24 Global Marketing Pros Share Their Secrets On The Best B2B Ad Creatives
Oribi Team, Mon Nov 08 2021, 17 min
It’s no secret that B2B ads are placed high up in the competitive arena. Like you, there are probably another handful of competitors trying to get the word out about their brand. That’s why focusing on the creative side of your ads is super important nowadays; they can either make or break your campaign. Unlike B2C ads that have the advantage of reaching a wider audience and have access to a lot of data that marketing managers can easily work with, B2B ads are granular and highly targeted. While being unique and catchy is a good stepping stone, it doesn’t always equate to phenomenal CTRs and conversion rates.
That’s why we went ahead and asked the top industry game players what their take is when it comes to a solid, successful, and meaningful B2B ad. From traditional long sale cycle B2B companies to smaller ones just starting out, discover the secrets to a successful B2B creative from 24 global marketing pros.
Bonus- See some fantastic examples of ad creatives for instant inspiration
1. Keep It Short & Sweet
You have around 5 seconds to get a user’s attention, so keeping your creatives short, sweet, and to the point is a recipe for success according to Pepe Bejar, Senior Acquisition Manager from Guesty. Here are his four golden tips:
You can't overwhelm the user's brain.
"A brain can only digest a certain amount of data at one moment, and one moment is all you are going to get from a user on social media. So if your creative is too packed with text, graphics, logos, etc., and there's too much to digest, most users will just scroll and your team's work won't be read.
Keep your text concise.
Don't feel that you need to use all the characters that social media lets you. If you can do it with less and still get your point across that’s even better.
Focus on the subject.
The subject of your ad has to be the most prominent piece in the creative. Your eye should first go to the subject line and then to the rest of the creative.
Having a CTA on the creative.
Yes, most channels give you their own CTA's, but they are in the lower right corner; that’s usually the last place your eye will go, and it usually doesn't stand out. So having a CTA in the creative that looks more organic with the design will increase your CTR, plus you have more control over what is inside the CTA.”
2. Show Me The Platform!
Don’t get too carried away with complex creatives; showing your product in action can make a significant impact, according to Katia Gelfman, Social Campaign Manager at Taboola. She adds, “It might seem obvious, but sometimes, we're making such efforts to create and test new video and image concepts when we might forget that not all of the users that we're targeting are familiar with our platform/software.
When we went through the comments on our ads, we noticed that a lot of users are asking to see the platform and how their ads are going to look like at the end (since 'Taboola ads' is an advertising platform)”.
3. Simplicity At Its Finest
Blake Strozyk, Performance Marketing Manager from Refine Labs, believes that overcomplicating your ad creatives is a no-go. “A lot of companies love to overcomplicate the strategy for paid social creatives. In reality, you can keep it really simple”. He shares some fantastic concepts to consider:
Before and After “Transformation” Ads
Case Studies with results in the creative
Problem awareness blogs
Thought leadership content
4. Teamwork Is Vital
Sebastian Bjørnsen, Performance Marketing Specialist from Pleo.io believes that having a close relationship with the design team is what’s going to get you a great ad creative. Apart from that, he also shares that breaking down the ad and focusing on these four factors is vital:
Intro - Focus on a good intro. Don't save the gold until the end.
Break resistance - Show the audience WHAT you do, and let them know WHY you are worth it by explaining cool things about your product.
Localization - Don't think that speaking English to everyone in the world is the way to go. Different countries = different cultures. Do the necessary research to understand what resonates with the audience and speak their language.
Duration - Try to keep your ad below 30 seconds as a rule of thumb. The vast majority of people watching your ad will never finish it”.
5. Hop On The Emotional Rollercoaster
Emmanuel Cohen, who heads the marketing department at Walnut.io believes in the power of emotions. “My best tip is to speak to emotions. You want people to stop scrolling if you expect them to read your message so you need to go beyond the pure rational argumentation. It doesn’t matter if you target high profiles or competitive industries, at the end of the day, emotions go across titles and verticals.
Our brand is playful and approachable which allows us to play a bit with the boundaries of classic B2B advertising. For example, in our video ad, when the actress “curses,” it’s meant to create surprise and grab another few seconds of attention between each “rational” argument. In our LinkedIn ads, we try first to create a ‘WTF’ effect and from there explain our message. Prospects told our sales team that seeing our ads made them curious, and they wanted to know more about the company.”
6. Nothing’s Set In Stone
Sometimes, it’s not about following the rules—it’s also about standing out from the crowd and letting your brand tell its story. Best practices? Maybe they are not so much a cause for concern. David Tzabari emphasizes this point, saying, “ Best practices do not create great ads. Great ads create best practices. When we create a new ad, we often find ourselves narrowing down our story to meet the best practices. The result? An ad that addresses an audience that is too broad presents the problem partially and gives an overly broad view of the solution. So what’s the solution? I suggest remembering that yesterday’s best ads wrote today’s best practices, and today’s great ads will write tomorrow’s best practices. Try to remember that what we’re doing is not rocket science—if your brand has a story to tell, and the story fails to meet the best practices, do not be afraid to tell it. Who knows, maybe tomorrow’s best practices will be written based on your ad”.
Here’s a real-life example from Pollfish that did not conform to any best practices in this ad. In fact, the solution and the CTA only appear after 30 seconds.
7. Make It Love At First Sight
When it comes to video ads, you have only a few seconds to make a good first impression. Amalia Katz, the user acquisition team lead at Elementor believes that “Video ads are just like in real life—you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” To get this impression right, she also advises it’s best to “communicate the main message within those critical first 2 seconds and focus on a real customer pain point. Also, Customers appreciate real values, so keep your ads authentic as much as you can and use testimonials or real user stories.”
8. Just Keep Exploring
This is one rule of thumb that Yan (Yanko) Kotliarsky, Head of Growth at accessiBe swears by. His outlook is pretty simple and gives great food for thought: “Never assume you know. Constantly remind yourself that you're not your target audience, even if you go after marketers or ad people. You're biased towards your company, product, and proposition, and you see reality differently from your target audience. By never assuming you know, you force yourself to explore constantly. Whether it's AB testing, ongoing research, feedback from your audience, whatever it is, let the data come from them, not from yourself.”
9. It’s All In The Funnel
Not everyone knows who you are, and so it only makes sense that using different ad creatives and focal points targeting users at different stages of your funnel is key. Jack Vidal, Sr. Digital Acquisition Manager at Hibob uses this strategy. He elaborates, “Always make sure your creative resonates with your target audience and what stage of the funnel they are in. For people who have never heard of us, I will provide value first (free guide, etc). For people who are problem aware, I will emphasize why bob is the best solution for their problem. Next, I will use UGC (User Generated Content), and testimonials for social proof.”
10. Don’t Be Sensational
Nimrod Kozol, Head of Growth Marketing at Lusha sums it all up in 3 words: “Keep it Simple.” He adds, “Campaign managers get [so] caught up sometimes in tiny A/B tests that they forget that B2B performance marketing, just like B2C marketing, comes down to selling to a consumer.” And, as far slogans are concerned, non-complex and sensational slogans are a no-go. “When our team brainstorms ad ideas, we try to avoid empty slogans like ‘close more deals’ and instead emphasize the exact pain point the user needs to solve. Our best performing ads are those which keep it simple and to the point.”
11. Go for the Pain Points
We’ve all got a pain point, and how you present it to your target audience is a factor to consider. Liron Katzav, Acquisition Expert at Connecteam believes in triggering these points and then offering a solution. “Talk to the person, not the company. Speak directly to the target audience’s pain points and how your product solves them.”
And, to get the snowball rolling, consider using relevant terminology. Liron adds, “Use the terminology without fear: grab the relevant people’s attention and use this as a filter. Not everyone exposed to the ad has to understand it.”
12. Keep It Raw & Real
Sometimes, an overload of imagery can confuse your audience, so keeping things more on the simplistic side while showing off the perks of your product is the golden ticket to grabbing attention. Gabriel Ehrlich, Founder of the Linkedin Ads agency Remotion, further elaborates, “Best tip or trick? Keep it real. If you're promoting your product, show us the product. If you're promoting content, show us what's inside the content. Too much B2B creative is stock imagery and useless stock illustrations. Don't do that.”
13. We’re All Human
Just as previously mentioned, remember that actual people use your B2B products and services; reaching out to them with an emotional approach is also crucial. Yuval Bramson, Director of Growth Marketing at Duda explains this main tip further, saying, “Remember that at the end of the day, B2B tech products are purchased by human beings. Like any other buyer, they are looking to feel something when seeing your ad or buying your product. Cold features and benefits are important, but they can't always be front and center. Aim for the emotion to grab attention and make the message resonate.”
14. Brighten Their World
It’s no secret that using bright and fun colors will probably make your ad stand out from the rest. The best example, in this case, is Monday.com’s creative approach to robust and powerful color pallets. We reached out to Raz Navon, the User Acquisition Team Lead at monday.com, for his take on impressive B2B creatives. “On push channels, you always have to be attractive in terms of design & copy. The average user scrolls 90 meters of content a day, and you as an advertiser have to grab his/her attention in no time.
Our best performing ad on Linkedin is colorful and [an] "eye-catcher" so it demonstrates this concept well.”
Design by Amir Zelcer, copy by Naomi Soman
15. Show Off Your Demos!
Vadim Aizenshtein, PPC Team Leader at Marketing Envy, believes that showing off excerpts of your actual demos will give your target audience a better understanding of your brand. And…once you’ve got them hooked, you can go ahead with other remarketing campaigns to convert them! “A lot of us spend a large proportion of our budget on Lead Gen ads asking people to register for a demo, 100s of dollars per lead, just to set a time to talk with them. Why not target the same audience with bits of the demo itself? Record a good product demo video, break it into 3-5 min segments, and use the video as the creative (costing on average <$0.6/view).
This way, you’re not pushing for conversion but optimizing for a complete video view. When someone watches a 4+ min video talking about a complex product or service, it’s clear they’re interested, and you can always remarket the next demo and, this way, drive-up intent.
This not only helps with branding, but later on, you can target these leads with a call to action ad, perhaps a sign-up, or a free trial! It also allows you to test your demo messaging and quickly understand what works according to the completion rate of the videos, providing Sales with more insights.”
16. Get Them Hooked
While the creatives need a lot of thought, copywriting is equally important and should be structured effortlessly alongside your creative. In a bid to stand out from the rest, Joe Cunningham, founder of “Freelance Copywriter”, suggests, “Most of your competitors are most probably writing short body copy, which means potential customers and clients have to click out of the app to learn more. So write a hook in your body copy that invites future customers to tap the ‘read more’ option, and write a longer body copy that shows your unique value, includes features and benefits, and even customer testimonials. You'll stand out from the competition and share more valuable info with your customer without making them leave the app, which means the people who are actually interested will click through and buy. I tried this for one of my clients with great success."
17. Beware Of The “Skip Ad” Button
No one wants to be skipped on—this is the biggest pain point for any B2B marketer that longs for +10 second views on Youtube. Nimrod Ben-Uri, Performance Marketing Lead at Namoogo, shares his number one tip. “ For Youtube, make sure that you have trendy music, or if it's an explanatory video, use voice-over and get to the point in the first 5 seconds, before the skip-ad button is available.”
18. A/B Testing Never Hurt Anyone
The best way not to make assumptions is by doing some good ol’ A/B testing.Amit Gershon, Head of Performance Marketing at Incredibuild emphasizes, “ Trying to stand out with your creative while A/B testing never hurt anyone :) While A/B testing is crucial, the banners that stand out with a 'crazy' creative or message don't necessarily work better than the ones that keep it simple, but it's always good not to make any assumptions and let the data speak for itself".
19. Know Thy Audience
You may have the best ad creative and copy, but do you actually know who your audience is? Doing a bit of research will help you go that extra mile when formulating your overall campaign. Talli Liba, Head of Acquisition at Powtoon, believes it’s all in the who, what, and how. “There’s no way to cut corners when it comes to B2B. The secret is good research.
WHO are you talking to? Know your audience—their interests, likes, dislikes, and problems.
WHAT are you offering them? Tap into your audience’s pain points to create narratives that will offer them a solution. To make sure you’re resonating with your audience, it’s crucial to keep your message simple!
WHY should they listen? Keep your copy minimal, understandable, and address WHY your audience should use your product to solve their problem.
HOW will you do it? Your creatives should always speak to your objective, and our campaigns have been proof of concept for this idea".
Here are two examples of different objectives and their relevant creatives:
Using scarcity and time as a way to push for leads is ok, but making your target audience feel that YOU are their secret weapon to success is another great approach. Uri Aroch, founder & CEO at EffectiveMarketing, uses this tactic as his main goal. “A good B2B SaaS product actually helps your prospect [do] his job in the best way possible. So our goal as marketers is to make him understand that your software will be his secret weapon and will help him achieve the personal goals of his role, as part of, but not only the organization goals".
21. Consider Customizable Messaging
Remember that a CEO and a CFO will look at your product differently since they each have specific roles to fill. So, customizing your messaging according to your audience’s job title is a good way of putting the message across in a relatable manner. Alex Abramovich, Performance Marketing Manager at dataloop.ai, weighs in.“Customizing messages by industry or seniority and job titles is essential when it comes to non-search advertising. Since we aim to large international enterprises, each deal contains many roles and characters which look at the challenge from different perspectives. For example, the data scientist would like to have nice and fast, automated features, while the product manager is more concerned with the data management aspects and managing outsourced teams. That's why we always think, who is the persona we are aiming for? Based on that, we come up with the correct messaging and creative, better follow-up emails, and best pitching on phone calls”.
22. Maximize On Winning Creatives
So, you’ve A/B tested, customized, and optimized your ads, and it has some pretty awesome results. Now, you’re wondering what’s next? Easy! Go ahead and squeeze every drop of the lemon by maximizing your winning creatives. Guy Rozman, Founder & Ceo at Mediaflowzz, believes this is a vital step.“The idea is to analyze your current ads and ad element (format, visual, copy) and see which works best.
Once you have this data you can:
Shift budget to winning creatives.
Mix & match high-performing elements to create a winning combination.
Create new ads based on what clearly works.”
23. And….Don’t Forget The Algorithm!
While it’s so easy to be fixated on the creative aspect of your ads, remember that there’s also a very clever algorithm working in the back-end. Advertising platforms use algorithms to understand what’s performing well or not working at all. This is Dáire Summerville’s top tip. As the Head of Growth at Leadfeeder, he believes it’s essential to give these advertising platforms accurate performance data. He adds, “All the advertising platforms are now built on very sophisticated algorithms that are learning daily from the data you feed into them regarding the performance of the ads. If you are feeding inaccurate/incomplete data into the system they won't be able to optimize your campaign performance. For B2B, I would even go a step further than focusing on the quantity of conversions by adding a value to your conversions, as for most B2B companies one signup could be worth 10x another signup so focusing on quantity alone is misleading the learning algorithms. For example, you could easily have one ad/creative that is driving a large number of conversions but the quality/value of them is low, while another ad/creative could be delivering only a few sign ups but value/quality is high. Without adding a value to your conversions the system is going to believe the ad/creative that is delivering high quality and low quality/value is performing best”.
24. Human Touch = Trust
Yahav Hartman, Co-Founder & CEO at Madgicx offers three simple points when it comes to building a B2B ad strategy.
The three elements you should include in every B2B ad are:
Call to action
You can easily remember these three elements using the initials APC. The app is crucial because people want to know what they're buying. Adding a person's image to your ad builds trust, and the CTA drives the traffic”.
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