B2B marketers made up only a small fraction of CTV advertising dollars recently. The ability to target home business decision makers through this rapidly growing platform is now proving more enticing. Here’s what the experts are saying about the shift from B2B advertising dollars to streaming.
Business decision-makers will not be returning to their offices anytime soon. You will also not be attending live events, which were previously a cornerstone of business-to-business (B2B) marketing. This has made Connected TV, which was very low under consideration, a much more attractive option for B2B marketers looking for a captive audience.
Connected TV (CTV) ad spend is expected to grow 40.1% to $ 11.36 billion per eMarketer in 2021. B2B marketers were initially slow to adopt this massive platform. But that is changing.
Media buyers have seen the rise in B2B interest. “B2B and CTV are a game of heaven,” said Brad Stockton, vice president, video innovation, Dentsu. “We are now seeing CTV appearing frequently in B2B customers’ media plans because we are able to target and, of course, measure the first-party target groups of customers with a high degree of fidelity in streaming. That’s the nice part about CTV. You will be given the ability to aim, achieve, and measure. These three things are very powerful in the B2B world. “
Supply-side platform SpotX works with B2B brands to identify inventory in its market. While it has picked up a small number of new B2B advertisers in 2020, more is expected on the horizon. B2B marketers “take a measured approach to evaluating the medium,” said Kyle Benn, VP, Mid Market, Demand Facilitation at SpotX. “We have a handful of customers this year, from healthcare to IT to agricultural equipment. It’s about finding the right decision makers or users of these products. More and more discussions took place in 2020. It’s really about creating the conditions for 2021. “
Jacob Beck, program director at Merkle’s B2B media agency, agrees that the momentum is picking up. At the beginning of 2020 there was great interest in CTV from B2B customers. But investment and execution? Not so much, he says. That started to change in the second half of 2020. “Now the decision-makers are at home all day. It is possible to serve them all day long on this large format medium. “
Nevertheless, growth expectations should be tempered. “Due to the pandemic, budgets are merging to attract more and more B2B advertisers to connected television,” said Jillian Ryan, eMarketer’s key B2B analyst. That being said, Ryan sees the current moment as “a toe in the water. The main reason for this is because this is not a channel they have played on before. Before they throw all of their dollars in, they definitely want to experiment how it works for them. “
B2B marketers have already done all the hard work
While television is generally viewed as a means of mass market awareness, CTV provides the targeting that many B2B marketers attract because of the specificity of their customer base. In fact, many B2B companies have already created the customer databases for building heavy loads. This is a major benefit when it comes to taking advantage of CTV’s targeting capabilities.
“A lot of B2Bs use account-based marketing. You did this work in-house. They know who their target accounts are and they have an ideal customer profile. You have all of this data in-house, ”says Ryan. “Regardless of whether it is a look-alike or an email address, they can share this data – first party or third party – with anyone they work with to make advertising easy and real trying to reach certain data buyers and specific audiences. “
This allows B2B marketers to run video ads in premium environments where they would normally have to accept massive trash, said Greg Pomaro, executive vice president of media at independent media agency Mediasmith. “We can use these lists, create custom audiences, and then compare them to delivery systems like CTV. So we buy video ads through one of our shopping platforms like The Trade Desk. The targeting filters are very limited and very specific to these ABM lists or custom lists that we have created. “
Dentsu’s Stockton adds, “If you know your audience because you have enough information, whether it’s lookalikes or first-party data, CTV is the perfect place to activate because you can be so focused and yet true to scale.”
Omnichannel could have millennial appeal and other benefits
Creating a B2B campaign used to be a lot easier. Vertical specialist publications, e-mails and events offered a considerable reach. But even before the pandemic, an omni-channel approach had become increasingly important.
“There are multiple touchpoints you use to reach your buyers, especially when B2Bs really get into the weeds with ABM, creating customer journeys that track the touchpoints and understand the different facets of the journey,” says Ryan of eMarketer. The inclusion of CTV makes it more robust when it’s not just like a single channel like “Oh, I rely on email or I rely on my events”. It’s really about thinking carefully about where buyers spend their time and how to reach them. CTV is becoming an increasingly important part of the equation. “
This is especially true when it comes to reaching millennials, who are playing an important role in B2B decision making today. “They have a lot of influence and this generation has a different way of watching TV, a different way of interacting with the media than older cohorts of buyers. This is another reason B2B advertisers need to think about new and different ways to reach their customers Reach the audience. ” Says Ryan.
Roku, which dwarfed 50 million users last week, is well on its way to becoming the top CTV platform with Amazon. Roku sees a “strong mix” of B2B marketers using CTV for both branding and direct response. Dan Robbins, Roku’s vice president of ad marketing and partner solutions, says B2B marketers have a great opportunity to leverage the openness of the streamers to exchange value for their personal entertainment in the form of a free movie night or voucher. “There we saw how B2B marketers really lean on it.”
Dimensioning the CTV measurement
Discerning digital B2B marketers expect solid measurement capabilities. This can be one of the shortcomings of the burgeoning CTV room as a whole.
“There is no single currency or a single measurement system like TV and Nielsen. Different providers use different systems and not everyone is accredited in the other system. The standards are still being developed, ”said Ross Benes, senior analyst at eMarketer who specializes in CTV. “It’s kind of a mess right now. I would say that measurement is the biggest challenge and potential hurdle for CTV, which will attract more advertising dollars over the next few years.”
This has proven daunting for some customers. “Getting B2B customers to CTV is a tough one because it needs concrete results,” said Meghan Lynch, a strategist at The Media Kitchen who has no previous experience of testing CTV for a B2B customer the desired scope or the desired follow-up results.
CTV naturally offers a targeted challenge, says Ryan. “It’s a consumer and household platform, and you’re trying to reach business decision makers. You cannot reach her in an office where she is sitting with all her colleagues. They could reach their children or partners. “
Still, there are a number of key tactics marketers can measure, Stockton says. “It starts with what you want to measure correctly. What is the main KPI? Are you trying to raise awareness or are you trying to drive an action like posting to a website? If you work with the right partners who are able to understand the exposure level and balance it with the time a customer visits a website that really only applies the right pixel, it can do very well be tracked measurably. “
Good B2B marketers will treat CTV like anything else, says Ryan. “It goes back to the tenants of B2B marketing how your CTV ad didn’t work because CTV didn’t work, or because your branding isn’t great, or your news wasn’t good and you didn’t have a good call to action. There are other factors that are channel independent that can affect whether a B2B marketing strategy works. “
Additional reporting from Kenneth Hein.