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Unlocking B2B programmatic Success

B2B marketers know that programmatic can bring value, but many still struggle to execute successful campaigns and prove ROI. Dun & Bradstreet’s, Senior Vice President, Anudit Vikram, explains what you need to consider in your programmatic journey

According to the results of the “2018 B2B Advertising and Marketing Outlook,” 63% of B2B marketers currently buy advertising programmatically and almost two-thirds said they plan to increase their spending on programmatic in 2018.

Programmatic makes media buying simpler, more cost-effective, and highly targeted. It is intended to solve the inefficiencies of digital advertising by leveraging real-time customer data and analytics to target the right user at the right time in the right environment. Hence, it’s not surprising that the spend on programmatic buying is increasing in this age of automation.

While B2B marketers see the need for the move to programmatic, many are still struggling with executing successful campaigns and proving ROI. While ‘lack of expertise in programmatic buying’ is often cited as a reason, their struggles are compounded by the fact that challenges facing B2B marketers are much more complex than those facing their B2C counterparts when it comes to executing programmatic campaigns. There are several things B2B companies need to consider as they firmly march ahead in their programmatic journey.

Reaching the right audience

One of the hesitations with using programmatic buying is not knowing whether your ads are actually reaching the audience for which they are intended. In the B2B world, this becomes even more complex as you are trying to reach individuals in the context of the businesses for which they work. While you are showing your ads to individuals, it is, in fact, the account they represent which is the target of your campaign. Without having a way to truly understand which person at which account is being exposed to your ads, marketing organizations feel they are just throwing money away. To solve for this, you need a solution which provides intelligence into the person being exposed to an ad or a visitor to your website while allowing you to match that individual to the account they represent.

One of the best ways to make sure you are reaching the right audience (and something used to boost account-based marketing campaigns) is to tie each individual to an account with a unique identifier. That list can then be sent to an advertiser who can run a set of campaigns against that company.

Brand safety

As advertising has shifted to programmatic and real-time bidding, the increase in the volume of transactions made possible by these technologies has inadvertently made it easier to carry out fraudulent activities. In a recent study, nearly 70 percent of respondents said brand safety has become more important to their businesses. Advertisers are looking to ensure that ads will be displayed on brand-safe networks, not “fake news” sites with fringe or hateful content.

Transparency in the ad supply chain is shifting from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have. Marketers have hundreds – even thousands – of partners that touch their ads before they actually are displayed on a website or device. The challenge is adding transparency to the process: making sure your partners are legitimate actors and that you’re avoiding fraudulent traffic. Common standards and a high level of partner accountability are becoming increasingly vital to the growth and health of this space. Mastering control of your data is a necessary first step to this process. Companies such as the Trustworthy Accountability Group are already at work on this, allowing marketers better control of their ad supply chain.

Attribution and ROI

With the amount of money being spent on programmatic, marketing teams need to be able to measure the success of their programs. Because ads are being served across a variety of channels and because customers are interacting across multiple platforms and devices, it’s imperative that you have some sort of identity resolution process to properly identify and track what actions are being taken with your business.

While cookies are a popular way to track user activity, unfortunately in the B2B world, cookies typically expire before the lengthy sales process is over, meaning marketers lose valuable data on the actions taken by each account. A better way to track activity is to use a consistent, persistent identifier to tie the individual to the account. Then, all activity is leveled up to the account level and the data stays with the account, no matter which individual is taking an action.

Unlocking success with data

To be successful with programmatic advertising, you need the right balance of data and intelligence to deliver more targeted, intelligent, and relevant messages. This data foundation will help you to deliver messages to the right audience, avoid paying for fraudulent clicks and track the success of your programs at an account level, which is critical in B2B marketing.

by Anudit Vikram
source: MTA