How B2B Tech Brands Use Paid Media


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The Forrester Research Interactive Marketing Forecast indicates that B2B brands spend more on Paid Search than SEO, Email and Social, by more than 10 to 1. With more empowered and knowledgeable customers increasingly doing more category, company and product research on their own, it is critical for B2B brands (in the technology sector in particular) to find ways to drown out the noise on the search engine results page and capture their customer’s attention, then initiate an action.

Through an analysis of about 20 top B2B hardware and software providers, Tim Trus, Search and Media Director at Rosetta, gleaned some very simple and actionable key takeaways.

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  • We don’t know what the KPI is and what their goal is, so we can’t say that sometign is not “successful” but we can make some clear distinctions.
  •  This just shows the level of coverage, not performance.
  • Core Competitors:Swiss Re ( Endurance ( Aspen ( Alterra ( ACE (
  • Focus on UX and continually test and refine where you are taking based off of landing page. If MCST is trying to get video views, they need to make some changes.
  • Business leaders are interacting with many sites that are not the typical B2B oriented sites. Just because you are b2b doesn’t mean you should abandon b2c sites. We chose Dell because they had the broadest reach.
  • Display can be used for both top of funnel and can be used to re-engage. Display is very dangerous because it can feed brand conversion as well. There is no way to be sure if you are being targeted with an ad.
  •  This just shows the level of coverage, not performance.
  •  This just shows the level of coverage, not performance.
  • How B2B Tech Brands Use Paid Media

    1. 1. CONFIDENTIAL Copyright 2014 ROSETTA. This document is confidential and proprietary property. Please do not forward or release this document without prior consent from ROSETTA. PAID MEDIA BEST PRACTICES EVALUATING THE B2B TECHNOLOGY SECTOR APRIL 2014
    2. 2. We Reviewed Paid Media Programs for Top B2B Technology Brands Our analysis looked at several key areas of paid display and paid search programs to better understand how well the channels are being leveraged to drive engagement, including: §  PPC keyword rank and coverage for some of the category leaders in hardware and software §  The quality of keyword copy and integration between keywords and landing experiences §  Opportunities for optimizing publisher and media partner strategies §  The effectiveness of banner ads and creative messaging See a snapshot of our findings on the next few slides. 2 Tim  Trus   Rosetta, Director of Search & Media Analysis completed in March 2014
    3. 3. PAID MEDIA | PPC 3
    4. 4. Current Paid Search Landscape | Hardware While a number of companies are more aggressive with respect to rank, IBM and Dell fall into the ideal balance of rank and coverage §  HP has an aggressive paid search strategy dominating the premium positions, though only holding 20% coverage on monitored terms §  The majority of companies hold less than 30% coverage and an average rank greater than 4 §  IBM and Dell fall into the “ideal quadrant,” holding a competitive average rank and more than 50% coverage §  This maximizes the companies share of voice (SOV), ensuring exposure and consistent brand presence Source: Benchtools (March 2014), Keywords monitored : blade server, rack server, tower server, server infrastructure management, data center solutions, networking switches, cloud computing services, cloud computing solutions, data warehousing, storage area network 4 Non-brand Coverage & Rank March 2014 B2B Campaign – Google Desktop SEM: Average Coverage and Rank 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 RANK HP.COM DELL.COM IBM.COM ABMX.COM CISCO.COM INTEL.COM EMC.COM RACKSPACE.COM COVERAGE % HYVESOLUTIONS.COM SERVERSDIRECT.COM Rank – Keyword ranking on page (1-10) Coverage – % of times ad shows in eligible searches
    5. 5. Current Paid Search Landscape | Software Premium ad positions are extremely competitive, though few companies are holding more than 50% coverage on monitored keywords 5 §  Competition within the top four ad positions is extremely competitive, though no company holds more than 25% coverage §  The majority of companies hold less than 50% coverage, signaling an opportunity to increase share of voice (SOV) in the marketplace §  HP and EMC fall into the “ideal quadrant,” holding a competitive average rank and more than 50% coverage §  This maximizes the companies SOV, ensuring exposure and consistent brand presence Source: Benchtools (March 2014), Keywords monitored : network management software, software defined networking, human capital management software, application lifecycle management, cloud management software, automation software, analytics software, big data software, software defined storage, networking software, crm solutions, supply chain management software Non-brand Coverage & Rank March 2014 B2B Campaign – Google Desktop SEM: Average Coverage and Rank 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 RANK TINTRI.COM HP.COM EMC.COM MICROSOFT.COM IBM.COM MINDTREE.COM REDHAT.COM NEXENTA.COM RIGHTSCALE.COM CISCO.COM ORACLE.COM COVERAGE % Rank – Keyword ranking on page (1-10) Coverage – % of times ad shows in eligible searches
    6. 6. Ad Copy Analysis Ideal ad copy blends effective, differentiating messaging, a strong call to action (CTA) and use of ad extensions to provide the best user experience Opportunities §  Adopt “always on” strategy to fully fund and own branded search terms and drive incremental traffic §  Include sitelinks and other applicable ad extensions to provide a deeper user experience and own more real estate on the SERP §  Leverage Google Betas and Enhancements such as customer reviews or remarketing lists for search ads to increase CTR and drive qualified visitors to the site Strong  Ad  Copy   Opportunity  for  Refinement   6
    7. 7. Landing Page Experience An ideal landing page leverages consistent, concise brand messaging and is conversion-focused to maximize the user experience and business impact OPPORTUNITIES: §  Align ad copy and landing page messaging to provide a consistent user experience §  Landing page should have clear focus and be conversion-oriented §  Ensure text is concise and broken into bullets, avoiding large blocks of text Strong  Landing  Page  Experience   Opportunity  for  Refinement   7
    8. 8. PAID MEDIA | DISPLAY 8
    9. 9. Publisher & Media Strategies Dell utilizes a healthy portfolio of advertising networks and top portals, allowing for the opportunity to reach differentiated marketing segments OPPORTUNITIES: §  Differentiate advertising networks and portals being used to reach a widespread audience §  Reach your target audience while also expanding into “like” audience customers through the utilization of 3rd party data and smart prospecting tactics §  Consider aligning with “core endemic sites” of the desired audience (techcrunch or wired) to leverage relevant content and brand association, and to market to individuals, not companies   Compe;;ve  Landscape/Partnerships   1 Facebook 2 Yahoo Sites 3 Google Sites 4 AOL, Inc. 5 Ziff Davis Tech 6 Gannett Sites 7 Curse 8 Turner Digital 9 United Online, Inc. 10 Microsoft Sites 11 CBS Interactive 12 Glam Media 13 IDG Network 14 Forbes Digital 15 16 Best Buy Sites 17 Fox News Digital Network 18 19 Time Warner Cable, Inc. 20 eBay 9 Source: comScore AdMetrix, (Date Range: Feb ‘14); Site lists are not exhaustive
    10. 10. OPPORTUNITIES: §  Highlight brand and product-specific differentiators within banner to communicate core message and set brand apart from competitors §  Use consistent brand messaging across paid media channels (search and display) §  Leverage messaging to target users in the various stages of the conversion funnel §  Opportunity to focus on retargeting of site visitors to help close the purchase cycle   Creative Messaging Strategies Utilize display advertising to focus on brand awareness and reach users at the top of the conversion funnel, while using display retargeting to re-engage with previous site visitors Source: comScore / 10
    11. 11. Key Takeaways While the specific strategies and goals of each company’s campaigns will vary, clear opportunities we observed for all B2B technology brands to improve paid media engagement are: 1.  Establish Goals – There need to be guidelines that help influence the blend of direct response and awareness efforts 2.  Test Everything – Your customers will tell you what they want; listen and then refine your approach from your targeted keywords and copy messaging, all the way to the site copy and CTAs 3.  Tactic Integration – Insight into plans and performance of other digital efforts (SEO, Social, Email) as well as offline (Direct Mail, Print) will allow for tactic alignment and an enhanced experience You can find more digital media best practices on and our blog, 11
    12. 12. About Rosetta Rosetta is a customer engagement agency. We combine human insights, technology and next-generation storytelling to craft meaningful connections that drive tangible results. If you are interested in an analysis of how well you are talking to your customers across paid media or other channels, reach out at and we will get you in touch with our team. 12
    13. 13. Thank You 13