Is Social Media not made for B2B? The case of Cepsa

Óscar Suescun

24 September 2020

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“Digital is for B2C”. “You can’t sell on social media”. “It’s all about engagement”. “Raúl González will play in Real Madrid until he retires”.

Throughout our lives, we come across many categorical statements of this kind, which presume that we live in a static world, oblivious to the dizzying speed at what change takes place nowadays. Needless to say, the speed of these changes multiplies when we talk about digital.

Recently, we unpacked the six key aspects of B2B superdigitalisation, among which we highlighted the fact that the B2B buyer has deeply internalised digital processes, as well as the lead pre-qualification allowed by digital channels to improve prospecting and optimise investments. Based on these premises, and on a challenging brief from our client Cepsa, we set out to demonstrate that none of the statements in the first paragraph are true (although I personally felt very sorry for Raúl).

From their B2B business unit, Cepsa had detected that customer acquisition through their web form for one of their services had fallen due to COVID-19, and they wanted to test new ways of reaching them. Their ultimate need was very clear, and so was the challenge they set us: to acquire new customers.

Where do we find such a specific audience? 

That was what we first asked ourselves. Whenever you address a more professional audience, you think about LinkedIn (and you are right to do so). Although the costs of this platform can be up to five times higher than those of Facebook or Instagram, the quality of your audience will be better, because you are sure to be reaching the professional profile you were seeking. But is this our only option? In 2020, are we not able to address a B2B audience on channels other than Linkedin? We were sure that we could. 

The Zuckerberg giant, while fighting to ensure data privacy, has known how to evolve its platforms to adapt to the needs of users, whether they are end customers or brands. These needs are focused on demonstrating that social media platforms are no longer just about communities and engagement; we are increasingly able to demonstrate that they also have a direct impact on the business results of small, medium and large companies.

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Strategy: How do we address this audience?

To achieve its customer acquisition objective, Cepsa’s initial request was to develop paid media campaigns, generating traffic from their social media profiles to a lead generation landing page on their website. They wanted to increase the number of page visits considerably, to then try to increase the number of leads captured. It was time to take the plunge and show that we have tools that allow us to optimise the processes leading to conversion:

  • A small percentage of the investment would be spent in developing the traffic campaigns, with the aim of generating awareness of the card and thus continuing to attract users in the early stages of the funnel.
  • We would complement it with native social media forms that would allow us to directly capture the lead, instead of adding several steps that could complicate the process and, therefore, compromise the success of the campaign. In addition, these forms pre-populate some fields such as name, e-mail or telephone, making the acquisition even easier.
  • We would coordinate with Cepsa’s call centre, sending them the details of the acquired leads several times a day so that they could call them in the right moment, thus favouring a greater conversion thanks to the on-off coordination.
  • Moreover, we included a new audience that we found really interesting for the case: look-a-like. This is an option of social media platforms that, based on your current client database, allows you to find profiles in the social universe that have similar tastes, interests and/or behaviours to those of your current customers. 

Based on the previous analysis, as well as on our experience with these kinds of campaigns, we proposed to Cepsa an smart platform strategy focusing on Facebook and LinkedIn:

  • Facebook: This was our bet, and thus we concentrated most of the campaign’s investment on it.
  • LinkedIn: Although we knew from the beginning that the results were significantly more expensive, we took into account that this was the first campaign of this kind that we developed for this segment of Cepsa. Therefore, we considered it appropriate to invest in LinkedIn and collect our own data, that would then allow us to define the future strategy.
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Results: the strategy pays off

In the initial scenario, Cepsa’s CPL (cost per lead) had a high variance depending on the channel. Given our experience with these kinds of campaigns, we were optimistic in our forecasts and set ourselves the goal of reducing the CPL by at least 20%.

Thanks to the new social media formats, which favour conversion, together with the constant optimisation of the campaign by our Performance team, we managed to bring the conversion rate (by lead captured) to 36%, and to achieve an overall CPL of the campaign five times lower than the minimum recorded until then. 

Nevertheless, it is worth noting that there is still a lot of room for improvement, as there are some lessons we have learned and will implement in the next wave of the campaign:

  • As expected, Linkedin’s CPL was 15 times more expensive than Facebook’s.
  • Static formats, when it comes to conversion, generate better results than video/animation.
  • Interest segmentation generated more relevant data than look-a-like.

Can we say that the campaign was a success?

We would be making a serious mistake if we limited our analysis to lead generation only. Let’s remember the real objective of this campaign: to acquire customers. This is why daily communication with Cepsa’s call centre was not one-way. We sent the leads captured and they reported to us, anonymously, how many of these leads had finished the process and were going to receive the contract in their homes, as well as which segmentation/platform each of them originated from. This coordination was key when it came to really analysing the quality of the leads and, therefore, optimising the campaigns not based on their performance, but on business results.

We didn’t have a historical cost per acquisition (CPA) with which to compare, but we were able to verify that the campaign strategy had worked, as the conversion ratio of contract to captured leads and the CPA exceeded the initial expectations set by the project.

Thanks to the success of the first phase of the campaign, we have a golden opportunity to apply all our learnings in the second phase, which Cepsa has already trusted us with.

After all this, do you still think that social networks are not suitable for B2B?