Remember when having a social media marketing budget to spend was an anomaly? The days when B2B advertising predominantly happened on Google and other third-party platforms? Well, Google still remains number one, but social media advertising is quickly stealing shares of a $560 billion market.

Social media has emerged as one of the leading spaces for B2B brands to reach new, highly-targeted audiences. But with increased B2B advertising spend comes increased competition.

Even more challenging is the fact that B2B marketers are becoming good, no, really good at advertising.

Which is why we’ve put together the ultimate B2B social media budget guide. This guide will take you step-by-step through how to spend your limited advertising dollars to compete with the best in the business.

A Top-Down Social Media Spending Approach: TOFU to BOFU

Before we can tell you exactly how to spend your money, we first need to establish some important social media budget principles.

You often only get once chance to hook a potential customer on social media… so make it count!

That social media advertising funnel is broken up into three distinct stages:

  • Awareness: Top-of-the-funnel (TOFU)
  • Consideration: Middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU)
  • Conversion: Bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU)

Here’s a great graph from Shopify showing exactly what I mean in detail:

It’s an enormous hurdle to immediately begin selling your product via social media advertising.

As a B2B marketer, you have to be willing to build relationships with potential customers first before you ask for the purchase.

Advertising Funnel

You do this by creating content tailored specifically for people at certain stages of the funnel.

For example, you might consider creating some fun, light-hearted, value-prop-focused content for a large audience at the TOFU, while simultaneously creating CTA-driven content for retargeted audiences at the BOFU.

Invest in Video Content

Apart from experimentation (which we’ll discuss next), visual design, a.k.a. your creative, plays a crucial role in generating ROI with your social media budget.

Specifically, investing in video content. Did you know that, after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to purchase a product online? Or that Dr. James McQuivey famously calculated frames per second and length of video to discover that the value of a 1-minute video is worth 1.8 million words?

I would highly recommend either, 1) investing in a tool like Animoto, Promo, or ClipChamp to help you easily create video content for your ads, or 2) hiring a freelance video creator/editor on a community website like Upwork or Fiverr.

Wistia, for example, used this TOFU video ad to attract small brands and teams of one:

Imagine if Wistia had posted an image or written a blog post. They wouldn’t have been able to get nearly as much information across in such a short amount of time. Plus, this video took less than one hour to make!

Don’t be afraid to spend a portion of your social media budget on stunning visual content. Doing so will pay off in the long run.

Invest in Experimentation (A/B Testing)

In short, A/B testing is a method of comparing two versions of an asset (video, webpage, app, etc.) against each other to determine which one performs better. It’s important to note that in A/B testing, all elements remain the same besides the two assets being tested.

Initially, your A/B tests will most likely fail. But these are positive failures in the right direction. These early failures are critical learnings in your journey to successful ad campaigns. 

Here are a few key elements to test:

Creative

You might have a good idea of what your audience likes in terms of content, but you won’t know for sure until you test your creative (see previous section).

If you have a library of videos at your disposal, a good idea is to A/B test video testimonials against written ones, or short infographics against longer versions.

Dollar Shave Club.png

Try experimenting with different lengths, people, formats, colors, music, and more until you find a combination that works.

Headlines and Copy

Aside from the creative, your headline and caption (copy) are important components in helping to set your ad apart from other content in the feed or platform.

Your headline and copy should quickly educate potential customers on why they might care about your product.

Here’s a great example from Slack:

Slack Social Media Ad.png

Changing even one word in your headline and copy can influence conversion rates, which is why it’s great to test these after you’ve found a creative that works.

Top Platforms to Spend Your Social Media Budget

Now that you have an idea of what makes for a successful social media ad, it’s time to put all of that hard work to use. 

The following are three thriving advertising platforms that will help you reach your intended audience. 

Instagram

You’ve most likely heard of the social behemoth, Instagram. But Instagram is more than just beautiful photos, it’s also a B2B advertising power house. 

  • 75% of users take action on Instagram ads (e.g., purchasing a product or going to a website)
  • More than 1 billion people use Instagram every month

Meyer's Clean Day Ad.png

According to AdEspressothe average cost-per-click for Instagram ads is around $0.70 – $0.80. These are relatively low numbers considering the massive potential.

Bonus: Check out our on demand webinar on mastering Instagram marketing.

YouTube

Believe it or not, YouTube boasts more than 1.9 billion monthly users and 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV.

Most impressive, however, is that 90% of bumper ad campaigns boosted global ad recall by an average of 30%. That’s not bad for taking up only six seconds of a user’s day.

Check out this series of creative bumper ads from brands like Airbnb, Nissan, Singapore, and more. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in six seconds:

YouTube is a great option for B2B brands looking to stand out from highly-competitive platforms like Facebook & Instagram.

I’d be willing to bet that it becomes a breakout channel in 2019 and 2020 for advertising.

Google

As you know, Google dominates just about every aspect of the online world.

Not only is Google great for reaching your target audience and broad spectrums of demographics, but it’s also great at producing a high return on your investment.

The best part about Google is that it is relatively easy to get up and running.

These ads on “VR Headsets”, for example, only took a few minutes to launch and don’t require any elaborate visuals:

Google AdWords

According to Google studies and their Economic Impact Report, advertisers on the platform will on average generate $2 for every $1 spent.

That’s a 100% return on your investment!

A Brief Social Media Budget Summary

Today we’ve covered just about everything you need to know to get started with B2B advertising.

Before you go, be sure to keep these principles top of mind in your next campaign:

  • The simpler, the better: Don’t overcomplicate the advertising process. Keep your visuals and experiments simple and you’ll quickly weed out the ads that don’t work.
  • Learn something new every day: Advertising takes time to get good at. That means you must be willing to try new things and learn every single day.
  • Be patient: You won’t launch a successful ad campaign overnight. With patience and practice, however, your products will be flying off the shelf.

I’m looking forward to seeing your ads in my feed someday soon.

Next Steps: Showing Results

Having and spending a budget comes with accountability. The last thing you want is to be asked to show results and not be prepared to make a case for how paid social contributed to marketing and business goals. To learn how to report results, read our ebook on PR and social media KPIs, or watch the webinar. You’ll get a comprehensive list of social KPIs as well as step-by-step guidance on validating your current social media advertising budget—and guidance on asking for more!