Google made $19 billion from advertising last year.
That’s a lot of clicks.
And for B2B companies, a lot of wasted clicks, and a lot of wasted cash.
That’s because Google has yet to cater its advertising platform to B2B advertisers and shoppers.
For consumers searching for consumer products, you get both regular text ads as well as image-based shopping ads.
But for B2B, no such luck.
The problem is that B2B advertisers have to show their ads to anyone searching for keywords related to their product or service, and thus “risk” them getting clicked on by a consumer.
This is mainly because B2B searchers often don’t include the all-important caveat “for business” in their Google searches.
Someone searching for anti virus software for their business are more likely to Google “anti virus software” than “anti virus software for business”.
Thus, an anti-virus software company that only serves businesses is going to get a lot of wasted clicks from people searching for anti-virus software for their personal computers.
“But wait Robert, shouldn’t this anti-virus company make it clear in their Google ad that their solution is for businesses only?”
Yes, they should and they can make it super clear that they are for businesses only by using a headline such as “Anti-Virus Software for Businesses”.
But, but, but. Here’s the thing.
Some people will click on ads no matter what they say.
It’s because people are busy, they are surfing and searching in low attention mode.
You can make it crystal clear in your ad who your product is for (and who it isn’t for), and people will still click it.
They’re searching for something and they see results, they’re going to assume the ads are relevant and click away.
And here’s the other thing.
Even if people do see that a solution is for businesses, they’ll click on it to see if there’s a non-business solution. They may think, “well if they have it for businesses, maybe they’ll have it for consumers too”.
And here’s the other, other thing.
If you’re the B2B anti-virus company bidding on the keyword “anti-virus software” and your ad says “Anti-Virus Software for Businesses”, you’re going to have a low clickthrough rate (because most people searching for virus software will be looking for it for their personal computer, not their business), and Google will penalize you with a low Quality Score, and thus you’ll pay a higher Cost Per Click (CPC).
In other words, B2B companies kind of get screwed.
How much of that $19 billion was spent on wasted clicks by B2B advertisers?
I have no idea…but a lot.
My Solution for B2B Advertisers
Two recommendations here in my Google B2B SERP page:
- Distinguish business or “B2B ads” from regular ads.
- Just like “shopping” tab or category, have a B2B search category for business-related results only.
Will it fly with Google?
However, if other search engines develop solutions that are less wasteful, and more successful for B2B companies…Google’s gonna see a chunk of that $19 billion disappear.