Metadata Report Validates B2B Marketers Should Shift from Lead Gen to Demand Generation

by Paul Slack
  |  July 21, 2023  |  
July 21, 2023

Bar Graphic Illustration | Metadata Report: B2B Marketers Should Shift From Lead Generation to Demand Generation | Vende Digital

The recent B2B Paid Social Benchmark Report from Metadata delivers a clear message: running lead generation campaigns to cold audiences in social media yields poor results. Despite B2B marketers investing heavily in this strategy, the return on investment (ROI) remains disappointing. Vende Digital has been saying this for a while, and now the Metadata B2B Paid Social Benchmark report, backed by a comprehensive analysis of $42MM in spend, validates our point of view.

What is the Metadata B2B Paid Social Benchmark Report?

The annual benchmark report from Metadata offers insights and benchmarks for B2B marketers based on the analysis of actual campaign data from Metadata customers. The data includes ad spend, impressions, clicks, leads, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), opportunities, and closed-won revenue. The main focus is B2B paid social campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Conversely, the report highlights a significant improvement in performance for demand gen and retargeting ads compared to lead gen ads. As a result, B2B marketers are starting to redirect their budgets away from lead gen ads, allocating 80% to lead generation this year, down from 90% last year.

9 Key Takeaways from the Metadata B2B Paid Social Benchmark Report

Let’s delve into the report’s insights and explore 9 actionable tips to elevate your B2B marketing strategies.

1. Invest in Paid Even in a Down Economy

The report reveals a surprising trend: despite a challenging economy, investments in paid advertising have increased yearly, contradicting the common belief that marketers would reduce spending. However, with longer sales cycles and fewer buyers in the market due to lower buying power, doesn’t mean your audience isn’t researching for when they can buy. It’s still important to create demand to position yourself favorably when budgets open up. One of the reasons for more spending might also be that cost-per-click (CPC) is down 31.5% year-over-year, making social ads a great buy right now. 

2. Play the Long Game

The study validates that you must warm up your audience before pushing for conversions. Executing a winning paid social strategy that targets “FUTURE” buyers instead of just “NOW” buyers attracts higher-quality leads over time. Focus on creating demand through buyer enablement, educating potential customers gradually, and positioning yourself as a top-of-mind vendor when they need your services. Investing in long-term strategies ensures a steady flow of qualified leads that convert at higher rates, securing your place on their narrowed list of preferred vendors.

3. Ungate Content

Modern buyers are reluctant to share their contact information for content. Yet, the most popular CTA is still “Download,” indicating a preference for driving PDF downloads through paid social efforts. Marketers are spending an average of $126 for a PDF download which doesn’t make sense. Instead, you should repurpose valuable information within your gated content and share it on social media like LinkedIn. This will get you more impressions and educate buyers at scale. Unlocking your best content and making it easily accessible will resonate better with your audience.  

4. Shift to a Balanced Approach

Pure lead generation targeting cold audiences won’t cut it. Instead, warm customers with demand generation marketing strategies, then retarget using down-funnel content & offers for effective lead nurturing and pipeline growth. Move away from traditional gated PDF downloads and consider repurposing content into social media posts. Engage your audience through educational and informative content that can be promoted to a targeted audience. Focus on honing in the buying experience and optimizing for when someone raises their hand and wants to talk to sales. 

5. Combine ABM with Intent Data

Every CEO wants you to spend less money on paid ads right now. Utilizing ABM (Account-Based Marketing) can be a smart strategy to maximize your budget by targeting a smaller set of high-value accounts. Understanding the intent signals of your audience enables you to create more relevant and personalized content, boosting the chances of conversion. For example:

  • Taking your target account list and overlaying intent signals, such as website visitors, recent funding, or hiring activities within a company, will help identify high-intent prospects.  
  • Reignite interest from older prospects by building targeted ABM lists from your CRM contacts that showed previous engagement with your company. 
  • Run reports on LinkedIn, see what companies consume your content, and double down on those accounts.
  • Look at your first-party data and target accounts re-engaging, warming up, or surging.   

6. Offer Value, Not Just Demos

Once accounts are warmed up, offer valuable content beyond traditional demos. Use paid social ads to provide access to events, custom reports, calculators, free trials, or engaging product tours to capture high-intent leads effectively.

7. Consider Facebook/Instagram for Retargeting Your Audience

Often overlooked by B2B marketers, Facebook’s retargeting capabilities make it an exceptional platform for re-engaging potential customers who have previously shown interest in your company.  By strategically using retargeting ads, you can effectively nurture leads and guide them further into your sales pipeline, maximizing your marketing efforts and driving better results.

8. Nurture Relationships in Multiple Channels 

B2B marketing is a long-term game. While running paid campaigns is a great way to build awareness and deliver targeted messages at various stages of the buyer journey, including strategies for nurturing relationships in other channels like email and community. Making solid connections will pay off when prospects are ready to purchase.

9. Measure Blended CPL and CPO

When shifting to an ABM and Demand Gen strategy, focus on marketing metrics that measure blended Cost Per Lead (CPL) and Cost Per Opportunity (CPO) by channel rather than tactic. This will help you better understand your campaigns’ overall efficiency and success in a given channel. For example, you’ll see how the channel performs when you blend the outcomes from different marketing tactics like zero-click content for top-of-funnel awareness and offers in mid and bottom-funnel. This will help you optimize strategies, allocate resources effectively, and achieve better long-term results.  

Creating and Capturing Demand Wins the Day

The Metadata report confirms that it’s not just about capturing demand; it’s about creating demand and staying top of mind. You can thrive even in this down economy by adopting a more balanced approach, leveraging intent signals, and refining your offers. 

Remember, in a rapidly changing B2B landscape, staying adaptable and open to refining your strategies is vital to long-term success. Leverage the tips in the blog to position your business for growth when the market rebounds.

How Can We Help?

If you want to enhance your B2B marketing efforts and achieve better results, our expert team specializes in demand generation and paid social strategies. We can help you optimize your campaigns, nurture high-intent leads, and measure blended CPL & CPO to maximize ROI. Thrive in any economy with our tailored solutions. Contact us today for a consultation and elevate your business growth!

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