Over the past year and a half, marketers have had to pivot to everything digital. This is especially true of B2B marketers and sales teams responding to the cancellation of in-person events and adapting their strategies as more buyers work remotely. While we’ve started to see in-person events make a comeback along with employees returning to the workplace, the focus on digital is just revving up, according to the U.S. B2B Advertising Forecast 2021 report from eMarketer. The U.S. B2B digital ad market grew 32.5% in 2020 and is expected to continue that upward trend 24.9% to nearly $11 billion in spending this year. By 2023, the digital transformation spurred by the pandemic will be “permanent,” eMarketer contends.
Specifically, digital display advertising is on the rise. Spending for the channel increased nearly 40% in 2020 and is expected to increase more than 30% this year. What’s more, display ad spend is projected to surpass search ad spend by 2023. It’s an interesting shift considering that display has usually held a lower spot on the marketing totem pole compared to other formats like search, which is favored for the reliability of keyword targeting and the resulting low cost per click. But search ads are decreasing as investment in display ads increase on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, CTV, and audio.
Another reason could be the increased accuracy of the audiences used for display ad targeting. Digital marketing is being reimagined with new data options—like identity graphs—to build the right B2B audience.
An identity graph is a collection of known customer or prospect identifiers pulled from data sourced from multiple providers participating in the identity graph. It pulls together online and offline data sets for a full picture of the customer/prospect, making it easy to draw from a vast collection of data in a single place. For example, my company, OMI, has made our 78-plus million business contacts available for segmenting and audience building on the LiveRamp platform. Clients can use the LiveRamp deterministic identity graph to build their audience and then take it to the demand-side platform of choice to fuel their display ad campaigns.
Identity graphs offer marketers the ability to build a targeted audience to drive omni-channel campaigns – from display ads, to email marketing and more — that give buyers the consistent experience they expect, regardless of the device they’re using or the channel. For even greater impact, you can launch both email and digital marketing campaigns at the same time. This approach has high crossover and higher overall ROI, with audiences able to view marketing messages on display ads, like banner or web graphics, as well as other channels such as email or social media ads.
It’s important to note that the success of this strategy will be impacted by the identity graph match rate—the contact match from a data provider, such as OMI, to the graph, contact to contact. At OMI, our match rate to the LiveRamp identity graph is very high at 72%, on average. You can read more about match rates here.
Digital marketing has undergone a massive transformation, and the eMarketer report is showing it’s not done yet. As more marketers shift to digital advertising, and display advertising specifically, it will be even more important to deliver the kind of connected, omni-channel experiences that buyers want. Thankfully, new digital marketing tools and strategies are available that make it possible to deliver those experiences at scale in a way that’s cost-effective, quick and easy to use.