In the Mad Men age of television advertising, messaged mattered more than timing. There were so few networks and prime-time options that you knew exactly where consumer attention would be focused on any given day. Run an ad during a show like M*A*S*H in the 1980s and you were sure to get in front of your target audience.

But now, outside of Super Bowl Sunday, timing is everything in advertising. Especially in digital advertising, knowing where your target audience’s attention lies at specific times can be the difference between serious ROI and millions of dollars in wasted resources.

Unlike with traditional television advertising, “timing” your digital ads doesn’t necessarily refer to time of day. Rather, you need to ensure your digital ads appear in front of the right people at the right stage of the buyer’s journey.

Embracing Pay-to-Play Marketing

When content marketing emerged, it promised a means to generate leads and improve sales conversions while focusing on storytelling, engagement, and message quality. Rather than trying to game an advertising system that was increasingly fragmented, you could capture attention more effectively for the modern buyer.

But as more and more content has been published, you can’t just publish quality content and expect consumers to find you. Instead, the world of digital marketing has become pay-to-play and the effectiveness of your ad strategy can make all the difference when it comes to sales conversions.

From Facebook to Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and beyond, being able to run digital ads effectively is essential to getting in front of the right audience and driving content marketing ROI.

Part of this pay-to-play process is choosing the right days and times to run your digital ads. But in a cost-per-click model, you’re able to experiment with timing more media buyers could in traditional advertising.

What’s more important is ensuring that you’re getting the right people to click on your digital ads. Not just people who fall in your target demographics and buyer personas—but those who have exhibited purchase intent and have a higher chance of converting.

How Intent Data Shapes Timing for Digital Ads

Over the years, B2B marketers have become highly skilled in audience segmentation. You know that you should be targeting top-of-funnel prospects with things like educational blog posts and eBooks as opposed to sales demos and case studies. And you know that getting a powerful case study in the hands of a buyer who is considering investing in either your solution or a competitor’s could tip the scales in your favor.

But knowing which content belongs at which stage of the funnel is a lot different than getting the timing right in execution. All too often, marketers lack the data necessary to target digital ads on the granular level necessary to reach a buyer right at the point of highest purchase intent.

That’s where third-party intent data can come into play for digital advertisers. With insight into the behavior of actual buyers, you can accurately predict who’s in the market for your products/services and take advantage of advanced digital advertising tools to target those accounts specifically.

This isn’t just for bottom-funnel advertising, though. Knowing exactly where your target customers stand in the buyer’s journey will help you put together digital ads for all stages, optimizing costs per click and increasing the velocity of your sales funnel.

Knowing the right quarter, month, week, day, and time to run your digital ads is just the first step. Winning the pay-to-play game of marketing requires you to go a step further by leveraging intent data to properly target your ads. By accounting for those two aspects of timing in digital advertising, you’ll be able to drive ROI that delights executives and sales teams alike.

But the value of intent data for B2B marketers is still a fairly new concept. If you’re just getting started, it helps to know what you’re getting yourself into before trying to invest in third-party data.

Download our free report, Demystifying B2B Purchase Intent Data, to learn more about how intent data can improve your digital advertising and other marketing activities.