The B2B space seems to finally be catching up with digital trends.
“B2B has officially reached its adapt-or-die scenario that consumer-facing brands have come to grips with in recent years,” writes Jennifer Toton at AdWeek. Ahead of 2019, an Oracle head of B2B sales predicted that B2B marketers would invest more in data and analytics capabilities to increase their competitive edge.
But this adaptation is as much in response to opportunity as it is out of necessity. “Thanks to the maturation of the space, business-to-business companies can now also map out and measure the impact of how content works inside advertising and in conjunction with advertising,” concludes Toton. Digital advertising is maturing as B2B marketing is evolving, allowing those in the space to adopt people-based marketing and new levels of personalization.
While most B2B brands focus their advertising spend on print, an increasing percentage of B2B advertisers are starting to increase their digital ad spend.
Previously, we reported on some of the major B2B spenders buying both print and digital ad space. But what about those leading digital advertising for the B2B market?
B2B Digital Ad Spend is Up
MediaRadar research revealed that B2B digital ad spend is up 36 percent year-over-year, when comparing the first half of 2018 with the first half of 2019.
Industries pioneering the way toward increased digital advertising can be categorized in two distinct groups: those spending the most on digital ads and those increasing their ad spend the most.
- B2B industries spending the most on digital ads in 2019:
- Professional Services
- B2B industries increasing their ad spend the most, year-over-year:
- Cigarettes & Tobacco
- Beer, Wine & Spirits
- Beverages (Non-Alcoholic)
Who’s Leading B2B Digital Advertising?
In the pharma industry, the digital ad leaders include Endo International, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline. Pfizer, for example, spent over $100 million across all media and has placed video, direct and programmatic ads on major domains this year. They have partnered with multiple platforms to serve their programmatic ads.
Within finance, TD Ameritrade, Schwab and Vanguard lead the pack. Vanguard has run display ads on major online publications, like U.S. News & World Report and BBC.
The companies spending the most on digital ads within professional services include Informa, USPS and Accenture. USPS has expanded their advertising beyond the B2B vertical, with display ads placed everywhere from Jezebel to The Economist.
Sean Callahan at LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions blog writes that these major companies are just part of the rapidly growing $6 billion B2B digital advertising market in the US.
Callahan writes that this expansion into digital advertising is precipitated by a handful of overlapping factors: the increased popularity of both account-based and people-based marketing within B2B, the advancement of programmatic platforms and the increased power of personalized content sequencing.
Despite these advances and increased in digital spend, the fact remains that most B2B brands advertise only in print. The only question that remains is how these brands and publications will adapt now that it’s clear where the industry is headed.