Programmatic Advertising for the B2B Marketer – Four Key Considerations

Across the board, advertisers are rethinking their programmatic playbook amid the COVID-19 upheaval and it’s creating an entirely new set of challenges to grapple with. This is especially true for B2B advertisers who already have prolonged consideration stages and a narrower set of decision-makers to engage. For B2B advertisers, now more ever, a novel strategic approach is critical to sustaining growth and momentum. Below, are four key considerations that will help you get the most out of your media budget when targeting a B2B audience.

1. Using KPIs that Work for B2B

In the digital advertising world, we’re used to instant and attributable return on our ad spend. However, according to a 2019 Miller Heiman report, 75% of B2B sales to new customers take at least 4 months to close.

Consequently, the main focus of any B2B campaign should be raising awareness and nurturing interest. Whereas in a typical B2C campaign, an insightful conversion event may be an e-commerce purchase, consider moving B2B KPI’s up the funnel – perhaps a content download or general awareness.

2. Content is King

Speaking of content, there is no better way to keep B2B buyers interested than to point them towards engaging content. In a study by the Content Marketing Institute, a sophisticated approach to content was found to be the best barometer of B2B success. While many companies are already investing resources in building great content, they are not always doing all they can to amplify that content. 

A great way to promote engaging content with programmatic is through native advertising. Effectively placed native ads draw B2B decision-makers to your content, subsequently building trust and pushing them down the funnel.

3. Focused Targeting is a Must

In many B2C campaigns, it’s acceptable to target large audience segments containing many millions of users. The challenge we face with B2B strategy is that the group of decision-makers is much smaller than most of the audiences that data providers are supplying out of the box. And today, many decision-makers are working remotely, from their home and away from a business that can be reached with IP-targeted campaigns. 

Fortunately, B2B data providers such as Bombora and Dun & Bradstreet supply advertisers with custom segments built on device IDs and job role/title data in addition to IP data. These custom segments allow B2B advertisers to target and retarget a relatively small audience of decision-makers. Uploading a list of target accounts or target job roles and taking an account-based marketing (ABM) approach can aid us in programmatically reaching key accounts and avoid wasting spend on users that aren’t in the set of prospective buyers.

By utilizing ABM, you gain important insights that can be leveraged by an enterprise sales team further down the funnel. Knowing which accounts are flagging interest by engaging with digital ads allows for a better allocation of resources across the organization. 

4. Remarketing to Nurture

As mentioned above, the B2B buying cycle often lasts several months. With this in mind, any digital B2B strategy should include a sophisticated and prolonged remarketing strategy. The remarketing pool of our B2B campaign is the most valuable tool we have to turn considerers into purchasers. 

Feel free to leave users in your remarketing pool longer than you would for a B2C campaign and continue to point them towards relevant content. B2B buyers are engaged in a lengthy buying process and often have to sell your product internally. Using programmatic remarketing, keeping your brand top of mind and supplying them with content long after they’ve left your website will help buyers make a decision and help you to make the sale.

The challenges that B2B marketing presents to digital advertisers are unique, especially during the coronavirus outbreak. Fortunately, the tactics above are purpose-built for those challenges. Any worthwhile B2B marketing effort should include digital advertising, but the digital approach must be tailor-made for business objectives and for reaching customers wherever they are. 

Interested in reading more about effective tactics to incorporate into your B2B strategy during the coronavirus outbreak? Download our Responding to Coronavirus: For B2B Marketers here

The Other Streaming Battle

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On TV And Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.

This column is written by Raquel Rosenthal, CEO at Digilant.

Connected TV (CTV) is attractive to advertisers looking for ways to combine TV’s compelling brand storytelling with a digital marketing approach that can better target and measure those messages and automate the media buying process.

Long-term success in CTV requires maximizing the expertise from both the TV and digital departments within brands and agencies. Fortunately, emerging tools, analytics and services can defuse internal turf battles and unite both sides in their efforts to engage the cord-cutting audience.

Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings are a good example thus far, enabling gross rating point equivalencies that allow brands and agencies to compare CTV performance with traditional TV buys. This enables traditional TV ad experts to better understand and articulate how 15- and 30-second CTV spots are moving the needle for consumer awareness and purchase intent.

Digital advertising experts bring to the table not just an understanding of how programmatic buying works and the tools for maximizing ROI, but also the pitfalls to avoid when entering the space.

For example, fraud is typically found in places with high revenue opportunities and new channels without foolproof measurement. Open exchange CTV inventory has likely been a victim of high fraud rates, creating a need for not just CTV-specific detection tools and standards, but also for TV and digital departments to cooperate in evaluating and benchmarking results and spotting metric anomalies to ensure it evolves as a brand-safe channel.

Since CTV inventory is also fairly limited and highly competitive, both TV and digital marketers can combine their expertise to determine if they should go direct or buy via private marketplaces – and then factor in how these channels’ higher CPMs impact overall ad campaign performance.

Other mechanisms being developed by a growing number of ad tech partners allow data from both TV and digital sources to be seamlessly integrated to create unified user profiles that can then be targeted with specific and relevant messaging.

Tools that sync CTV and other OTT devices across a single unified ID enable marketers and their agency partners to measure and attribute performance to CTV more easily and affordably than with traditional TV.

By creating a shared metric, TV and digital departments can better determine what messaging and creative in CTV drives site traffic, brand affinity, conversion and sales lift. These metrics can then be augmented with qualitative data, which traditional TV advertisers have long relied on, to create a fuller, more nuanced understanding of whether a brand’s storytelling is resonating with target consumers.

With CTV as a growing focal point, digital and TV departments should be able to better coordinate everything from initial planning and goal setting to executing creatives, ensuring that brand identity remains consistent regardless of where the consumer engagement is taking place.

Bridging the internal gap will also allow brands to take advantage of new ways to engage consumers in a hybrid premium, ad-supported CTV landscape where the traditional 15- and 30-second spot is only part of the marketing arsenal.

By cooperating on CTV opportunities, such as brand home-screen takeovers, sponsorships and product placement, linear TV and digital departments can shape these initiatives’ goals and determine how they’re impacting viewer perception and engagement.

Follow Digilant (@Digilant_US) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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