Blog Post

Programmatic Advertising for the B2B Marketer – Four Key Considerations

03/30/2020 - Ian Barber

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

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