top of page
Post: Blog2_Post

How to grow a Google Ads account for B2B SaaS

Updated: Mar 7



Does Google Ads Work for B2B SaaS?


Yes, but the rulebook is entirely different. Google Ads for e-commerce is pretty straightforward. The advertiser has many potential customers, so there’s lots of search volume, purpose-built campaign types like Performance Max and Shopping, and a vast amount of data to work with.


In B2B SaaS, the advertiser has a much smaller number of in-market customers, so there’s much less search volume. Attribution is difficult. Until Demand Gen campaigns came along, there was no bespoke campaign type for B2B advertisers.


This makes it tremendously challenging to scale cost-effectively.


Fundamentally, ‘how to scale a Google Ads account for B2B SaaS’ may not even be the right question.


E-commerce can drive impulse buys. B2B SaaS cannot; the customer has to bear in mind buying cycles and existing contracts before being ready to buy, and not a moment before.


This puts a soft cap on how much Google Ads can scale efficiently and profitably for an advertiser. Often, it’s better to shift that budget into LinkedIn Ads instead, where you can create demand for your solution.


Yet Google Ads still makes up a significant portion of any B2B SaaS company’s marketing budget, and the ceiling to scale can be pretty high.


This step-by-step article will guide you through how to make Google Ads work for B2B SaaS. I will focus on a strategy for sales-led brands, not product-led, and whose Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is someone working at a large enterprise (250+ employees). The average contract value (ACV) should be at least £10k; we don’t care about CPC or even CPL if we find the right lead


Requirements


You should only be measuring success on revenue or pipeline. Not leads, MQLs, or SQLs. To do that, you must have the following:


  • The advertiser’s CRM is linked to Google Ads.

  • Whoever is managing the Google Ads account has access to the CRM.

  • Google Ads is linked to Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

  • All down-funnel conversions (MQLs, SQLs, etc.) have dynamic values that capture the value of that particular deal; otherwise, a placeholder value is used.


Without this, you won’t be able to see if the leads you’re generating are high-quality and in your ICP. You’d risk optimising for a vanity metric: As many leads as possible, regardless of their quality.


Google Ads Campaign Structure for B2B SaaS


Every SaaS business has ‘money pages’ on its website, which are pages with a high intent to convert. Some examples include:


  • Pricing

  • Contact/book a demo

  • Case studies/testimonials

  • FAQs

  • Product use cases by industry


These should all have their keywords, landing pages and ad groups under one high-intent campaign. Don’t forget to also cover keywords around:


  • Specific features

  • Benefits


It would help to put all medium-intent keywords in a separate campaign to control the budget better. Some examples would be:


  • Competitor vs. advertiser 

  • Competitor pricing


You should also have dedicated landing pages for each of your key competitors.


If you have any budget left over, you could expand into low-intent keywords:


  • Competitor brand terms 

  • ‘How to’ keywords

  • Feature-specific keywords


However, I prefer to funnel this into LinkedIn Ads, where you can precisely target your ICP.


Remember that the more you scale, the higher your CPL will be.


Targeting: How do you target B2B customers on Google Ads?


High-Intent Keywords


In short, target long-tail, high-intent keywords that cost-effectively capture demand from your ICP and filter out demand from consumer searches.


Let’s look at an example. Asana is a project management tool that caters to all business sizes, from SMBs to enterprises. They also provide the tool to consumers for free. 


This table shows that this can get into tricky territory:



You’d start by targeting keywords that unambiguously capture demand from enterprise prospects, e.g., ‘project management software for teams’ and ‘scalable team scheduling app.’ You can be sure that consumers aren’t searching for terms like that.


There’s also ‘project management software’ and similar keywords. They’ll inevitably capture some consumer search volume, so you’ll likely spend some money on consumer clicks. 


But if your ACV is high enough, just one deal you get from targeting this keyword would massively outweigh any costs from consumer clicks. 


That’s the inherent tension in B2B SaaS: balancing efficient CPLs vs. paying a lot to get just one deal worth 100x more than the most expensive keywords.


If you’re starting from scratch, I recommend going for phrase match first to ensure you can capture demand from searches you may not have covered in your keywords. 


Later, you could shift some keywords into an exact match. Avoid broad match; you’ll just waste money bidding on irrelevant searches.


Ad Copy


Ad copy is another critical lever to qualify traffic. 


As you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, you must prevent consumers from clicking on it.


Think about marketing, like qualifying a lead in a sales process. You want to determine how much budget the prospect has, whether they’re ready to buy soon, etc. 


We’re doing the same here. So here’s what you do:


  • Pin your headline 1s to closely match the keyword you’re targeting - pretty standard stuff to boost CTR to the site.

  • Headline 2 is where the magic happens, and we’ll qualify those searches. Call out specific ICP pain points, e.g. ‘Facing High Employee Turnover?’ or explicitly corporate headlines, e.g. ‘All-In-One Suite for Your Team.’

  • Headline 3 rarely shows, so I like to keep this to ‘Book a Demo’ or similar.


That way, consumer searchers are put off and don’t click, freeing up your sales team to focus on relevant leads only. 


Here’s an example:



Headline 1 matches my search pretty well, and headline 2 qualifies the audience - searchers who are looking for a tool to help them manage client work.


Conclusion


There’s so much more I could say about this topic, and each of these could have their own article: landing pages, ad schedules, tracking calls from ads, optimising for offline down-funnel conversions, self-reported attribution, audience segments, how to optimise with a long sales cycle, low search volume, and some cross-channel hacks. 


But I’ll leave you with this for now! 


Have you scaled a Google Ads account for a B2B SaaS advertiser before? How did you approach it?


To ensure that you are alerted to when more detailed & implementable pieces of content like this get released, subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get PPC news that will unleash your true PPC potential


Comments


bottom of page