b2b paid search basics

When it’s developed, monitored and managed properly, paid search can be a critical component of the success of any integrated marketing campaign. There are multiple variables to consider from the beginning and throughout the campaign that can impact budget, visibility and the end result. It’s important to frequently assess your analytics to make sure the campaign is on track and make ongoing changes to improve performance. To get you started on beginning a paid search campaign, we cover some of the basics.


From the beginning you should define what you are trying to achieve when obtaining clicks to your website or certain landing page. There are a variety of goals that you can set. Here are some to consider:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Drive engagement to an asset or product
  • Draw donations for a fundraiser

A clearly stated and measurable objective is important to being able to properly analyze the results on a frequent basis and revise your paid search campaign as needed.


Pay-per-click (PPC) is popular because you’re paying for the clicks that drive traffic directly to your website. To execute this effectively, it’s important to first choose the right keywords. The right keywords are specific, relevant and commonly searched. The wrong keywords can generate clicks but deter viewers on your website from completing the desired call to action (CTA) that will ultimately help you achieve your stated campaign objectives. When determining the best possible keywords for your campaigns consider these types of keywords that makeup what and how users search:

  • Branded Keywords: Words that contain the brand name or company name.
  • Short-Tail Keywords: General searches that consist of only a few words, usually one or two, such as “B2B marketing” or “technology.”
  • Long-Tail Keywords: General searches that consist of more than three to four words and tend to be more focused such as “B2B marketing plan templates” or “technology for a marketing company.” These keywords also have higher conversion rates because the more specific a user gets, the more purchase intent they have.

Review historical metrics and search engine optimization (SEO) reports to discover popular words that have driven traffic to your website. Always keep your goals and strategy in mind when choosing the keywords.


Paid search campaign spending varies depending on the budget that your B2B organization has. To ensure that the budget is not exceeded, paid search campaigns should be monitored daily. Allotting a weekly budget is popular in most cases, in others, you might see a monthly or full campaign budget. Whichever budgeting technique you choose to pursue or have been given, keep these things in mind:

  • Forecast: Forecasting spend, lead generation and more, if available, is useful for budgeting. If you intend on spending an amount of your budget per day but the forecast for leads isn’t as high as you would have hoped, this can allow you to adjust accordingly.
  • Use data to optimize: Digging deep into the data you receive from your paid search campaigns is key to future spending. Doing so will be beneficial for budgeting as you can then know where to direct your budget in the future.
  • Be flexible: Things might not always go to plan in terms of your campaigns. Using forecasting and associated tools are very beneficial for planning and benchmarking. Sometimes, the actual results will not match the projected results, whether it be below or above the projections. If this is the case, understand where the differences were and what impact that it had on your campaign.


It’s essential to run an analysis on the campaigns your organization runs. There are a variety of metrics and statistics that you can look through, but focus on the data that showed spikes, dips, and/or steady numbers. Evaluate what changed for any fluctuations. Did you add keywords? Change your campaign copy? Change your landing page URL? In looking at the numbers, what were the impressions? What was the CTR? And, most importantly, what were the conversion rates? Did you hit the initial goals you set to get viewers to buy, engage, gain knowledge or donate? Your initial goals need to be measured from the beginning to end to understand the full success of your campaigns.