6 Proven Ways To Use Paid Search

SaaS marketing often falls into niche categories where relevant keywords can be limited, and differentiating B2B intent from B2C intent can be a challenge.

However, there are several ways you can use PPC to reach potential customers and re-engage those who might be in a thinking phase.

In this article, you’ll learn six PPC tactics SaaS companies use to target the right people and keep their products at the top of the list.

1. Bidding by competitor keyword

Sometimes non-branded search keywords can be difficult to find for niche SaaS products.

Bidding on competitor names can be an effective tactic for targeting people who are in the market for your product, especially during the first search foray.

You can get acquainted with a bigger competitor who may have more search volume than your own brand.

While you shouldn’t directly mention your competitor by name in an ad (for branding and ethical reasons), don’t hesitate to highlight your brand’s differentiators. Research your competition to keep an eye out for areas where they may be weak and you are strong.


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For example, if a competitor has recently increased their prices, current users and those in research mode may be more open to other options. You can capitalize on the mention of your pricing more effective if that is your brand’s selling point.

You may also find that a competitor frequently receives complaints about their customer service. If your brand is known for its positive customer service, highlight this aspect of your business in advertisements to set yourself apart from your competitor.

2. LinkedIn lead generation forms

LinkedIn targeting often provides the most specialized options for directly reaching the audience for a B2B SaaS product. However, advertising on LinkedIn also tends to be expensive.

Lead generation forms can help reduce the cost per acquisition.

Lead generation forms allow a user to submit a form for an offer directly into the LinkedIn feed without having to go to a website.

The form will also automatically fill out all the information associated with the user’s account (such as name, email, job title, etc.). Leads can be synced directly with multiple major CRMs and automation platforms.


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Lead generation forms reduce friction and often tend to convert at a higher rate and lower cost per acquisition than using a dedicated landing page.

According to LinkedIn, the average conversion rate on a lead generation form is 13% (compared to an estimated average of 2.35% for landing pages).

Generally, lead generation forms tend to work best for promoting a closed asset to a more or mid-funnel audience. You can then continue to track who submits the form, using a marketing automation platform.

3. Cross-channel retargeting

Many SaaS companies try to reach small audiences who may have only a few relevant targeting options on each platform. To maximize reach from the right people, re-target potential customers across all channels.

For example, you can use LinkedIn to target people who have specific titles, are members of certain groups, or work for companies on a list of accounts.

While LinkedIn might be the only place you can target directly through these criteria, if you can bring people to your site for a higher funnel demand, such as reading content or signing up for a webinar, you can then add them to an audience. for retargeting.

Make sure to use the correct UTM parameters to narrow down the specific audiences you want to retarget.

You can then use a channel such as Google or Facebook to create a retargeting audience of people who have visited URLs that contain these parameters.

For example, a LinkedIn ad URL for people who visited a webinar signup page from a campaign using account targeting might have the following settings:

  • utm_source = bound
  • utm_means = paid social
  • utm_campaign = Webinar_AccountList4.

You can then create a retargeting audience that “contains” this string from the URL: utm_source = linkedin & utm_medium = paidsocial & utm_campaign = Webinar_AccountList

Public LinkedIn

4. Targeting by prospect list

You can have a list of prospects who are worked on by sales or of people who have expressed an initial interest in your brand by signing up for a webinar.


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As long as these people have opted out of receiving marketing communications, you can download these lists to target them across all advertising platforms, or sync the lists to update them automatically, depending on how your automation platform is configured.

Most of the major advertising platforms support some form of list targeting so that you can reach people on Google, Microsoft Advertising, LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora, and others.

Here are some suggestions for using lead lists in advertising campaigns:

  • Engage prospects with another form of content. For example, if someone initially signed up for a webinar, they might be interested in reading a buyer’s guide.
  • Identify prospects who initially signed up but are no longer immune to sales communications. You can offer them an additional discount or maybe a longer trial period than what you normally offer to sweeten the deal.
  • If you offer a free trial period, you can sync a list of people on trial to serve ads promoting the benefits of a paid membership.
  • Upload a list of customers to exclude from targeting so you don’t waste your budget on current customers.
  • Use a customer list to create a similar audience to target people with similar characteristics to current customers.

5. Targeting by list of accounts

In addition to targeting specific individuals, you can also use ABM (Account Based Marketing) to reach certain businesses that you want to target.

The advantage here is that you don’t need explicit opt-ins to download a listing. A sales team may have a compiled list of “dream” target accounts, or you may have access to a list of large companies in a particular industry.

PPC For SaaS Marketing: 6 Proven Ways To Use Paid Search

Among the major self-service advertising platforms, LinkedIn is the leading channel for uploading account listings.


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Additionally, you can also work with representatives to sync account lists to native advertising platforms such as Taboola or Outbrain, and for larger purchases, you can look for dedicated ABM platforms.

You can also overlay additional targeting on account lists to make sure you reach the right decision makers in the organization.

For example, you can superimpose an IT job function and a manager job tenure and even put your ads in front of people who can make IT purchasing decisions.

6. Retargeting the video view

Sometimes SaaS products offer complex solutions that cannot be easily explained in a short social article.

An how-to video can introduce the problem and how the product fixes it, as well as establish initial brand recognition for the product.

PPC For SaaS Marketing: 6 Proven Ways To Use Paid Search

Even if a video doesn’t work for immediate conversion, you can run a video ad on Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube targeting a top-of-the-funnel audience and create an audience based on video viewers.


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You can then retarget engaged viewers with an item upload or other CTA.


Reaching the right buyers in the market for a SaaS product can be difficult. But figuring out the right strategy by experimenting with various platforms and ad formats can often be rewarding in the end.

Having the right tracking infrastructure in place to properly measure trial / demo registrations, upgrades, and recurring subscriptions is also crucial in informing long-term strategy, as you examine which tactics are most likely to fail. generate long-term customers.

So make sure you are able to correctly attribute the results you get from each platform and campaign, and start experimenting with new tactics!

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Image credits

All screenshots taken by author, July 2021

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