Expert Insight: Have B2B Marketers Helped Programmatic Advertising Go Mainstream?

programmatic advertising, digital marketingProgrammatic advertising continues to grow in popularity among B2B marketers, and recent research has shown that they are investing more in this area.

The “B2B Advertising and Marketing Outlook: Programmatic Takes Hold” report from AdweekBrandshare and Dun & Bradstreet recently found that 63 percent of B2B marketers now buy or sell advertising programmatically – but are their efforts paying off? To learn more, we spoke to Dun & Bradstreet’s SVP of Audience Solutions, Anudit Vikram, for additional insight.

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What do you think led to the dramatic increase in the investment in programmatic advertising this year?

“Marketers continue to invest in programmatic because it’s the most efficient way to buy media. And because it’s all about the data, which is getting better, it’s much easier to execute at scale.

“The B2C world has been doing this for some time, and B2B marketers are now recognizing how to use the right data to hone in on the right audience, all with a pretty lean team and minimal effort. Further, programmatic buying lends itself well to hypertargeting which is becoming increasingly important for marketers.”

Why do you think the majority of B2B marketers will still only spend less than half of their media budgets programmatically?

“While it’s become commonplace for a consumer to purchase a pair of shoes online, million-dollar equipment is still purchased offline. B2B data has historically been offline and while B2B spending on programmatic is increasing, there’s still a need for offline marketing. That face-to-face opportunity to walk a potential buyer through a product or service at an event is still very valuable for the B2B community.

“Also, it was informative to see that while many spend less than half their budget on programmatic, the percentage they spend has been growing, and almost two-thirds of B2B marketers said they plan to increase their spending on programmatic, with 18 percent planning to increase it more than 25 percent in 2018.”

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What was the most interesting finding/statistic in the report, in your opinion?

“In the report, we got confirmation that brand safety and viewability are becoming bigger concerns. I think it’s interesting that while we’ve gotten to a deeper level of maturity for programmatic buying, we are seeing new challenges surfacing. There is almost an across the board consensus on the fact that programmatic is here to stay.  B2B marketers have clearly stated that they plan to increase the spend on programmatic in the coming years, so getting ahead of these issues has become paramount.”

Why do you think marketers are still concerned with brand safety when it comes to the reliability of programmatic buys?

“Because there is minimal to no human supervision in the execution of the programmatic campaign, it is possible for bad actors to spoof sites and have ads show up in places that are detrimental to the interest of the advertiser. With the increasing technological sophistication, these bad actors become difficult to track and remove, hence the continued concern of marketers.

“Our survey shows that a majority of B2B buyers (two-thirds) are concerned about brand safety. Buyers are worried about their ads showing up on the wrong kinds of sites or showing up next to undesirable content that the brand doesn’t want to be associated with.

The good news is that solutions exist and more are being worked on to address this issue.  Organizations such as the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) have created certification programs which help certify the digital supply chain so marketers can be confident that their programmatic campaigns are not being hijacked by bad actors.”

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How can marketers better align with sales to succeed in their data-driven marketing initiatives?

“For an ABM strategy to be successful, there needs to be alignment between marketing and sales. Marketing uses data for segmentation and targeting to generate MQLs but this data, the insights and intelligence, also needs to be shared with sales so that they can pick up where marketing leaves off.

“Having marketing and sales access the same data is the key to better alignment, creating a better overall customer experience. In addition to being smart and efficient with the use of data, it is also important to have an organizational setup that encourages and supports alignment – the right incentives across the sales and the marketing teams, an appropriate focus around content marketing to help push prospects down the sales funnel, and appropriately measured ROIs for marketing efforts are critical if B2B marketers are to get the most out of the data they now have access to.”

marketing, digital marketingABOUT ANUDIT VIKRAM

Anudit Vikram is the Sr. Vice President of Dun & Bradstreet’s Audience Solutions. In his role, Anudit is responsible for bringing to market solutions applying Dun & Bradstreet’s vast commercial and contact data assets to solve for Sales and Marketing use cases both in the physical and the digital world. He is an industry veteran with over 15 years of experience in advertising and digital media. Anudit has been involved with leading digital technologies from the inception of advertising exchanges and programmatic buying with Right Media/Yahoo! to the latest in big data and data management. He is an active member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and sits on the Ad Technology and the Data Council.

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