App” ad covering crucial content were uncovered as well during testing. For example, the “Install App” ad covering buttons or links needed to exit interfaces or apply selections (such as filters).

These instances, while less severe than when the “Install App” ad covers the “Add to Cart” button, are also quite disruptive for users, as they begin to feel lost and no longer in control of the interface.

Furthermore, some users will never think to dismiss the ad and, consequently, will never find whatever the ad is covering (e.g., crucial filter types). Other users may go back-and-forth between different interfaces as they try to figure out why their selections aren’t being applied (e.g., when the “Install App” ad is covering the “Done” button in filtering interfaces), before finally thinking to dismiss the ad.

Indeed, the “Install App” ad is, for many users, an example of “banner blindness”, where despite its prominence it is ignored. Users missing banner ads for promoted products is one thing, but missing crucial site elements and features because an “Install App” ad is covering them is a much more harmful case of banner blindness.

At Overstock a custom “Install App” ad, combined with a tracking privacy notice, severely limits the actual page content a user is able to see (despite using a tall iPhone XS). Even when “Install App” ads aren’t covering crucial site content they limit a user’s viewport — and therefore hinder the product-browsing experience.

In addition to covering site content, “Install App” ads were also observed in testing to severely limit users’ ability to view main page content.

On mobile, screen real estate is already at a premium, and small viewports are simply a fact of life.

However, making the effective viewport even smaller by showing an “Install App” ad — which, again, not all users will actually dismiss right away — makes it even more difficult to browse and evaluate products. This is especially true when the app ads are combined with privacy notices and other nonproduct-related content, which combined may reduce a user’s ability to see actual page content by 50% or more.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that issues were caused in testing both by the native “Smart App Banners” and custom-designed “Install App” banners.

Now, an obvious solution to the issues caused by the “Install App” ad is not to display one at all to users. In fact, 47% of sites during testing didn’t show an “Install App” ad when users were browsing the sites.

If opting not to display the “Install App” ad at all on the site due to potential usability issues, consider other, less-distracting ways the app can be promoted to users. For example, displaying the ad only on the order confirmation page (after users have placed an order) or including links in marketing emails and newsletters.

Adopting a more subtle approach may allow sites to straddle the line between disrupting users and promoting their app: ensuring that users are allowed to browse free of issues caused by the “Install App” ad while satisfying business interests to promote the app to users.

Three Ways to Minimize Issues Caused by ‘Install App’

While we advise great caution before using “Install App” ads, if it’s deemed that the business case is sufficient for disrupting website users with “Install App” ads then consider the following 3 implementation details, which we observed can greatly impact the cost / benefit ratio.

1) Incentivize users to install the app. While showing an overlay immediately on page load is disruptive, at least Amazon offers users an incentive to download their app.

1) Incentivize users to install the app. If the business case is strong enough to accept losing some mobile website users due to the “Install App” ad, then consider at least incentivizing users to download the app from the site. Offering users “10% off your first order” or “Get $10 to use after installing the app” may get more users to actually install the app on their device, and therefore may offset to some extent the users lost due to usability issues caused by the “Install App” ad on the website.

2) Don’t permanently display the ad. At Walmart an “Install App” ad persists despite this user having been on Walmart for several minutes. This is disruptive to the product-browsing experience. Additionally, it’s likely that few users will decide to download an app when they’re already minutes into their browsing on the mobile website.

2) Don’t permanently display the ad. If an “Install App” ad must be displayed, it should be removed once users have navigated to a new page on the site or have been on the same page for a certain amount of time. Once users have been on the site awhile, or have navigated to new pages, the benefit of showing the “Install App” ad decreases, while the potential to distract users is constant or increases.

As mentioned above, “Install App” ads were observed during testing to suffer from banner blindness, where some users simply ignored them. For these users, the end result will be that they’ll have a much more limited view of the main site content for the duration of their time on the site, if the ad is permanently displayed. Furthermore, these users will potentially never see some critical site elements that are hidden by the “Install App” ad.

3) Show the ad only on certain pages. At Amazon, the “Install App” ad was automatically removed once this user moved from the homepage (first image) to viewing search results (second image) — greatly reducing how potentially distracting the ad is to users.

3) Show the ad only on certain pages. Showing the ad only on certain pages — for example, only on the homepage — also will limit the damage to users’ browsing experience by removing the ad from potentially problematic areas (e.g., product lists, product pages, or search results).

Additionally, limiting where the ad is shown will allow potential issues that the ad may be causing to be better monitored (e.g., overlaying important site elements or content). Conversely, displaying the ad universally throughout the site makes it nearly impossible to control adverse effects that are caused by the ad.

Carefully Weigh the Benefits vs. Drawbacks to Showing ‘Install App’ Ads

The “Install App” ad partially covers the “Added to Cart” overlay for another user at Under Armour.

Sites that choose to display “Install App” ads are clearly hoping users will download the app and then use it on their mobile device to make purchases, rather than going to the mobile website. The reasoning likely is that users using the app are likely to be more frequent and loyal customers.

However, as illustrated above, displaying an “Install App” ad to users isn’t a “freebie” and, depending on the implementation, will either directly or indirectly lead to mobile website abandonments (e.g., if users are unable to find the “Add to Cart” button or if it’s more difficult to find products using filters).

Sites should weigh these costs carefully against the benefit of having a minority of users actually install the app on their device, and then also use it instead of the website.

If “Install App” ads must be displayed to users, then be sure to minimize the disruption for users, by:

1) users are incentivized to download the app,

2) ads are temporary, and

3) ads are only displayed on a select few pages

This article presents the research findings from just 1 of the 690 UX guidelines in Baymard Premium – get full access to learn how to create a “State of the Art” mobile e-commerce user experience.

Authored by
Edward Scott. Published on
August 20, 2019.

personalized “shopping hub” last week that displays at the top of users’ feeds with product recommendations pulled from retailers’ organic Product Pins and Catalog feeds.

According to a Pinterest spokesperson, retailers can upload Pins via Catalogs and their products will be distributed across Pinterest’s shopping surfaces which include this new “shopping hub” feature, as well as other recommendation spaces and shopping feeds.

Pinterest also rolled out an updated shopping section that will display below Product Pins, highlighting Catalog content from the respective brand. “Making it easy to browse into the catalogs of brands of all sizes, like Target, Birdies Slippers, Joybird, The Tie Bar and Parachute,” Pinterest wrote on its business blog.

Why we should care

Pinterest is continuing to build out e-commerce features for its discovery platform to connect users to more branded product recommendations. This personalized “shopping hub” gives retailers the opportunity to expand their reach on the platform outside of ad campaigns.

Pinterest’s customized recommendations should give brands more exposure and more opportunities to move users through the customer journey, from discovery to purchase.

“We’ve found that people increasingly use Pinterest to search for specific types of products and vignettes, and Pinterest’s growing suite of Shopping tools helps us meet that customer demand, providing those shoppers with relevant options from Parachute,” said Parachute CEO Ariel Kaye.

More on the news

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