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How 6 B2B Verticals are Responding to Uncertainty

How 6 B2B Verticals are Responding to Uncertainty

Businesses across the country have felt the shockwave of the coronavirus crisis. B2B companies are no different. 

In a survey conducted by Digital Commerce 360, 58% of B2B eCommerce executives have lowered their financial projections this year due to Covid-19. 

With lower financial expectations and an economy that remains unstable, how are executives directing their advertising funds? 

We encourage you to subscribe to our blog for the latest data surrounding the advertising industry. We will provide daily updates as COVID-19 continues to make its mark on the US economy.

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6 Verticals Affected by COVID-19

Here we look at how different industries under the B2B umbrella are pivoting in these unprecedented times. Some are surprising (spoiler alert: coffee). Others are not (i.e. webinars). 

Webinars and Digital Marketing 

With the cancellation of trade shows, marketers have had to make a new game plan for generating new leads and building relationships with clients. This was a huge loss for companies that participate in events because 70% of event revenue is made in Q1.

Research from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research found that B2B marketers who attend trade shows allot about 40% of their marketing budget to events, while they only spend 8% on online marketing. 

With this crisis, B2B marketers are now facing the inevitable: they need to pour more into online efforts.

About 65% of B2B marketers will reallocate dollars from live events to online events and webinars this year. We have seen this result in a large spike in the number of companies running paid advertisements for webinars.

Outside of webinar ads, we have seen a spike in digital advertising across B2B as a whole.

Both the number of companies and dollars spent increased 9% month-over-month in March.

In total, over $305M was spent on digital B2B advertising in Q1. This is a 9% year-over-year increase.

Working from Home Software Solutions

As many teams shifted to remote work, home productivity tools (like Slack or Zoom) were up big. In March 2020, spend from these brands were up 63% month-over-month.

IT Companies

These companies know there are challenges in getting workforces to function remotely.

Their response was swift. Ad spend in March was more than 2x the spend in January.

Coffee Brands

Not getting your morning brew in the office any more?

Coffee brands, not normally considered a B2B advertiser, realize this.

Spending in B2B publications from the category was up 4.5x between January and March.

We’ve seen coffee ads on sites like, Engineered Systems, MultiChannel News, Interiors and Sources, and more.

Insurance Companies

As the market becomes more uncertain, insurance companies are increasing their ad spending.

Notable categories up in Q1 2020 year-over-year include:

  • Life Insurance: +167%
  • Business Insurance: +165%
  • Legal Expense Insurance: +135%

MBA Programs

Business school applications go up in times of recession. Many don’t have work and young professionals can use this time to sharpen their skills.

Schools increased their spending in B2B publications. Business school ad spend was up 43% month-over-month in March, and Executive Education programs were up 64% month-over-month.

Interested in learning more? We will go more in depth on how this pandemic has hit B2B companies in our upcoming trend report. Stay tuned for more details.