What You Should Know About B2B Targeting Options on Search Platforms

Emily Lutz
May 8, 2019

Updated 2/23/2021

B2B Targeting allows advertisers to target specific businesses and audiences for their conversion goals.

Google and Microsoft currently offer multiple B2B targeting options on their advertising platforms. Learn more about the specific B2B targeting tools available to advertisers today, including:


4 B2B Targeting Options

Targeting businesses on search platforms has always been a little bit tricky. If your company is B2B-focused, how do make sure that your ads show primarily to the right audiences and not to individual consumers using the same keywords?

Enter: B2B Targeting.

Across Google and Microsoft, there are a few ways advertisers can utilize B2B targeting. These options are outlined below:


1. In-market audiences

Both Google and Microsoft allow advertisers to target “in-market Audiences.” These are groups of people who are identified by Google or Microsoft to be close to purchasing a certain category of products or services based on their search history and online behavior.

B2B companies can target in-market audiences that are related to businesses on both Google & Microsoft Ads. For example, you can specifically target users who are in the market for Business Services, Commercial Real Estate, Business Software, or other more detailed sub-categories like Office Furniture, Enterprise Software, Business Event Planning, and more.

On Google, there is also the opportunity to create “Custom Intent Audiences” with specific keywords. With this setting, you input keywords that are central to your business or audience and choose to target or raise bids on the people that have a search history of using those keywords.

Custom Intent audiences can focus directly on what you sell. For instance, if you sell a website CRM platform, you can focus the custom intent audience around keywords containing CRM. These custom intent audiences can also be tailored to your audience.

For instance, if you only sell CRM platforms to enterprise-level companies, you can make a custom intent audience focusing around enterprise and large business keywords that reflect other things they are searching for. This ensures your ads are showing to the correct business audience, even if they are not currently actively searching for your product.


2. Remarketing, similar audiences & Customer Match

Another way to target businesses on search engines is through website lists and uploaded lists. Advertisers can get very detailed in compiling remarketing audiences through tools on both Google and Microsoft Ads.

For example, you can target people who spend a certain amount of time on the website, went to a certain webpage, or visited over 30 days ago. On search, you can also increase or decrease bids on these audiences if they search for relevant keywords again. Similarly, on display, you can show visual ads to these audiences wherever they spend their time on the internet.

On Google, there are two other tools that also may help B2B advertisers.

Google will create “similar audiences” based on your remarketing audiences. If you have a remarketing audience of all current customers that visit your website, Google uses demographic and online behavior cues to determine other people who are very similar to your customers and may be interested in your product.

The second Google tool that can come in handy for B2B advertising is Customer Match. Advertisers can upload an email list of current customers or contacts that they have permission to advertise to and Google will try to match them to a Google profile. Then, you can show ads to the people who were matched on Gmail and YouTube. At this time, this feature is not available for use on search ads or the Google Display Network.


3. Google’s Detailed Demographics

In 2018, Google released Detailed Demographics. This feature allows advertisers to better target their ads based on:

  • Marital Status
  • Parental Stage
  • Homeownership Status
  • Education Level

Employment is a newer category also being rolled out for targeting. This setting allows advertisers to either target or change bids based on the size of the company they work for or the industry that they work in.

For instance, a B2B company providing enterprise services to manufacturing plants could target people who work for Very Large Companies (over 10,000 employees) and work in the Manufacturing Industry on Search.

An advertiser could also tailor different landing pages for each industry that they serve and message SMB companies different than enterprise-level companies to match their needs. While this is still being tested with a small group of advertisers, this could be a major feature for B2B companies.


4. Microsoft Advertising’s LinkedIn targeting

Microsoft Advertising now shows ads on 3 search engines: Bing, Yahoo, and AOL. They also have a partnership with LinkedIn that allows advertisers to increase or decrease bids on searchers based on their LinkedIn information.

There are 3 business-related demographics groups that can direct ads to businesses on Microsoft:

  • Industry
  • Job Function
  • Company List

You can target by industry. This works like Google’s industry targeting, but Microsoft’s industry list is much longer and more detailed.

You can also target by job function (not job title). These are very general functions, such as Operations, Finance, Legal, and so on. However, if you know what type of job is likely to be the decision-maker for the purchase of your product, this information can be very valuable.

Finally, you can target by Company List. If you have a list of prospective companies that you would like to show your ads to, you can manually enter and match them to LinkedIn’s database and increase or decrease bids on those companies when they are searching for your product.

If your B2B company has a LinkedIn advertising account and has Website Analytics set up through the Insight tag, you can see the Companies, Industries, and Job Functions that currently visit your website. This will give you an idea of which are most important to your business.

You can also create specific audiences through the Insight tag, like current customers (users who visit your login page) or people who filled out a form on your website (users who visit your thank you page) to get better demographic insights on your customers.


Looking for your latest partner in Paid Search? Meet Perfect Search. Our experienced paid search team will help you take advantage of advertising strategies on Google Ads, the Google Display Network, Google Shopping, Bing Ads, and beyond. Contact Us Today! 


Emily Lutz
Director of Strategy

Emily Lutz is from Kalispell, Montana and has been camping more times than she can count. She geeks out over musicals and the TV show Firefly (yes, she’s on some chat sites). Before joining Perfect Search, Emily was a zookeeper for ten years.

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