Can programmatic ad tech work for B2B?


It seems like most business news feeds these days are littered with headlines about programmatic advertising technology: how quickly it has proliferated, how it’s taking over marketers’ budgets, the privacy concerns involved and all the mergers, acquisitions and IPOs. What’s lost in all this, though, is how programmatic ad tech can work for industries other than retail, food and consumer electronics. Here at Demandbase, we’re especially sensitive to how the ad tech space can work for B2B.

“With a focus on target accounts, we can measure beyond the click and show you how your ads resulted in a lift in activity by those accounts on your website.”

One of those recent pieces of news was about the release of a new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and consultancy Winterberry Group: “Programmatic Everywhere? Data, Technology and the Future of Audience Engagement.” As BtoB Online reported, “cited as a challenge was the need to find new methods of audience identification, segmentation and analysis as the importance and use of cookies declines.”

We think this is a particular challenge for B2B marketers who focus on selling to companies, not individuals. And we understand why some of the existing methods for targeting and segmenting audiences in programmatic buys would be such a challenge for B2B. Most of those methods focus on persona segments, leveraging cookies or questionable third-party data sources to provide demographic attributes like job title, functional area, or seniority. As most smart B2B marketers have discovered, there are several problems with targeting this way:

  1. Just because someone meets persona criteria doesn’t mean they work at a company that would be a good fit for your products. The IT Director at Joe’s Tax Shop probably doesn’t need enterprise-level server load balancing software.
  2. The decision maker isn’t who you think they are. Titles mean different things across companies. A director could be an individual contributor at one company or a high-level manager at another. The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) has done research that shows the most important attribute in a buyer/decision maker is the something they call being a Mobilizer. A cookie can’t capture those internal dynamics.
  3. Cookies can’t always be counted on. They get old, are often obtained through less than reputable means, people block and clear them, and sometimes they simply contain incorrect data.

The way that B2B can really leverage programmatic ad tech is by taking a Target Account Marketing approach, using advanced tools to focus in on only the companies that are most likely to become your customers. This approach is the foundation of our Company-Targeted Advertising solution.

Our proprietary ad technology identifies the companies you care about out on the web, and serves advertising only to them. What’s more, with a focus on target accounts, we can measure beyond the click and show you how your ads resulted in a lift in activity by those accounts on your website. And we don’t need to use cookies to do it.

If you’re curious about how programmatic ad tech can work for B2B, explore our Company-Targeted Advertising resource library.