B2B Marketers Picking Up Automation Trend, 'Old School' Industries Leading The Way

Industries that have relied on “old school” sales and marketing strategies -- such as financial services and manufacturing -- are now driving the growth of B2B online marketing via automation.

Those two industries, along with the software and technology vertical, were the three fastest growing in terms of B2B spend and customer engagement in 2013. On the year as a whole, B2B marketers saw a 27% increase in engagement from their targeted audiences when using real-time bidding (RTB) to reach them.

The data, released Thursday, comes from Demandbase’s RTB platform. The company analyzed over five billion ad impressions served in 2013 from 20 different industries.

RTB picked up steam for consumer marketers because it allows for more personalized targeting. Chris Golec, Demandbase’s founder and CEO, said in a statement that the same type of personalization is now possible for B2B marketers.

Citing “new advances in audience identification, targeting, RTB and personalization,” Golec said B2B companies can use advertising technology to “effectively [eliminate] the waste that existed in B2B advertising.”

That waste, according to Golec, is highlighted by the fact that the vast majority (85-90%) of traffic B2B Web properties receive are not from their targeted audience. However, as Golec noted, that waste has started to vanish.

The financial service industry led the way with a 144% increase in engagement from its target audiences in 2013 (compared to 2012). Not surprisingly, financial service companies were most likely to target audiences based on revenue (82% of the time) versus other attributes.

One of those other attributes is industry, and B2B marketers from manufacturing companies were most likely to target other companies based on which industry they were in (91% of the time). However, manufacturing companies were least likely to personalize the creative in their ads, per Demandbase.

Automation, and more specifically real-time bidding, is starting to be used by all types of marketer. According to this Demandbase report, each marketer is making the ad technology work for them in a unique way. That’s significant because it indicates the advertising industry at large is, at the very least, willing to explore the new technologies.

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