Digital Advertising

Display Advertising Really Works!

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February 9, 2023

3 mins read

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Display Advertising Really Works!

Yes, digital advertising works

We all know that it can be difficult to prove digital advertising’s true business impact. Theoretically of course, it makes sense – put your branded ads in front of your target accounts and they’re more likely to engage with you. But does it actually work? And how can you show it? At Demandbase, we face the same challenges our customers do – doing more with less, demonstrating ROI, and striving to balance near-term revenue growth vs. longer-term brand awareness and affinity. So we decided to put our own advertising to the test, and we’re excited to share our results and insights!

Details of the test

We set up an A/B test to determine if display advertising had any measurable impact on awareness and engagement from the accounts being targeted. To measure this, we looked at two metrics –journey stage velocity (the average amount of a time an account spends in a journey stage) and journey stage conversion rates (the percent of accounts in one journey stage that convert forward to the next stage). We felt these two metrics would be the best indicators to look at because progressing through the journey stages requires higher levels of intent (awareness) and engagement. And beyond demonstrating meaningful engagement within the accounts, they are also tangible results that you can tie to future revenue. 

We then selected our audience – landing on a segment that gave us a large enough pool of accounts to run an effective split test. It was pretty straight forward from there – one half of the accounts received ads while the other did not. And that was the only difference in the test – all other variables remained the same!

With everything in place, we ran the test for a full quarter before pulling together the results.


I’ll admit – I didn’t wait for the full quarter to look at the early results. Not surprisingly, we were already seeing early indicators that the group receiving the ads had stronger performance than the other test group. However, we remained steadfast in our test and waited the full quarter to pull together the final results. Suffice it to say, the group that received ads performed significantly better, with results below:

  • Qualified journey stage accounts progressed 54% faster while converting 27% higher
  • Aware journey stage accounts converted 31% higher
  • Engaged journey stage accounts progressed 40% faster

TLDR: the accounts that received ads progressed significantly faster from one stage to the next and at a much higher conversion rate. 

Being that the only difference between these two groups was one received display advertising and one did not, the results truly show the impact of that single variable. 

Now the results were amazing, but were we shocked? Not really, and here’s why: this is exactly what our ad tech is designed to do. Demandbase has the only DSP built for B2B which means it automatically optimizes your campaigns to spend budget in the most effective way. It not only uses intent to prioritize who to show ads to, but also prioritizes bidding down to the person level, putting your ads in front of key personas within the buying group. 

As the Digital Marketing team here at Demandbase, we care about supporting the sales team but also being our best customer which means testing, trying, and experimenting with our own tools and tech. This was a fun test to run as it answers a question we hear so often. We’re continually exploring new ways to test and share our insights, so be on the lookout for future updates, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you ever want to talk shop!

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Hannah Jordan

Sr. Digital Marketing Manager, Demandbase

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