Driving more B2B leads from paid digital advertising

There was a time when paid digital advertising was optional for B2B marketers. With changes to algorithms and more competition than ever, those days are over.

The good news is that this doesn’t need to break the bank. In fact, most ad platforms now offer dedicated lead generation formats that can drive more than 50% lower cost per lead than sending to your website.

Not all paid advertising tactics are created equal, and through countless experiments, we’ve learned the tactics that are best for driving low-cost, high-quality leads.

If you can learn and master these tactics, you’ll reap the benefits: predictable, scalable leads. Done right, this approach to marketing becomes a tap you can simply turn on and optimize over time.

In this guide, we’ll cover all the best performing paid digital ads tactics for B2B lead generation.

In each section, we’ll cover examples, tips, and guidance for a specific tactic. If you’re short on time or want a handy reference guide, then you can download the Driftrock & Close swipe file with all these tactics as a cheat sheet.

Why should B2B marketers use digital advertising?

There are many reasons why digital advertising is essential today, and B2B companies are no exception. Here are some of the key reasons to invest in digital marketing:

  • The world is online. There are 4.66 billion active internet users across the planet, and a good digital marketing strategy can get your brand in front of all the right people.
  • There are more advertising channels and tactics available to B2B marketers than ever before. Platforms like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn advertising are perfect for connecting with your audience and come with B2B audience profiles and powerful optimization algorithms built-in.
  • It’s easy to build relationships. Due to the social, connected nature of digital channels, paid media enables you to build trust through multiple touchpoints that complement your inbound and earned media. Moreover, if you work with a digital agency, they can also broaden the list of your relationships even more.
  • Account-based marketing. Each ad platform now allows you to target your own customer lists. This is perfect for account-based marketing techniques to ensure you are front of mind when considering a purchase.
  • You can hyper-focus your target. Digital marketing allows you to connect directly with your audience, targeting your ads and branding at exactly the right people. This makes your budget stretch further and your business grow faster, without wasting anyone’s time with irrelevant ads.

As a marketer, your CRM platform plays a crucial role in your ability to reach and engage with your target audience. Learn about the best CRMs for marketers in this article.


LinkedIn is built for business, making it the perfect channel for B2B marketers. With over 100 million monthly users, LinkedIn represents an enormous pool of potential customers. These prospects are typically tuned into the world of business, receptive to B2B marketing, and easy to connect with.

Here are some of the methods available to you with LinkedIn marketing:

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms


How do LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms work?

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms are a way for other users to send you their data. The forms are pre-filled with data pulled from users’ LinkedIn profiles, so they can share a ton of highly useful professional info in just a few clicks. You can easily download leads from within LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, or integrate them with a CRM.

What makes LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms special?

  • Unrivaled B2B audience targeting on LinkedIn Ads. You can target by role, company, and more, making it possible to focus your outreach and maximize your chances of connecting with new prospects.
  • LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms typically deliver a 50%+ lower Cost Per Lead (CPL) than sending to websites, making this a highly cost-effective method
  • Quick and easy experience for the customer
  • Lead Gen Forms work with most ad placements and formats (e.g News Feed, Message Ads, Conversation Ads).

Tips for LinkedIn Gen Forms

  • We find that Message Ads with Lead Gen Forms deliver great CPL (25% lower CPL) rates compared to the feed and other placements, so start there (more below)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask more questions than you would on web forms. With the algorithm, optimizing for submissions, and the ease of submission, the CPL doesn’t increase as much as usual (and you get better quality).
  • Make sure you provide a clear value exchange in the form to improve conversion rates and lead quality. You can customize the headline and “Offer Details” to get this across clearly.

How to get your leads into Close:

  • Download a CSV of leads (go to Account Assets > Lead Gen Forms)
  • Or sync leads automatically to Close in real-time using Driftrock so you don't have to manually match the fields and run an import each time, and always can contact new leads quickly

LinkedIn Conversation & Message Ads

In addition to LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, it’s also worth highlighting LinkedIn Message Ads and Conversation Ads specifically. We’ve seen great performance with these formats compared to other placements.

What are Message Ads?

As the name suggests, these are ads in the format of a direct message that contains a call-to-action button. They allow you to communicate with your prospects without having to worry about character limits, in a way that’s more personalized, uncluttered, and direct than a traditional ad.

With Message Ads, you can also add a Lead Gen Form to your message to collect leads directly on LinkedIn.

What are Conversation Ads?

Conversation Ads are similar to message ads, but they allow you to set up multiple call-to-action buttons. This way you can link to landing pages, drive your reader to a Lead Gen Form, or encourage engagement with more information in the next message.

What makes Message & Conversation Ads special?

These ads stand out because of their highly personal and direct nature. They feel like one-to-one messages, which makes them work particularly well for B2B audiences.

Conversation ads function as a mini chatbot in the LinkedIn inbox, so you can create conversation flows to personalize the experience for the customer and provide the info they are looking for.

Tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn Conversation and Message Ads

  • Add some VIP sparkle to your message copy. The ad appears as a one-to-one message, so make people feel as special as they are to you. Use phrases like, “I’m excited to bring you... “, and “Your exclusive invitation to our webinar…”.
  • Keep the message short and snappy. You are competing with other one-to-one messages from their LinkedIn contacts. Get your value across, and invite people to read more or learn more by submitting your form rather than explaining every last detail.
  • Optimize, optimize, optimize. These are ad formats, so testing is easy. Run multiple ads to optimize open rate (subject line), click-through rates (message copy), and lead form conversion rates (the form copy).
  • Build a relationship by running multiple lead gen campaigns to the same audience. These ads are your chance to speak to people in their inbox, so provide multiple content, offers, and messages to build trust over time. We found the same people completing forms well over a year after the first one, and eventually becoming a customer.

Google Search Advertising and Search Form Extensions


Google has long been popular with marketers for its Google Search PPC features, but there are many other avenues for lead generation on the platform.

What is Google Search Advertising?

Lead Generation and Search Form Extensions allow you to generate leads by letting your prospects share their personal information in a form directly in your ad.

The benefits of Google Search Ads and Search Form Extensions

  • Users can share valuable information directly in the ad, without even visiting the landing page
  • Works well on mobile and tablet devices
  • Allows you to tap into Google’s enormous audience

YouTube Lead Form Ads


YouTube’s Lead Form Ads—called TrueView for Action Form Ads—allow users to share information in a mobile-friendly form attached to the ad, without the need to leave their current page and visit a landing page.

What makes YouTube Lead Form Ads special?

  • Access YouTube’s huge audience
  • Benefit from YouTube’s full targeting options
  • The pre-filled form helps reduce friction and improve conversion rates
  • Get more leads from your existing video marketing efforts

Facebook Lead Ads


With Facebook Lead Ads, it’s easy for users to share their information with you, making the lead generation process extremely straightforward. Users simply tap your ad and then complete a form, pre-populated with their Facebook contact info. They get the info they want, and you get a qualified lead. There are 3 types of lead ads:

  • Instant Forms to quickly fill out and share all relevant info
  • Automated Chat to engage your prospects in a simple conversation
  • Calls to connect in a more dynamic and personal way

Why are Lead Ads special?

Lead Ads have a number of significant benefits for marketers. They’re well-suited to segmentation, allowing you to target very specific demographics and interests thanks to Facebook’s advanced filtering features.

They work well with analytics, integrate easily with tools like your CRM, and work smoothly on users’ mobile devices. In short, Facebook Lead Ads are one of the most reliable and user-friendly ways to collect accurate user data.

Tips for getting the most out of Facebook Lead Ads

  • In the Facebook Ad settings, choose “Conversion leads” instead of “Leads” in Optimisation and Delivery. While the Leads option focuses on getting as many leads as possible (quantity), the Conversion Leads option focuses on quality—getting leads that will actually convert and be beneficial to your business.
  • To do this, you will have to connect your CRM system with Facebook. This can be simple or complicated depending on your CRM. You can use Driftrock to do this. In the Ad Level, choose “higher intent” vs “more volume” in Create form > Form type section. The algorithm will seek out higher quality prospects who are more likely to convert instead of aiming for sheer quantity. As a result, the cost per lead should not increase too much.
  • Find a balance between asking very few questions and asking too many questions. Furthermore, experiment with pre-filled and one or two custom questions. This will help improve your lead quality and give you and your sales team valuable insights.



Quora Lead Gen forms

Quora Lead Gen forms are an excellent option for high-intent prospects seeking information on relevant and specific topics. These forms appear on mobile and desktop devices, in places like the home feed, topic feed, and question and answer pages.


Buyers on Quora are typically in the middle of their journey or funnel. They aren’t just mindlessly scrolling as they might on other social platforms, they’re actively looking for answers to questions they already have in mind.

Why use Quora for lead generation?

  • You can target high-intent leads looking to answer a question and solve a problem
  • Typically lower cost CPM rates
  • Active users looking for information
  • Forms with 12 fields
  • Targeting options and objective options



TikTok is probably not the first platform that springs to mind when talking about B2B marketing, but they can both be valuable if used correctly.

TikTok Lead Generation

TikTok’s Lead Generation feature allows you to interact with prospects more easily. It’s possible for users to complete a form and provide basic information like their name, email, and phone number, signaling their interest in your particular product or service.

Businesses can also create fully customizable messages with this feature, tailoring them to multiple customer segments. Leads can be downloaded manually, or immediately activated if you integrate the platform with your CRM.

If you are ready to take your B2B sales to the next level, our article on B2B CRMs discusses the pivotal role of CRM systems.

Why TikTok is special for lead generation

TikTok taps into a unique market. Their users typically skew very young and include people who may not be interested in platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. While TikTok is generally viewed as B2C platforms, they also include business users, many of whom will be in new and emerging niches.

Shh… Want to maximize B2B conversions? Discover the B2B Sales Funnel stages now.



Capterra (and other listing websites such as software advice) have high intent prospects researching relevant software and tools for their business. You can list your software/tool in multiple categories and add descriptions, pricing information, features, etc.


Why use Capterra for B2B lead generation?

  • You can target high intent leads looking for a software
  • Select one or multiple categories and countries for listing
  • Customize bids, descriptions, landing pages, etc in each category and country
  • Get traffic and leads you’d otherwise miss out on!

B2B marketers today are avalanched with options for growing their presence and attaining many new leads. The internet is now packed with platforms that attract enormous quantities of traffic and are filled with features aimed at helping marketers grow their businesses.

How to optimize your lead gen campaigns with Driftrock + Close

To maximize the return from your paid lead generation campaigns, Driftrock is here to help.

Sign up for a free trial and start connecting your lead generation sources to Close within minutes.

Once connected, Driftrock’s reporting will help you track leads from the campaign, channel, keyword, or ad through to Closed Won in your Close account. This helps you optimize the performance of each channel and make better decisions on where to focus your budgets.

Let us know how you get on!

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