Audience quality is important for all advertisers, but the urgency is at another level in B2B. In a consumer campaign, a “good enough” audience can still create awareness or drive ecommerce sales. In B2B advertising, and in account-based advertising in particular, there’s a much higher premium on reaching the right individuals — the select few who have actual decision-making power or influence over the purchase process. Fail to get the “optimal” audience in B2C and you’ll end up with a slightly less efficient clickthrough rate or cost-per-acquisition. But account-based advertising doesn’t carry the same numbers game — if you’re not reaching the key decision-makers within your target accounts, your ad dollars might as well be flying out a window.
An identity-based audience is any targetable segment that purports to capture individuals by job title, function, department, seniority, industry, and/or company. The popularity of these types of segments is not surprising — the idea of pressing a button and capturing the attention of every “director of finance” in North America is a tempting one.
So simple. Maybe … too simple? After all, personally identifiable information, or PII, is forbidden for use in digital advertising — names, email addresses, phone numbers and other personal identifiers are completely off-limits. So the task for purveyors of identity-based B2B audiences is to resolve extremely specific aspects of one’s identity (like a job title) without actually knowing who they are.
How well do they pull it off? Nielsen is the authority on all things audience measurement, with a long history analyzing TV audiences and, increasingly, an important role in digital. When they looked under the hood at basic demographic audiences used in consumer advertising, they found something unsettling: on basic Age + Gender targeting, the data providers get it right less than one third of the time. While Nielsen hasn’t yet started measuring B2B audiences, the above does raise the question: If 32% accuracy is the best the industry can do on age and gender, how am I supposed to trust that they are nailing more sophisticated attributes like department or job function or seniority?
If you are evaluating data providers who claim to deliver identity-based B2B audiences, be prepared to ask about the following:
The Demandbase Targeting Solution takes a different approach. Our platform closely monitors content consumption patterns around the web to observe B2B buyers conducting product research in real time. By associating those anonymous users to a company using their IP address, we can form behavior-based buying committees to target in campaigns. This methodology has two key advantages:
To learn more, download our eBook, “The Next Generation of B2B Advertising” or get a demo from our team.