Does this sound familiar? “We’re a manufacturing business focused on B2B marketing. We don’t need to know how to advertise on Facebook.”

Have you heard it from a client or colleague? Have you, yourself said it? I recently took part in a few lively discussions about what the Facebook Ad Exchange network can mean for B2B companies. I heard multiple arguments from B2B marketers (who I respect, by the way) telling me that Facebook has no place in their digital marketing plans.

If you’re not familiar with the Facebook Ad Exchange, it basically allows a brand to advertise through authorized partners like Triggit to display retargeting ads on the world’s most popular social network. So, for example, let’s say you’re a buyer for some type of industrial product and you take the following steps:

1) You click on a search result
2) You visit a site
3) You leave that site
4) You go to Facebook to check up on your friends’ updates
5) On Facebook, you’re presented with an ad related to the site that you just visited

It might seem creepy to those who aren’t in online marketing, but it’s a very common practice on the web and the marketing strategy isn’t exactly new (just relatively new to Facebook). Generally, when a person is engaged in activities that might be considered “time wasting” (like catching up on the news or spending time on Facebook), the brain is more receptive to messaging.

Listen to the Facebook Stats

If you’ve read a social media blog, attended a social media conference, a webinar, or just read one of the frequent articles in the mainstream press about the growth of Facebook, you’ll hear things like:

  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s (blank) largest!
  • Facebook accounts for (blank) percentage of all web pages served!
  • (blank) percentage of an average internet user’s time is spent on Facebook!
  • Facebook (and other social media platforms) account for (blank) amount of lost productivity at work!

I could go on, but you get the idea. No matter which stat you choose to look at, understand that your target audience most likely does spend time on Facebook (and I can prove it simply by doing some basic profiling) so why would you not re-target them?

One of the answers I got went something like this: “While it may be true that I go on to Facebook, I do NOT go on there to look at B2B ads for my industry. I doubt anyone else does either.”

That is an accurate statement. And my response was: “So what?” There are other channels delivering B2B marketing messages in places we’re not looking for them.

Other than during the Super Bowl, most of us aren’t excited to watch television ads. And I doubt many wait in breathless anticipation hoping to be shown an ad related to business to business industries. But guess what, we do.

How many times have you watched a televised sports game and have been shown ads for business related products like IT hardware and software, staffing, shipping and logistics, and other products that clearly aren’t consumer based? Smart marketers know their target market is out there watching the game, not directly thinking about work but will notice if an ad pertains to their industry.

None of us drive down the freeway just hoping to see billboards for B2B products and services, but we do. When you’re stuck in rush hour traffic moving along at 5 m.p.h., a part of your brain is probably acting more passively, and more receptive to messaging and suggestion. That’s why business to business brands buy billboard ads.

Whether you listen to music or talk radio, you hear ads. Some of them are even focused on B2B marketing. Oh, the horror! I don’t turn on the radio to be presented with an ad for a product or service that might be for my business, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never paused to listen closely to one that grabs my attention.

What’s this means for B2B Facebook advertising?

Well it’s simple. A prospect went to your website and left. You now have one more method to influence that prospect. Even if the ad doesn’t result in a click, you’re serving up another impression to someone who saw your logo recently. The fact that you don’t think your customers and prospects go to Facebook to see B2B ads shouldn’t sway you at all. So have at it.

Curious about how to advertise on Facebook? Enroll in the Online Marketing Institute course and gain on-demand access to Optimizing Advertisements on Facebook.