Customer Story


How Airbase reaches target prospects on Facebook to build awareness

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Use cases

Ad Targeting

Airbase is a fast-growing company with ambitious goals to engage and acquire new customers.

As makers of a spend management platform for companies that need to understand and control spend — the Airbase team wanted to raise awareness with finance leaders.

They were already using LinkedIn Ads to acquire net-new contacts by targeting audiences based on business attributes like industry, company size, and title. But the B2B buying process is more than one single interaction — with different stages, stakeholders, and states of a prospect's readiness over time. Marketers like James Yu, Director of Demand Generation at Airbase, recognize the need to target and tailor their approach across multiple platforms.

He had always wanted LinkedIn-level segmentation powers for Facebook, which has a lower cost per click but didn't natively give him the ability to reach his target audiences. "In marketing, you always want to connect with prospects through a lot of different angles," James explains. “For a long time, we were limited to LinkedIn, email, and retargeting.”

He turned to the Clearbit Advertising to give him granular control over creating audiences for Facebook and Instagram based on B2B criteria. Airbase could now reach new prospects in their target market and nurture them on new channels.

Clearbit Advertising allows me to create more targeted audiences that I couldn't even reach in the past.

James Yu
James YuDirector of Demand Generation, Airbase

The challenge of advertising to a finite audience

Unlike messaging or collaboration apps that a whole company can use, Airbase has a finite audience: finance managers at fast-growth startups. James explains, “There's only a certain number of startups in the world and then trying to reach a certain role inside that account is even harder.”

Annoying or overwhelming this finite audience with pushy tactics is costly. "No one wants to get dropped into a cold email sequence," he points out. "Marketing can't be all interruption. You need to use other channels that are not as pushy."

One of the lessons James has learned is how to best tailor the type of content for each ad channel. For Airbase, Facebook and Instagram are especially conducive platforms to raise and nurture brand awareness with educational content, whereas the work-oriented LinkedIn is a more fitting place to ask for a demo. "If they see an ad inside an Instagram story, then that's definitely not as pushy. It's another way of getting in front of the prospect that does not take up space in their inbox,” he explains.

example awareness ad leading to educational content Example of an awareness ad with a content offer

Now that he's armed with Clearbit Advertising, James says, "Finally, I can slice and dice audiences on Facebook and then max out spending on them — right up to that point where they're aware of us but not annoyed at us." team photo

Reaching target accounts for awareness and onwards on Facebook

Social ads increase Airbase's reach, without the interruption of email. The ability to harness additional channels also increases surface area for marketers, providing more opportunities to create effective journeys instead of getting confined to blasting the same people over and over on the same channels.

James describes his approach: "Advertising supports the whole funnel, with different kinds of campaigns and channels to create a sort of digital bubble around your target accounts." Now, with Clearbit Advertising, James has Facebook (and Instagram) as levers to create a digital bubble across the funnel to:

  • raise awareness and create net-new leads with Prospect Audiences
  • focus remarketing efforts on site visitors who fit an ideal customer profile with Site Visitor Audiences
  • reach leads in specific stages in the pipeline, based on Salesforce data with Contact Audiences

"Clearbit Advertising is super easy to use," he says. To build awareness with target accounts, "you select firmographic criteria like industry, location, and how many employees. You can dig into roles, like people in sales or marketing. When you save your segment, it appears in the Facebook Ads Manager. You can just attach that audience onto an ad set, and you're good to go."

example awareness ad leading to educational content Example prospect audience for advertising to net-new

He continues, "If you don't have a tool like Clearbit and you're trying to advertise on Facebook, you are very limited in how you can target. Clearbit Advertising makes Facebook and Instagram useful again."

The result: increased reach at half the cost-per-click

Not only does James gain new avenues for marketing to specific audiences, he also gets more efficient spend. Cost per click on campaigns using Clearbit Advertising has been about half that of LinkedIn — $4 to 8 on Facebook versus LinkedIn's $8-16.

This lower cost per click coupled with the ease of audience creation gives James the ability to experiment more. "I can put on my mad-scientist cap to try out different kinds of ads and on more segments."

"My job is to find the right target accounts that would benefit from using Airbase and message them effectively, " sums up James. "Clearbit Advertising allows me to create more targeted audiences that I couldn't even reach in the past. All marketers want better targeting and to be able to do that on big platforms like Facebook and Instagram, it's a no brainer.”


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