Growing a B2B account is like building a house. Before you can consider the furnishings, you need a well-established foundation. In paid search, that well-established foundation is the historical backend data that will inform your upper-funnel expansion.

As many B2Bs go through their yearly budgeting processes and plan for Q1 growth, there are plenty of quick levers you can pull in your accounts. But in order to drive backend improvements that are impactful for your clients’ businesses, you need to make use of the data you already have available.

Backend data analyses to prep for growth:

The first step to preparing for Q1 growth is assessing and understanding where you currently stand on the backend.

Demographics – Compare backend performance across different demographics to get an understanding of your core digital audience. You can use information about your most qualified audience to sustainably test expansion up the funnel. For example, let’s say you want to test running ads on the Google Display Network for the first time. If your clients are hesitant, you can launch a pilot targeting only the audience with the highest backend conversion rate.

High value analysis – Determine which of your core campaigns are producing the highest value opportunities & deals. From here, look for upper funnel opportunities that will encourage more high-value deals on the search side.

Sales cycle analysis – Determine the average time it takes for a deal to close. This will give you a better idea of how much data you’ll need to accumulate before you can evaluate the efficacy of your growth-focused campaigns.

Once you’re armed with the proper data, you’re ready to grow. You’ll always want to drive growth for what you consider to be your most important KPIs. For B2Bs that are growing seasonally, you’ll want to use data that you collect at the top of the funnel to inform your other acquisition, retention and closing channels.

Growth avenues to leverage

Now that you’ve assessed your data, here are some growth possibilities you can leverage that won’t sacrifice quality:

Google Display Network – Contrary to popular belief, the GDN can drive quality leads for B2Bs. While it may require more frequent optimizations, targeting your core demographic on the GDN can drive similar quality to traditional search campaigns with almost unlimited impression share. Try layering your core demographic with in-market audiences, topics and contextual keywords to reach your desired level of specificity.

Programmatic Display – When running GDN campaigns, you should also be testing a third-party ad network to measure the quality differences. In general, you want your GDN investment to be mirrored with a programmatic partner for a defined testing period. Once we have enough data to make conclusions, depending on your lead flow and sales cycle, you’ll want to funnel budget from the underperforming platform into the higher performing platform. By and large, you’ll want to remain active on either platform in order to take advantage of the different targeting methodologies specific to each.

Industry-Specific Remarketing – Do you have industry-specific pages on your website? Create specific remarketing audiences for visitors of those pages and offer them content that’s specific to their industry. This increases reach in a more targeted fashion while taking advantage of the higher conversion rates generally seen with remarketing audiences.

Mobile Remarketing – Create audiences in Google Analytics for searchers that started their journeys on mobile devices and target these searchers so you don’t lose them as they move down the purchase funnel.

YouTube – Create a YouTube campaign with in-display ads for competitor terms. Use a call to action overlay to drive traffic to the site or a specific landing page where you can funnel emails into a separate list or nurturing campaign.

Customer Match – Use the data you captured from the GDN & YouTube campaigns to create higher-funnel customer match lists. Apply these lists to your search campaigns, or use them as your targeting for Gmail Ads to nurture them through the funnel.

As you take your B2B accounts through growth in Q1, a few core pre-analyses will ensure success on the backend. Sustainable growth will ensure enough time to optimize from early learnings. Start early, optimize often and you’ll be well poised for success in the first quarter.