Commentary

In Programmatic B2B, Opportunity Trumps Risk

Saying B2B publishers are skeptical of programmatic trading is an understatement. Many see programmatic advertising as a direct threat to their core business. They think it threatens the value of their premium inventory and requires a large scale — two conditions why B2B has been slow to adopt it.

Others understand programmatic's evolving importance but believe the model is not the right fit for them.

However, when executed within the security of a premium private marketplace (PMP), automation can deliver the efficiency that drives value for both the buyer and seller.


B2B Buyers Are Handing Publishers Opportunity

Programmatic demand is becoming the dominant method of buying digital display advertising. Kantar Media, in conjunction with Connectiv, reports that over 63% of B2B media buyers are buying programmatically. This comes at a time when buyers are allocating additional budget dollars in anticipation of growth in available premium inventory.

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Unfortunately, B2B publishers may fail to capture this spend as buyers turn to B2C options for scale. In fact, two thirds of B2B buyers are supplementing B2B campaigns with B2C sites. This is not because buyers prefer B2C sites to B2B campaigns, but because they need options to effectively reach their target audience. Buyers recognize the tremendous value of a high-quality audience reached through specialty, vertically narrow B2B sites.  As such, publishers have an opportunity to expand market share by adopting efficient programmatic strategies while meeting the market demand.

Private Marketplaces Let Publishers Stay In Control

The key for publishers is to protect their inventory through a synthesis of automation and integrity. Private marketplaces present a prime opportunity for smaller, niche sites that can’t necessarily reach scale on their own. Just as hedge funds pool an elite group of investors to secure stronger positions in the market, PMPs leverage the specificity offered by premium publishers to secure larger ad spend that demands automation.

In contrast to open auctions, private marketplaces have delivered higher CPM yields, partly due to the fact they offer a secure trading environment. This “walled garden” approach keeps fraudulent publishers out, thereby eliminating the need for “defensive buying.”

PMPs can also scale audience, which solves the buyer’s problem of reaching a sufficiently large targeted group. With PMP ad spend expected to grow to over $3 billion this year, B2B has a clear opportunity to capture a considerable share.

Publishers’ Biggest Risks Are Eased By Programmatic

Among the top areas of focus for B2B publishers are stronger customer relationships and content marketing. These issues can be much better addressed with the implementation of a programmatic infrastructure.

First, automation is often viewed as a direct risk to publisher personnel. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about programmatic solutions. The reality is that programmatic automates mundane tasks, freeing up resources to focus on other high-touch matters such as  engagement with customers and building relationships with prospects.

With programmatic advertising, ad ops teams are no longer buried in a pile of cluttered email exchanges over pricing and tagging. They can spend more time solving the creative problems to which an algorithm is blind. It’s like making the switch from a typewriter to desktop — the end game is efficiency.

Secondly, programmatic is also the future for more effective and broadened content marketing. Delivering B2B content to the right individual requires pinpoint accuracy and highly efficient scale. This sophisticated syndication and placement of content will only be possible through an automated process.

Programmatic in the B2B marketplace keeps publishers relevant, efficient and valuable. Making the shift is critical for future success and recapturing ad spend being lost to B2C. When evaluating the landscape, it’s obvious that the opportunities are plentiful. And the real risk is missing out on the next era of successful publishing.

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