There’s no question that advertising is going increasingly digital and getting more personal every day. Since B2B advertising is dependent on speaking to teams and groups, the challenge is keeping things both personalized and informative to capture customers’ attention.
Our report on B2B Advertising in 2018 found that advertisers need to find new, more digital ways to reach decision-makers with the personal touch they’re used to. Naturally, this means B2B publishers need to find ways to bridge that gap between advertisers and their target audience.
But more often than not, B2B publications continue to rely on a similar portfolio year after year, no matter how mobile, social and visual ads seem to be taking over.
How can B2B publications expand their ad portfolios — and see their market share follow?
Change Your Perspective: Other B2B Publications Are Not Your Only Competitors
As a B2B publication, your audience is not limited to a single persona. An architectural magazine, for example, will draw advertisers looking to reach architects, builders, home buyers, interior contractors and more.
On the other side of the coin, these personas are not consuming content solely from industry-specific publications.
Simply put, other B2B publications within your industry are not your only competitors. Digital publications with a nimble reach may actually be even bigger competitors; HuffPost, Forbes, and truly B2B sites like The Balance come to mind. They have the ability to reach millions but drill down into reader interest.
With native advertising, for example, B2B brands can effectively reach their audience on popular magazines and news sites. This is the kind of value you want to capture for them.
But you need to do your research. While it’s tempting to focus on a cross-platform portfolio, MediaRadar research shows that the majority of B2B advertisers are not likely to buy both print and digital ads. According to our 2018 report on B2B advertising, 56 percent of brands bought print only and just 11 percent bought both print and digital ads.
The lesson? Research where and how your prospects are advertising. If they really are focused on print ads, look at ways to update your print portfolio. But if they are spending on social, programmatic and video elsewhere, how can you make a shift?
Explore Ad Formats: Winning Ad Portfolios Offer a Wide Range
Start by looking at all the channels you aren’t currently taking advantage of. YouTube, social video, podcasts, events, and social media are all viable options these days.
Ask which of these would work best with your current ad buyers based on where the rest of their ad spend goes. Then look at how you can integrate these disparate channels and formats into your offerings.
And remember: ad formats don’t have to be new to be ‘new to you’ and fresh for B2B.
Podcasts, for example, have proven to be a valuable form of B2B advertising more recently. If you’ve ever listened to a podcast remotely related to money or business (or even some in clearly consumer-focused categories), you have most likely heard an ad from ZipRecruiter or Squarespace.
“While many B2B firms are still using traditional mechanisms to buy their digital media, some are increasingly investing in more novel ad channels, like podcasts,” writes Ross Benes at eMarketer. According to the report, eMarketer forecasts that over 80 million people will listen to at least one podcast each month in just a few years.
Another B2B format on the rise for both B2B publications and popular sites: native ads. MediaRadar research from Q3 2018 showed that the number of sites selling native advertising nearly tripled from 2015 to last year. In just the first half of 2018, 473 new advertisers placed native ads.
Many of these advertisers are B2B: three of the top five product categories using native were B2B, including professional services, tech and finance. John Deere in Golfdom, HP in AdWeek and SAP in Forbes are all great examples.
Events and trade shows are yet another advertising channel that can be overlooked by smaller B2B publications. For more detail on what a B2B event can offer and how to get started, head over to our other resources:
- Retail Trade Shows Deliver Value Beyond the Booth
- 5 Basic B2B Conference Planning Tips You Can’t Skip
Once you’re ready to ramp up your ad portfolio, you can start talking to your prospects about getting everyone out of their comfort zone with new ad formats. Look for our next post on exactly that.