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Why B2B Brands Are Advertising on Instagram

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B2B advertising does best in vertical publications and domains with niche audiences — right? 

That may no longer be the case.

One headline from What’s New in Publishing from earlier this year says everything: “B2B print ad revenue continues to fall as publishers depend on events and digital.”

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A key part of digital for any market is social media. It’s conventional to think of different social media platforms as serving different purposes: Facebook for small business, Pinterest or Instagram for ecommerce and LinkedIn is unquestioningly king of B2B.

But that seems to be less true every day, with digital ads in all forms and social media in particular becoming the norm. Earlier this year, we outlined the four types of B2B advertising to watch in 2019. All of them focused on depth and engagement. Social media platforms can offer the latter, at least.

Read More: The Most Creative B2B Ad Campaigns from 2018

What ‘Consumer’ Social Media Has to Offer B2B

“It’s absolutely possible to successfully market a B2B brand on Instagram, driving traffic, leads, and conversions,” writes Kevin Kononenko at Databox.

To substantiate the claim, Databox polled 25 marketers with a simple question: is it possible for B2B brands to succeed with marketing on Instagram?

100 percent said yes.

B2B marketers, it seems, are going beyond the print page and niche display ad to reach their audiences. “Instagram isn’t just for travel bloggers, influencers, and consumer brands,” Kononenko concludes. The post goes on to outline specific ways B2B brands can position themselves on the platform, from focusing on quality content to optimizing for search and using targeted ads.

The even ‘newer’ kid on the block is Snapchat, the app associated with a young audience and, of course, selfies. But that, by itself, doesn’t disqualify the platform from appealing to B2B advertising.

Writing at Entrepreneur, marketer Renee Yeager reminds us of the fundamental truth of successful marketing: story is king. “And Snapchat is great at telling stories quickly to an engaged audience,” Yeager writes. With an app like Snapchat, there’s the opportunity for storytelling. For excitement. For engagement.

Three years ago, 60 percent of smartphone users had Snapchat installed on their phone and already nearly a quarter of ad executives were planning on incorporating Snapchat into their stack. While the audience skews young, it also skews highly engaged: the average user spends 30 minutes on the app, and 60 percent of Snap Ads are watched with sound on.

Core DNA makes the argument that it’s about early adoption; most Snapchat users are fairly young for now, the thinking goes. The platform only has room to expand. Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerMedia boils it down: “One day, there will be some plumber in America who becomes famous by doing two-minute videos broken up into 20 sections on how to fix things yourself.”

All of this translates into one thing: B2B brands are no longer sticking to the middle of the road when it comes to marketing.

Print spreads and niche websites still hold a place, but B2B marketers are looking elsewhere for even better engagement. B2B publishers will need to find ways to offer what they’re looking for.