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2019 B2B Digital Advertising: Statistics, Analysis, and Bold Predictions

By Meagan Schade

Senior Associate, Sales Development

The U.S. B2B digital advertising market has grown by roughly $1 billion annually. While growth is steady, U.S. B2B companies have been taking their sweet time shifting dollars to digital ads.

In 2019, U.S. B2Bs will spend $6.08 billion on digital advertising, up 19% from last year. While this sounds like a lot, B2B spend only represents roughly 5% of the total digital ad market, and only 2.5% of total media ad spend. That’s a small piece of the pie.

What’s Taking So Long for B2B Advertisers to Catch Up?

For B2B advertisers to focus more of their media dollars toward digital, they need to hire the right skill sets internally to focus on data and technology hurdles. The goal is to be more audience-centric in their approach to digital media buys, which means data-driven targeting and automated delivery.

Pro Tip: Our Senior Vice President of Digital, Matthew Fanelli, created a handy cheat sheet of the 4 simple rules for making the most of your data.

The Current State of Digital B2B Marketing

The top marketing tactics currently being used by B2B advertisers are email marketing (78%), industry events (70%), and social media (68%). When they do turn to digital for lead generation, B2B advertisers most commonly execute personalized calls or emails (80%), email campaigns (64%), and content marketing offers like white papers, guides, and tip sheets (49%).

While they’re slowly but surely grasping the power of digital advertising, B2B companies also realize that a wider variety of media touchpoints is necessary to nurture their audience throughout the purchase journey.

VP of Integrated Marketing, Vicki Brakl, explains this perfectly: “Digital is awesome—it pulls people in—but layer that with other palpable media like magazines, out-of-home, or audio, and engagement and attention are raised exponentially.”

And B2B advertisers are focusing on measurement and attribution to justify spending any new media dollars.

The Trends that Will Define this Year in B2B Advertising:

 

BIGGER SCREENS.

While over 70% of total U.S. digital ad dollars will go to mobile formats in 2019, the B2B split isn’t as mobile-heavy. B2B advertisers will only spend around 37%—$2.27 billion—of their digital ad dollars on mobile placements in 2019. The remaining budget will be spent on ads appearing on desktop, laptop, and other internet-connected devices.

A SOCIAL FOCUS: LINKEDIN.

LinkedIn dominates the U.S. B2B digital ad market, with advertisers allocating roughly one-fifth of all digital B2B dollars—$1.25 billion—to the business-focused social network.

BETTER AUDIENCE TARGETING.

The top four trending targeting tactics that the most advanced B2B brands are implementing in 2019 include

1. Account-Based Targeting 

Not just identifying a key list of accounts, but also the key individual decision-makers within those accounts. Also important is understanding the intent of the individual decision-makers’ intentions at the time they are exposed to the message.

2. People-Based Targeting

Defining and refining who to put your message in front of, this approach targets ads to specific individuals across multiple devices by using user data rather than relying on a web-based cookie.

3. Programmatic

63% of B2B marketers worldwide buy their advertising programmatically. If there is decent scale and budget, programmatic stretches B2B companies’ ad dollars by intentionally targeting audiences and reallocating dollars to the best-performing audiences in real time.

4. Personalized Content Sequencing 

Also called ‘dynamic content optimization’, this process means personalizing ads based on data triggers in a programmatic environment. This prevents showing a user who’s in the consideration phase an ad that was designed for an awareness play. It also ensures that certain audiences aren’t overexposed to certain messages.

Any B2B advertisers who need a one-stop-shop to execute the above can find a solution here.

Source: US B2B Digital Advertising Trends | eMarketer, January 2019.

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Top Trends in B2B Digital Advertising for 2019