Commentary

Majority Of B2B Companies Bought Digital Display Programmatically Last Year

Kantar Media conducted an interesting study with Connectiv, the Business Information Association, in which 63% of B2B companies participating said that they’d bought digital display advertising programmatically in the last year. That’s compared to 73% for B2C companies.

The study, “B2B Programmatic Media Planning and Buying,” found that on average, digital media comprised 48% of B2B campaigns that respondents worked on over the past 12 months.

While respondents cited “audience” as the most important criteria used when evaluating programmatic buying opportunities for B2B digital display advertising, the study showed that programmatic audience targeting alone isn’t sufficient for B2B buyers.

For example, 76% of respondents use both audience and site/content targeting for B2B. This might be because of the widely held perception that B2B media are uniquely positioned to offer specialized content and hard-to-identify targets. The next highest-rated evaluation criteria included inventory quality, site content and viewability.

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While 71% of respondents agreed that programmatic B2B “inventory is less expensive than buying direct from the publisher,” price was considered the second-least important evaluation criteria for B2B campaigns.

“B2B can still command premium pricing, even in a programmatic environment,” stated Mike Marchesano, managing director of Connectiv. “Buyers acknowledge their need to pay a premium for these hard-to-reach audiences alongside B2B editorial; however, the study suggests that right now they appear to also be turning to consumer sites in order to achieve the scale they need.” And 66% of respondents reported using both B2B and B2C sites for B2B campaigns.

“This research confirms that programmatic adoption by B2B marketers continues to grow, and marketer demand to buy targeted B2B audiences will increase as budgets move from print and online display advertising channels,” Davis stated.

Survey respondents included 150 media planners and buyers with responsibility for researching, recommending, planning or buying business-to-business media. Complete results can be accessed here.

1 comment about " Majority Of B2B Companies Bought Digital Display Programmatically Last Year".
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  1. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, May 24, 2016 at 2:47 p.m.

    I wouldn't cite this study as overwhelming evidence that programmatic is an effective tool for B2B media. The study only reports on the use, and exaggerates to make programmatic seem essential to effective B2B planning. It just makes budgets go farther, but not better.

    Only 15% of respondents' digital B2B budgets are put to programmatic. That's hardly a landslide, and it doesn't account for the non-digital ad budgets. Even if digital were 65% of the total ad budget, programming would then account for less than 10% of the total budget.

    The main reason for buying programmatic for B2B is still cost ("inventory is less expensive than direct from publisher). While respondents cite audience as the most important criteria in evaluating programmatic, the reason is still price. Yet B2B buyers (at least those who think) acknowledge the price premium, and need for that, to reach very specific B2B audiences. The study also says that buyers put consumer sites into the B2B mix. This can be effective, but to do it just to achieve scale and price effiiciencies is nuts.

    In my experience, B2B display ads are about as effective as B2C display ads (not very). For B2B, it makes much more sense to use email and other relationship-building tactics than broad scale programmatic that hopes for a bite.

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