Two-thirds of B2B marketers and agencies are now using software to purchase digital advertising, with almost 70 per cent revealing that they will increase their programmatic ad spend during the next 12 months, a new study published by commercial data and insight enterprise Dun & Bradstreet shows.
Programmatic is a fairly recent digital trend that is fundamentally changing how brands engage with their target audience, using software and algorithms to deliver targeted content to groups in relevant and specific ways. Programmatic spend is growing and is expected to reach more than $22 billion (£17.7 billion) in 2016, according to separate research from eMarketer.
Dun & Bradstreet’s B2B programmatic outlook for 2017 shows that automated media buying has already hit the mainstream with 65 per cent of marketers now engaging in the practice, which is up from 54 per cent in 2015. It is set to increase further in the coming months, with Foundation Capital General Partner Ashu Garg claiming that there will be a “step change” in its use by B2B enterprises next year.
While 70 per cent of marketers have set out plans to increase spending, a further 22 per cent are preparing to inflate their budgets by more than a quarter to accommodate the practice. Just three per cent are aiming to reduce their programmatic spend. It appears that programmatic tools are seen as key drivers for content-focused campaigns and lead generation, both of which are crucial to B2B.
“Most B2B marketers are looking for conversions. It’s important to keep in mind that programmatic marketing for any marketer should be optimised for outcomes rather than proxies for success like ‘clicked on a link’ or ‘opened the email,'” MediaMath CMO Joanna O’Connell said.
Programmatic is growing in popularity, but there are a few challenges that B2B marketers will have to overcome for it to be a long-term success. It has traditionally made it more difficult to connect with specific people and groups across multiple platforms, and 42 per cent admitted that targeting the right audience is considered their number-one obstacle, ahead of measurement metrics (34 per cent) and knowledge (29 per cent). The report also concludes that B2M marketers will require different and more in-depth sets of data for analytics as programmatic adoption increases.