Why is Your B2B Advertisements Failing? Here Are the Top 5 Reasons

The LinkedIn B2B Institution study found that 75% of B2B ads scored poorly on emotional grounds, indicating a lack of creative intent. However, 94% of B2B customers research online before making a purchase. The article identifies five main reasons for B2B advertising failure: not understanding the buyer's persona, choosing the wrong advertising channels, unclear goals and objectives, lack of a fixed budget, and a lack of uniqueness and personalization. By addressing these factors, businesses can improve their B2B advertising campaigns and achieve success.


A new LinkedIn B2B Institution study has made B2B advertisers think again. After showing 1,600 B2B ads to over 6 million people worldwide in the past four years, the study concluded that 75% of ads scored one star or less on emotional grounds.
B2B creative underperforms in "all-weather"
Source: MarketingWeek
That means B2B advertising lacks creative intent that helps to connect with the potential leads. Therefore, 82% of B2B sellers wish to be more creative like their B2C colleagues.
However, 94% of B2B customers search online before making a purchase decision. In fact, 44% of US customers purchased products after seeing an ad in 2017.
Graph illustrating people who purchased products after seeing an ad
Source: statista
So, if your B2B advertising is failing, it is not because people aren’t interested in ads anymore. It’s failing because you aren’t advertising in the right way.
Now, we know B2B lead generation isn’t easy. But, if you run your B2B ads strategically, you can indeed succeed like your B2C counterparts. So, without any ado, let’s understand the top 5 reasons behind your B2B advertising failure along with effective solutions.

A Core of B2B Advertising Principle

First thing first, B2B advertising is different and more challenging than B2C advertising. In B2B ads, you can’t entice consumers with hefty discounts or impulsive buys.
B2B sales are driven by need and value. When a business needs or wishes to offer more value to their customers, they make B2B purchases. Businesses don’t buy because products are at a discount or getting out of stock soon.
Take Salesforce, for an example. The company provides CRM software (customer relationship management) to businesses. The tool satisfies businesses’ need to smoothly manage their operations from anywhere. And also offer them a platform to add value to their customer handling systems. This, in return, increased Salesforce revenue by 221.3x since 2004.

Why You Need a Great B2B Advertising Plan

B2B advertising is undeniably a crucial aspect to grow your business. With advertising, you can connect with the potential leads, understand market trends, target intent-based marketing, and so much more. However, the three main reasons to invest in B2B advertising campaigns are:
  • Boost brand awareness: The B2B global market size is valued at $7.72 trillion in 2021. From this, you can guess how big and competitive the B2B market is. So, to establish your unique brand identity and connection with the audience, advertising is your sole weapon to spread positive words about your brand.
  • Promote your products and services: Advertising offers you plenty of different ways to promote your products and services to relevant audiences like B2B video marketing, content marketing, and so on.
  • Enhance your sales and revenue: When your brand is exposed in front of large and relevant groups, it will automatically increase sales and churn better revenue for you.

Why Your B2B Advertising Fails: 5 Main Reasons

On average, the B2B conversion rate is 13.28%, which is lower than the efforts and resources invested in creating B2B ads. This doesn’t mean B2B advertising always fails. You can find many great B2B advertising examples out there.
It’s just that you might have committed a few mistakes while creating your B2B advertising strategy. Luckily, you can easily revive your B2B advertising by understanding the main 5 reasons for failure:

Reason 1. Not Drilling Into Your Buyer’s Persona

If your advertising isn’t developed to target the relevant audience, you can’t expect desired results from your ad campaigns. That’s because a buyer’s person helps you understand who you are talking to or for whom you are designing a product.
A buyer’s persona helps you better understand your customers, map out their journey, and helps to develop new products or services for them.
All in all, building your buyer’s persona is the first thing that can prevent your B2B advertising from failing. Also, it isn’t rocket science to build your B2B buyer’s persona; just focus on these points:
  • Demographics such as age, occupation, spending capacity, etc.
  • Factors that matter to them most while looking for a new supplier.
  • Goals and objectives of your targeted buyer.
  • What are your buyers’ needs?
  • Main pain points that you can satisfy with your products or services.
  • Any specific brand or services they are using currently.
  • Which communication mode do your buyers prefer?
Once you define your buyer’s persona, you can capture their needs and pain points through your ads. In fact, you can focus on account-based marketing to better grow your brand.
For some inspiration, have a look at this funny work from a home video created by Apple.
Funny work from home video
Apple understood all the problems people faced with WFH and gave it a funny spin. While very subtly, they talked about the importance of having a good virtual communication system to make WFH easy.

Reason 2. Not Choosing Your Advertising Channel Wisely

Besides the buyer’s persona, publishing your ads on the right medium is also important for your campaign’s success. Thus, you need to publish your ad on a channel—
  • Which is relatable to your business
  • Where your targeted audience is available
Today, to confuse ad marketers, many display models are available such as:
Print Advertising
Yes, people, print media isn’t dead yet. Many people still buy newspapers and magazines. In fact, as per News Media Alliance, 56 million newspapers are sold every day in the US. So, you can always use traditional yet effective print media to publish your business ads.
Broadcast Advertising
Broadcast advertising is where you can leverage audio and visuals for advertising such as television, radio, etc. It is one of the most effective and entertaining B2B advertising methods. Alone in the US, television is the second most profitable advertising medium and accounts for around 25% of ad revenue.
Social Media Advertising
Undoubtedly, the most popular and trending advertising method is social media today. Social media marketing provides more flexibility, control, and variety to prevent your B2B advertising from failing. Therefore, around 72% of B2B marketers use social media advertising to harbor personalized marketing nowadays.
To find the ideal advertising channel for your business, let’s take an example of successful B2B broadcasting and social media ads.
Xero’s TV commercial is the perfect example here. The ad shows how much work small business owners have to do in a humorous way and how Xero can reduce some of their burdens.
Xero UK youtube video
 Source: Xero UK TV Advert
For B2B social media marketing and advertising reference, you can head over to IBM’s Instagram page. The company shares its employee’s videos to build a stronger employer brand, engaging visuals to explain complex topics and new technology trends.
The company shares its employee’s videos to build a stronger employer brand
Source: instagram

Reason 3. Not Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

What do you want to achieve from your B2B advertisements? Do you want to generate new leads, boost revenue, enhance brand awareness, or something else?
You need to clarify your advertising objectives before even mapping your campaigns. That’s because if you don’t have clear goals, you can’t set key performance identification metrics to measure the performance of your ads. And, when you can’t analyze your ad’s performance, you can’t decide whether it has offered maximum ROI or not.
So, first, go and set your goals to prevent your B2B advertising from failing. It’s very simple to define your advertising goals; you just have to ask yourself:
  • How much revenue do you wish to generate from your inbound marketing efforts?
  • How many sales do you want to hit with your particular ad?
  • How many new opportunities do you need to achieve your closing goals?
  • How many sales qualified leads (SQL) will be passed to your sales team?
  • How many marketing qualified leads (MQL) are qualified but not sales-ready?
  • How many leads does your business actually need to survive?
  • How much traffic do you need to achieve your goals? Etc.
Once you have a clear vision board, you can align your B2B advertising strategy with your goals and reduce the chances of your ad’s failure.

Reason 4. Not Having a Fixed Advertising Budget

Budget is one of the main reasons behind your failed B2B advertising campaigns. If you don’t predetermine your advertising budget, you might spend more than ROI.
Ideally, businesses spend 2% to 5% of their revenue on advertising. But, this can vary as per business size, industry, competition, and many other factors. Therefore, you have to consider all the relevant internal and external factors before setting your advertising budget, such as:
  • Previous performance: All advertising channels offer different ROI levels. So, you need to analyze your previous ad campaigns performance on various channels and allocate the highest advertising budget for the most performing channels.
  • Competition: As you already know, running ads on high-competitive keywords are very expensive. So, ask yourself whether you need more CPC funds or focus on conversion improvement.
  • Remarketing: Your advertising budget should not only cover ad creation expenses. It should also cover all marketing costs to promote your ad, such as events, post-production, social media marketing, etc.

Reason 5. Not Having a Unique and Personalized Approach

Most B2B marketers don’t spend much time on creating unique and personalized ad campaigns. Instead, they simply create salesy advertisements without any value or information.
In contrast, 71% of customers prefer personalized, memorable and enjoyable add. They want to know the brand and feel connected to the product they plan to use. So, B2B advertisers, you have to be more creative and witty with your advertising campaigns.
The Salesforce LinkedIn and Instagram page is the best place to learn how creative B2B advertising works. They use employee videos, inspiration quotes, cartoonish layouts, and many other tactics to create an engaging and informative environment for their customers.
Instagram posts
Source: instragram
Salesforce advertising
Source: Dreamforce Everywhere

How To Prevent Your B2B Advertising Failure?

Strategizing and managing B2B advertising campaigns isn’t an easy job. You have to plan, monitor, analyze and control your ads constantly to achieve desired results. But, if you plan in the right way, you can definitely boost your brand awareness and revenue with advertising.
Also, take your B2B advertising failure as a lesson and don’t stop because your one campaign didn’t work out. Be consistent and learn from your mistakes — and, surely, you can launch a successful B2B advertising campaign.
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Gaurav Roy

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