B2B marketers use advertising not only for audience
Although advertising is always changing, it remains a key tool in the B2B marketer’s arsenal alongside drip campaigns and personalized landing pages.
As an ad sales
#1 Native advertising takes over online spend
Across the board, B2B ad spend was flat in 2018 when compared to the year before. But we are seeing a shift in money from print to online advertising. In 2017 online ads accounted for 19 percent of B2B ad budgets. In 2018, it was up to 27 percent.
This likely has to do with the value that online advertising has to offer. While data is typically thought to drive programmatic advertising, online insights can still guide B2B advertisers to smarter direct marketing efforts. “By combining an immediate understanding of the accounts marketers want to target and sophisticated intent data to identify the buying committee within those accounts, B2B advertising can achieve precision and scale in 2019,” writes Peter Isaacson in Marketing Land. This is arguably a big reason behind the shift toward online and ‘unconventional’ advertising trends outlined below – they simultaneously allow for a bigger as well as a more targeted reach.
While programmatic advertising is the mainstay of DTC brands, three quarters of online ad spend from B2B brands went to direct buys in Q3 and Q4 of 2018. Out of this direct spend, the area that saw the most amount of growth in 2018 was native content. The top categories driving this increase in native B2B advertisers were realtors, legal services, and tech recruiting.
Since B2B advertising is typically focused on developing a strong and informative brand voice, native advertising (which emphasizes content over creative) makes sense for many industries. If you’re looking for more insight on this front, we will discuss native advertising in our next blog post.
#2 Events are now a major channel for B2B
On the opposite end of the spectrum from online advertising events, now a major advertising channel in their own right (mainly through event sponsorship). 41 percent of B2B marketers believe events are the most effective marketing channel — a 32 percent increase since 2017, according to Bizzabo’s 2018 Event Marketing Report. The same report revealed a number of useful statistics for ad sales:
- The number of companies organizing 20 or more events per year increased by 17 percent YoY in 2018.
- More than half of B2B organizations are spending over 21 percent of their annual budgets on events.
- 24 percent of businesses within the media industry allocate over half of their marketing budgets to events.
Marketing Charts estimated the median spend for a B2B company to sponsor an event is $20,000 — so they must be receiving value for their efforts.
#3 Podcast advertising grows along with the niche medium
With 72 million podcast listeners in the United States, podcast
According to Edison Research, more than a quarter of Americans listen to podcasts monthly, and that number has grown by over 2 percent annually every year since 2013. More on the nose for the B2B demographic, research shows that podcast listeners tend to be educated and affluent.
B2B marketers are embracing the trend toward consuming podcasts in a couple of different ways:
- B2B brands are buying ads on existing podcasts. This allows marketers to reach an already engaged audience while they are paying attention. According to NPR CEO Gina Garrubbo, B2B brands make up one of their biggest advertiser categories. And NPR is the most popular podcast publisher, according to PodTrac.
- B2B brands are creating their own podcasts. These “branded podcasts” give B2B brands interested in content marketing a new medium to work with. Creating a podcast takes more of an investment than a blog
post;but it also likely leads to higher levels of engagement. Check out:
#4 Out of H
ome expands where B2B brands can get their message across
Out of Home (OOH) advertising is up across the board; the Out of Home Advertising Association of America reported an ad spend increase of 4.5 percent in 2018.
Although they do not break down their by B2B vs. B2C, we saw many B2B brands run these ads in 2018. From airports to cabs and the subway, B2B advertisers are getting their messaging across during your morning commute.
“While OOH may appear ‘old-school’ on the surface, exciting new OOH placements and integrated geolocation data have transformed the medium into a sophisticated outlet for savvy marketers,” explains Vector Media, a creative agency. For example, location data allows advertisers to target the initial ad placement and retarget people who have been close to the ad on mobile or web platforms. It’s the natural next step in bringing together the physical and the digital in B2B advertising.