Digital Advertising

Recession-Proof Your B2B Ads (And Don’t Let Another Ad Dollar go to Waste)

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May 18, 2022

4 mins read

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Recession-Proof Your B2B Ads (And Don’t Let Another Ad Dollar go to Waste)

Do you know with complete certainty where every dollar of your marketing spend goes?

How do you ensure your brand will be exposed to the people that matter? 

 With global digital ad spend predicted to exceed $645 billion by 2024, knowing the answers to these questions is an absolute must. The competition for consumers’ attention is at an all-time high, and it’s time to get serious about preventing your advertising dollars from going to waste. 

We have our tried and true methodology for successful advertising tactics at Demandbase, and if you’re curious as to how we leverage the combination of intent and people-based optimization for our ad strategy, this blog is for you. 

Stronger B2B ads, starting with intent

Our ability to target buying groups based on their near real-time intent behaviors within an account has been a key element of our strategy in the past few years. This approach has eliminated the most problematic B2B advertising problem, which is wasting impressions (and marketing dollars), on people outside our buying groups.

This is how we’ve historically done it, which has been highly successful. But with adding people-based optimization, campaigns are now even better.

How do we do that?

  • We prioritize known individuals within your CRM and marketing automation platform (MAP).
  • We allow for specification or selection of job levels, job functions, or personas.
  • When identity resolution is not available, intent-based optimization takes over.

Want to know the best part? Prioritizing people is available with every Demandbase campaign at no additional cost.

What about identity resolution?

For the past few years, Demandbase has evaluated and tested multiple identity resolution technologies (which is required to power people-based advertising) and compared them against our signature intent-based optimization approach. 

What we found through extensive testing was that identifying specific individuals was problematic. How so? Well, historically, most B2B individuals have simply not been identifiable. 

Despite other vendors’ claims on their ability to target certain titles or personas, the match rate has historically been low (in the 10% range). This resulted in up to 90% of impressions being served to random individuals (hopefully most of which are within the same account –– but what value does that provide?).


DB Identity Resolution


Throughout our years of testing these identity resolution technologies, we found that our intent-based optimization approach within our DSP has been much more effective, proven by a larger increase in: 

  • Qualified click- and view-thru traffic
  • Future engagement
  • Influenced pipeline

And based on recent improvements in match rates (and accuracy), we are now confident that identity resolution technology will have a more meaningful impact with each campaign when used together with our intent-based optimization approach.

Many folks believe that advertising to a specific list of individuals is the holy grail of B2B advertising. After all, there’s only a select group of people within an organization that make up the decision makers, influencers, and day-to-day users of a certain B2B product or service. 

In theory, we agree. 

The reality, however, is that everyone has a different digital footprint. And this goes back to our point about not all individuals being identifiable, even when using the best identity resolution technology that exists. If we can’t find the individuals you care about by their name and email address, we will find them by their intent behavior (Demandbase’s secret weapon).

Better together: identify AND target

Demandbase’s use of people-based optimization combined with our intent-based optimization is the best of both worlds of identification and targeting technology. Using both, instead of only one or the other, has created the most scalable and economical way to reach B2B buying committees.


B2B Ad Strategies


So what would this look like at play?

Within the campaign setup process, in addition to selecting your account audience and keyword set (which enables intent-based optimization), campaign options appear for people-based targeting. 

When you utilize these options, Demandbase prioritizes bids to these individuals within your campaign.

The “Contacts you already know” feature utilizes your first-party people data within either your CRM and/or MAP (email address is required). And the Job level, Job function, and Persona criteria are powered by Demandbase’s global contact data. 

Here’s a screenshot of what that looks like on our Ad Cloud

Ad Cloud Screenshot

The performance campaign dashboard also includes some enhanced reporting when job level, job function, and known contacts are prioritized within the campaign. Metrics include: 

  • The number of contacts associated with each account, and, whenever possible
  • The number of impressions and clicks from the individuals with the overall CTR.

Here’s what that looks like: 

Looking ahead

As our customers launch new campaigns while prioritizing people within buying groups, Demandbase will continue to seek technology and optimizations to maximize the match and reachability of specific individuals. 

We are actively exploring partnerships with more identity resolution vendors in multiple regions around the world, in addition to reviewing data sets that allow the mapping of business emails to personal emails. 

We feel this is game-changing, as this will enable a very powerful omni-channel ad platform of the future.

For questions related to this blog, please contact us.

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Russell Martin

Director of Product Marketing, Demandbase

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