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More B2B Advertisers Use Programmatic: How Much Are They Spending? (2021 Update)

Programmatic became central to the media planning process last year—and not just for B2C brands. 

An influx of B2B companies began buying programmatic ads, greatly exceeding analysts expectations for 2020. 

We’re nearly a year and a half into the pandemic. Are B2B brands still embracing programmatic?

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COVID‐19 Accelerated Programmatic Buying in the B2B Space

Early in 2020, experts were already predicting a sizable shift to programmatic advertising options. Some sources expected 69% of all digital media advertisements—over $100 billion in value—to be programmatic.

However, growth exceeded expectations. The Trade Desk reported 100% YoY growth in programmatic buying across Connected TV, 70% YoY growth across mobile video, and audio programmatic spend grew about 70% YoY. 

“So far in 2020 we’ve seen several years of advertising disruption and innovation compressed into a few months,” said Jeff Green, CEO of The Trade Desk. “As a result, advertisers have become more deliberate and data-driven with every advertising dollar.”

Measurability Plays a Key Role In Programmatic’s Popularity

The measurability of programmatic advertising offers marketers a major advantage.

“Almost every marketer and every large brand is being asked to do more with less,” said Green to AdWeek. “And that means that advertisers have to focus on ad opportunities that are measurable and comparable, where the business ROI can be understood and proven.”

Programmatic is just the thing for those advertisers. Rather than building awareness blindly, advertisers can target audiences that already have an interest in their services.

Programmatic tools for B2B companies are advancing quickly. IBM’s AI bot, Watson, helped reduce cost per click (CPC) by 71% in the U.S. and U.K. And earlier this year, Hivestack and Bombora joined together to offer stronger programmatic digital out-of-home offerings for B2B companies.

With its cost benefits, flexibility and automated nature, it’s hard for traditional marketing techniques to keep up.

MediaRadar Data

Between January and July 2021 there were 35.2 thousand advertisers spending $382 million in programmatic advertising. The same period in 2020 saw 24.3k advertisers spending $175mm in programmatic advertising.

B2B Programmatic Ad Spend, Jan-July, 2020 vs 2021 Chart

This is an increase of 118% in ad spend and a 44% increase in the number of advertisers. 

This explosive growth suggests that many B2B companies began investing last year, and have only continued to invest more this year.

The top spending category is finance, just as it was in 2020. Within this category, the top spending programmatic advertisers are: 

  • TD Ameritrade
  • Lending Tree
  • E*Trade
  • NerdWallet
  • Freddie Mac.
CitBank Programmatic Ad Creative Example
E*Trade Programmatic Ad Example
Ameritrade Programmatic Ad Example

Their programmatic spend in the B2B space totals $6.52mm, accounting for 4% of all programmatic ad spend.

Programmatic buying from B2B brands was relatively small in 2019. This time last year, we were wondering if this new buying behavior would last. Not only did it last, but it strengthened through 2021. 

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